Crowning the mountains, this California home by Corinne Mathern Studio blends into the scenery with an earthy palette
MAY 22, 2023 | By Dyumni Pandit
As the sun sets in the valley, it casts a golden glow on the Pacific. The sky turns a pinkish red as the warm California breeze wafts, undisturbed. A quaint home perches on a hilltop, its glass windows sieving the rich yellow. It’s as if nature is assembling all its elements for the perfect picture.
This 3,000 sq ft dwelling crafted by Corinne Mathern, Founder and Principal, Corinne Mathern Studio and Dovetail Architects sits astride the ocean and the Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara, enjoying the best of both worlds. Outdoors enter the home through tall glass sliding doors, leaving their mark with natural materials and an earthy palette.
A blend of outdoor and indoor
“The focus for the home was to create a natural palette of materials to make the transition between the indoors to the outdoors seamless. The design expression of the home is structured around a deep appreciation for the setting,” muses Corinne.
With a front row seat to the Santa Barbara coastline, the streamlined architecture of the dwelling blends into the green foliage. Originally made of two rooms —- the main residence and the game room, the space divides into two floors. With some wooden furniture, neutral-coloured decor accessories, and potted plants, the game room morphed into a bedroom, bathroom, and a living room.
A worthy climb
A steep driveway leads to the abode crowning the mountain top. The tiresome trek is worth it! Lush landscape nestles the home as a path of natural flagstone escorts to the open patio. A custom fire pit sits by the mountainside for a Sunday cookout. The living room’s glass window opens in the courtyard, gazing at the setting sun, enticing you to sit after the long walk.
A solid oak framed glass door opens into the living room. A lap pool peeks from behind a floor to ceiling glass window in front, as if inviting you to take a dip. A pocket door separates the cosy media room from the hallway.
Benjamin Moore “Victoria Garden” lends his expertise to design the den-like room. Dark green couches huddle together in a corner as a large cushioned table sits in the centre. Comfortable throws lay on the bed as bamboo shutters shade the room from natural light to make it the perfect place for a movie marathon. There’s a certain elegance in the room that comes from the understated, natural colours. Although small, the room doesn’t look clustered, the abundance of windows makes it look cosy and open.
The living room, dining room, kitchen and bar sit adjacently to each other, flowing into each other without walls binding them.
A getaway inside
Subtle white and hues of brown wood dominate the living room. As two plush armchairs sit next to each other, a bespoke centre table kneels in front of them. A wooden bench and stool surround the table from the other sides. A small fireplace is lined with a panel to accommodate a custom planter. The room resembles a wooden cabin.
A simple open white marble country top with specks of grey sits by the living room to make the kitchen. Dark brown wooden cabinets line behind it. The light brown dining table sits under a hanging light.
Retractable sliding doors open to the backyard pool, spa, and barbeque through the area. A narrow staircase leads to the second floor that accommodates a guest bedroom and bathroom. A short path leads to a secluded primary suite, away from the rest of the home. A separate door opens into its living room, bar, bedroom, and bathroom.
Two dark wooden chairs turn towards the centre table as a cream couch sits in the background. Although detached, this suite follows the same colour palette and theme as the rest of the house.
“Our clients had travelled to the Aman Hotel in Kyoto and loved the flow of the bedroom through to the bathroom. We created a connected space for them with a wall of pocketed wooden doors that allowed the spaces to be as connected or disconnected as they wanted,” says Corinne. The space is separated with a monolithic wood form. Abundant light and soft breeze tour the suits through its windows. The room opens into a deck on the terrace, designed with wooden furniture. You can also imagine it glimmering with yellow fairy lights under the night sky that shines with millions of stars itself.
Warm wood and earthy greens
“Wood walls are an element common in luxury spaces but we added architectural details to them that unlevelled them,” adds Corinne. Other natural materials like clay, plaster, solid woods, linens, and cottons make the home timeless. Blues, green, and yellows with deep pigments are splitting images of the hues outdoors. The serene colours balance the wood.
The architects swerved away from making the space clunky, something that happens with wooden furniture. They adroitly designed the home in a way that wooden structures hid background installations. While the landscape is the primary artwork of the home, a work by Gala Porras-Kim captures the essence of the home, standing at the crux of it.
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