Craftsman Prairie Estate

After decades circling the globe for work, these homeowners were overjoyed to finally settle into retirement in the Santa Ynez Valley. Both felt a deep, personal connection to the Valley’s trees and vegetation, panoramas, wildlife, and striking natural features. They yearned to have a home built in harmony with the surroundings they held so dear—as if it might have risen right up from the very ground around it. They wanted to have guests also feel the same sense of connection, peace, and bliss when they came to visit. In order to make their dream home a reality, they sought out a design team that shared their same values.

Tom Ochsner designed the beautiful Bhutanese inspired home, blending in newer related styles, particularly that of Craftsman Prairie. A very low, sloped roof and deep eaves exude a peacefulness, with minimal interruption of the natural landscape and skyline. Use of heavy-timbered windows and outside walls reminiscent of “rammed earth” walls give a nod to the Bhutanese structures the owners loved during their travels. Clean lines, edges, and an airiness dominate the interior, which the homeowners were drawn to during their travels in Central Asia and Japan.

Shannon Scott Design seamlessly blended the architectural and interior aesthetic elements, using sleek, minimal lines and natural materials throughout the home, guest house, and detached garage. Working intimately with the clients, Shannon designed an intentionally calm yet sophisticated setting. Colors and cultural themes in the main house were kept consistent with those found in the arts of Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, China, and Holland, including two Tibetan horns that grace the front entry of the main residence. Rob Jenneve of Synergy Lighting Design brought lighting expertise to the team to accentuate the myriad eclectic treasures that Shannon Scott thoughtfully placed throughout the home.

Allen Construction’s team of master craftsmen worked closely with the architect, clients, and designer to bring the plans to life. Whenever construction challenges arose, Allen’s building experts guided the clients and design team toward innovative, energy- and water-efficient, sustainable solutions both indoors and out. One example of a particularly complex construction challenge was the very large circular skylight above the kitchen island—a central design feature finished with a recreation in metal of a Shanyrak, the most sacred space in a Kazakh yurt. The top surface of the skylight above it is made of Lexan, intentionally clear—not translucent or opaque—to afford a direct view of “The Eternal Blue Sky”, the Kazakh-Mongolian translation for “Heaven”.

The result of the close collaboration of the homeowners with the entire design and building team is a Craftsman Prairie home that was built in harmony with its environment and will withstand the test of time. When asked about their experience working with the Allen team on their dream home, the owners replied, “You’ve gifted us with your knowledge, your skill, your insight and kindness, your friendship and cultural wisdom…and the way you turned some plans into a HOME we will enjoy the rest of our lives. No one could ask for more than you have offered us and BUILT for us. We wake up each day grateful for all we behold.”

Photographer: Jim Bartsch

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