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Toro Canyon House / Bestor Architecture

  • Architects: Bestor Architecture
  • Location: Santa Barbara County, CA, USA
  • Partner In Charge: Barbara Bestor
  • Project Manager / Architect: Selena Linkous
  • Project Team: Daniel Rabin
  • Area: 4700.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Laure Joliet

© Laure Joliet © Laure Joliet © Laure Joliet © Laure Joliet

  • Interior Designer: The Archers
  • Landscape Architect: Isabelle Greene & Associates
  • Lighting Designer: Dan Weinreber, Kaplan, Gehring, McCarroll Architectural Lighting
  • Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing: Mel Bilow & Associates
  • Civil Engineer: Penfield & Smith
  • Contractor: Below Magid Construction
© Laure Joliet
© Laure Joliet

From the architect. The owners wanted to build a getaway house outside of Los Angeles where they could entertain and find a balance between the modern design they desired and a more direct relationship to nature. After a two year search in the Southern California region they discovered pristine acreage near Montecito at the top of a mountain and adjacent to national park land.

site Plan
site Plan

The site strategy is one of slow revelation and discovery of the house and- ultimately- the view. The road, which had to be built for access, brings the visitor to a point below the house- where a formal stair leads up to the entry sequence. The front door frames and reveals views of the Santa Barbara coastline through the courtyard.

© Laure Joliet
© Laure Joliet

A 40’ wide horizontal ‘panavison’-esque opening gives the house a pavilion-like atmosphere. The dwelling is organized around three courtyards; the primary one at the heart of the house also serves as the front entrance and outdoor living room. The courtyards have a dual purpose: they bring in ample natural light and ventilation but also provide protection from the strong winds that can race across the mountain.

© Laure Joliet
© Laure Joliet

The rough and very thick boardform concrete walls, custom color-mixed to match the dark red and brown tones of the earth at the site, form a rugged shell that is punctuated by large openings and reveals of the Alaskan cedar wood siding. The inner shell’s warm wood and windows into the protected courtyards create a warm and tactile interior respite from the hardy environment.

Cite:"Toro Canyon House / Bestor Architecture" 11 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>