Riviera Residence

Santa Barbara, CA

Situated on a ridge in Santa Barbara site known as “The Riviera,” the residence commands a 270-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, a dramatic canyon, and the Santa Ynez mountains.

Santa Barbara, CA

Completed 2012

3,200 SF



Starting with the strategic siting of the house, a sustainable design strategy was implemented in which passive solar gains are realized based on the orientation of the house.

The original house was taken apart, piece-by-piece, with all reusable elements donated to Habitat for Humanity. Building on the original foundation and caissons, a passive rooftop solar heating system provides for domestic hot water; a passive solar ground-level hot-water system is used to heat the pool. Photo-voltaic power generates household electricity through a 2.8kw system; when power is not needed, it feeds back into the grid. Radiant hot-water floor heating and central air conditioning in the ceilings systems are in place but rarely used because of the solar orientation of the home and the natural ventilation. Additional energy-saving systems include double-pane windows, UV-resistant glass, ample insulation, and energy-efficient appliances. Deep exterior overhangs are designed to provide shade in the summer, and let in sun during the winter.

This relatively small house has all of the elements of a 5,000- or 6,000-square-foot house in a tidy, 3,200-square-foot package. The three-level home and two-car garage include open living/dining area, kitchen, master bedroom and bath, guest bedroom and bath, home gym, powder room, two home offices with office bath, outdoor dining area, outdoor lounge areas, lap pool, and 1,400 square feet of lower-level storage.