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Modern family retreat in Santa Barbara nestled in a coastal canyon

This modern family retreat was designed by  along with , set within a coastal canyon in Santa Barbara County, California. The main residence consists of 2,096 square feet of living space, with two bedroom and two bathrooms, while the guest house offers 800 square feet, with one bedroom and one bathroom. A couple with two sons spends weekends and holidays enjoying this home as a family getaway.

The rugged property is surrounded by towering mature oak trees, along with deep sandstone canyon walls and ridgeline views in the distance. Positioned near the idyllic Gaviota Coast, the family enjoys outdoor activities of surfing, walking the beach, hiking and relaxation. The homeowners requested their home to be a sanctuary, a low-maintenance home, where they could be in tune with their environment.

The biggest challenge facing this project was integrating the home into it’s remote canyon site. The architects devised a layout that snakes through the landscape, with living spaces connected by a flat roof. The roof material consists of flat-seam, weathered copper, with rusted rain chains suspended from it (rain chains are a more attractive and functional alternative to traditional, closed gutter downspouts).

Above: The guest house and a detached utility-garage are situated downhill from the main residence. A large coastal live oak provides shade to an outdoor living area between the structural zones.

What We Love: This modern family retreat provides a stylish yet relaxing place to spend time getting away from it all. Set in a canyon with sweeping views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, all we can think is “breathtaking”. The home’s footprint is the perfect size to feel comfortable and spacious—and all of those windows inviting light and nature into the interiors… we are just loving it! How about you, do you find this home to be inviting? Share your thoughts below, we enjoy reading your back! 

Note: If you are inspired this project, have a look below for more home tours we have featured from Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects in the “Related” tags below.

RELATED: Artfully redesigned mid-century beach villa in Montecito

Above: Expansive, south-facing sliding glass doors spills out onto a spacious outdoor patio that features a gas-lit fire pit with a dining area sheltered by the oak trees. The Cherokee flagstone flooring extends to the outdoors, helping to blur the indoor-outdoor boundaries, while inviting nature inside.

Above: On the interior, you can see how the curvature of the roof creates a unique ceiling element. This helps make spaces feel more voluminous, while the exposed Douglas fir stained beams adds texture.

RELATED: Family compound designed for entertaining on the California coast

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RELATED: Zen-like simplicity and elegance in Montecito: Thayer House

Photos: Ciro Coelho Photography

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