Magazine article Sunset

Open House

Magazine article Sunset

Open House

Article excerpt

A young family move West to enjoy patio living

Lloyd Dallett attended high school in Ojai, California, and later, while living in Brooklyn, New York, she found herself reminiscing about the West's outdoor lifestyle. "I wanted my daughter, Lucia, to grow up surrounded by nature and beauty," she says. Lloyd, an artist, and husband Richard, a filmmaker, have professions that aren't tied to any one place, and they have friends in Santa Barbara, so that's where they started looking for a house.

Their goal was to find a fixer-upper with an ocean view in an area that was no more than a five-minute drive from town. Their architect, Nick Noyes, said the 1,650-squarefoot ranch house the couple chose met all those requirements, especially the fixer-upper part. "It was a typical suburban ranch house that was very run-down," he explains. "It needed a new foundation, electricity, plumbing-everything. It was in ratty condition, really."

Noyes set out to create a home that fit the way the Balletts wanted to live. "This is a very close family," Noyes says. "I knew they wanted to spend a lot of time together. The main space is kind of like town hall-it's a living room/dining room/kitchen area where they can hang out together whether they are cooking dinner, listening to music, or doing homework." It replaces what had been a warren of small rooms.

This "town hall" forms the bottom of a shallow U-shaped plan: It opens to a central courtyard and to what Noyes calls "escape valves" in each leg of the U-places where the family can retreat, such as the master suite, Richard's office, and a guest room. (The latter two rooms were added on; the house is now 2,175 square feet.)

Although the town-hall area is open, spaces within it are well defined. A sliding barn door hides a homework center/office area used by Lloyd and Lucia. A builtin shelving unit visually separates the dining area from the living room and provides storage for me sound system and CDs. It also screens the entrance to Lucia's room and the bathroom.

Airy and bright

Thanks to the balmy Santa Barbara climate, it was practical for each major room to connect to the outdoors, making the house feel larger than it is. The new office/ guest room wing helped define a new lawn and play area at the rear of the house. …

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