SANTA BARBARA, CAlifornia
High above the Santa Ynez Mountain range that backs the property, a trio of red-tailed hawks are riding the updrafts with real intent, drawing arcing lines over a cirrus-speckled, ice-blue canvas. Meanwhile, at its beachfront side, a pod of seven dolphins is frolicking so close to the crescent shoreline that it appears entirely feasible that one of them could, in yet another leap through the air, end up in the house’s swimming pool.
Here at Fernald Point, a private-access-only enclave of Montecito, nature tends to seize one’s attention like this with a regularity that never fails to enchant the soul. It’s a magical place-one that calls for architecture with a profound sense of place. Which explains this contemporary Mediterranean-style house that Christopher Gelber designed for 1801 Fernald, the best site on the point.
Young architects and designers are known to dream of realizing a perfect house for their parents – a house where all the details are of the highest quality and where they come together seamlessly. Here, in 1995, on the heels of dozens of research journeys throughout the Mediterranean region, Gelber did just that.