Estate Landscapes In The Santa Barbara Tradition

In 2005, the owners of the Ojai Valley Inn created a new Italian Villa for use by their family and as a high end rental on part of the OVI property. The architect focused on traditional massing and detailing for the structures, and the landscape was expected to follow suit. We studied Italian hilltown villas and gardens to create a believable setting for the new home.

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The site plan was divided into public and private spaces. The large gravel entry motorcourt is bordered by limestone curbing and banding, and can be tented and used for dinner parties. A hand carved Santa Barbara Sandstone fountain welcomes the visitor to the front entry of the home. The rear yard terraces overlook the golf course and the distant Topa Topa mountains. Working closely with the golf course maintenance personnel, vistas were preserved and created by the placement of large vertical trees and the selective pruning of existing trees on the golf course.

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The four private terrace areas include a fireplace pergola, complete with pizza oven; an open travertine paved seating area with central limestone fountain; a small formal rose garden with a Sombreuil Rose covered gazebo; and a pool terrace built into the hillside with 10 foot retaining walls, including a glass-tiled pool and spa fountain, Sweetheart Rose covered pergola, and espaliered apple trees on the sandstone walls.

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The owners are thrilled with their authentic Italian home and gardens. Private weddings and dinner parties celebrate the various spaces throughout the grounds, and the distant vistas never fail to amaze.

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The Process

The design process begins with an informal meeting with the clients, realtor, landscape architect, and architect, if selected. The clients' vision of their new home is explored, taking into consideration the site and any existing structures on the property. Practical items such as vehicular and pedestrian circulation are studied (just how does one get the groceries to the kitchen without getting wet in our occasional rainstorms?) Indoor outdoor connections are paramount, as most of our daily living in Santa Barbara is actually done outside. Special additions to the outdoor rooms, such as pools, spas, fountains, fireplaces and built in bar-b-ques or outdoor kitchens are carefully incorporated into a Garden Master Plan.

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When all parties are happy with the Master Plan, the technical work begins: the Construction Drawings. Our plans typically include grading plans, with consideration of stormwater management for drainage and water cleansing; hardscape layout and dimension plans; construction details showing the specifics of sizes, materials, and structural reinforcing; planting plans, incorporating drought tolerant and firescape principles; schematic irrigation plan using low flow automatic systems with rain gauges; landscape lighting plans; and landscape details.

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These plans are submitted to the review body responsible for approval, and then to the building department for permitting. Plans are also given to the various trades for bidding: stone masons, pool contractors, landscape contractors, electrician, and grading contractors. The bidding can be done through a General Contractor, or our office can perform this service.

After the permits are issued, and the final bidders selected, the real fun begins: CONSTRUCTION! This phase involves lots of dust, noise, and questions requiring owners' answers (just what color tile did we choose in that fountain...)! With a competent team of architect, landscape architect, general contractor, and subcontractors, this phase is actually quite exciting. Seeing the weekly progress is promising. Regular meetings between the owners and the design and building team quickly resolve any issues that might arise, and seeing the progress first hand allows for new ideas to be incorporated during the construction, instead of some years later thinking "gee, I sure wish we had changed that while we still could."

The Result

A beautiful personal renovated or new residence awaits your family. Dive right in with enthusiasm, and with an enthusiastic team. You will be thrilled with your very own slice of Paradise in our California Riviera.

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Contact:
Katie O'Reilly Rogers, President
The Office of Katie O'Reilly Rogers. Inc.
katie@kor-inc.com
www.kor-inc.com