Santa Barbara Home Designer Jeff Doubét shares drawings and a portfolio of 26 photos showing how modern Spanish interiors were developed in this two-story home.
The special interior details within this local Santa Barbara Spanish style home were developed between the homeowner and myself. The Pasadena couple had purchased the SB fixer upper a few years back, and sought creative ideas for both the interior, as well as the exterior.
I will share some Before photos for the project, but I first wanted to encourage you with a few After photos.
You may be contemplating the purchase of a Santa Barbara or Montecito fixer upper home. Or, perhaps you already own a home and want to embark on a high end remodel. Either way, in this episode I hope you will learn from the Before and After shots, and the insights I provide.
Designing Spanish Interiors in Santa Barbara, CA
I love designing Spanish style interiors. There are so many special details that can be imagined and built. Furnishings, appliances, art and other home goods are a big part of your “house jewelry”. But equally as important is designing… the Interior Architecture.
Years ago, I came up with the nickname Interior Architecture. It helps me describe the charm-giving elements I am proposing within a custom home. Permanently built things like thicker walls, arches, niches, plaster fireplaces and range hoods.
As one example: you can purchase this black 36″ La Cornue range online. But for this Spanish style kitchen reno, I personally met with the homeowner to discuss a plaster hood design to compliment it. Both the kitchen range hood and living room fireplace were custom designed, together. You too can create a brother sister sibling feel to the major interior design components of your Santa Barbara style home.
Look at the soft landing of this modern Spanish style staircase we designed in this Santa Barbara home. My design collaboration with the artistic homeowner was magical. Initially, I proposed more traditional Santa Barbara Spanish interior design elements. He desired a contemporary spin on those early ideas. A combo of both is what I think made this home extra special.
Building Spanish Home Interiors
Building high quality Spanish interiors in Santa Barbara and Montecito is both an art and a science. The art is coming up with creative ideas and design solutions for improving the existing interior space(s). The sizzle that makes your friends and family happy to be in your home. The science is in architect and structural engineer working drawings for a building permit and construction. Then, back to other artistic groups- the Artisans who will handcraft your one-of-a-kind property.
When I was first invited into this project, demo was well under way. A permit had been issued and construction was happening. One design dilemma the owner struggled with was the living room. It is the first room you enter, and he needed help with designing the wow factor. A new fireplace design would be part of a showcase focal point.
Here was an early design concept I sketched for the living room. It had a more traditional Santa Barbara Spanish vibe to it.
The concept drawing was well received, and the high-end build continued.
Believe it or not, this early photo (above) shows how the early fireplace design concept was mocked up for the homeowner. They wanted to see and feel the scale and proportion within the room, before real construction began.
Refining a Design until you Like It
Once mocked up, the homeowner decided to put more of a modern contemporary spin on the fireplace design. New design challenge accepted! This is the refined concept design for the contemporary Spanish style fireplace with hood detail.
The revised design concept was approved, and the independent General Contractor got right on it. Here, the overall design concept for the room starts to take shape.
Developing beautiful Spanish Interiors
Creating beautiful, high quality Spanish style homes requires employing the independent Artisan trades. They know how to make the charm-giving elements that you and your family will fall in love with.
Here, a talented team of local Artisans handcraft a custom Spanish style fireplace design in Santa Barbara, CA. It never gets old to be on job sites like this. I love being the fly on the wall, capturing the guys on film as they build these highly desired Spanish style elements. Check out my other website for other behind the scenes Artisans working on Spanish fireplaces.
Fast forward a few months later, and you can see how everything came together. Look at how nice the simple color palette works with the built elements. The black staircase handrail and balusters look awesome with the black hearth and dark stained stair treads. Full credit to the homeowner for going this dark, and in the process… staked his claim on a new local Santa Barbara Classic.
Imagine how you might design elegant, old world charm into your modern and contemporary Spanish interior design. See how nice the subtle arch in the stair landing works well with the arched opening next to it? I thought the round iron and glass table and fireplace mirror also nicely softens the space.
Designing and building a Spanish staircase
Great projects sometime start with humble beginnings. Don’t be discouraged or underestimate what you will create in your own Spanish style home renovation.
As mentioned, I walked in to this Santa Barbara Spanish reno as demolition was under way. Above, the BEFORE photo for the staircase and view to the future kitchen.
My initial design thoughts for this space was to create a more dramatic stair landing. It is another one of the first things you see when entering the home. I also proposed double framing the walls, to give the remodeled archway a much higher perceived value. Also, I imagined a see through niche at the base of the stair landing would one day provide fun peek views from a lot of vantage points.
The photo above documents the design and planning stage for this special stair landing. The homeowner worked with his builder to mock up the sophisticated curves of the wing walls the iron railing would be built upon.
Above: a closer look at how the general contractor used thin craft wood to gently bend and “skin” over a wood frame. Again, an extra effort to prove the concept before more expensive construction began.
The homeowner and his builder decided to get the clean air return vent and other mechanicals installed, first. Decorative wings and arched steps would be refined from here.
Refining a Spanish staircase design
Technical drawings were developed by the artistic homeowner who was bent (no pun intended) on getting everything to look just like my original concept sketch. You can imagine how impressed I was- total dedication with a capital D!
And this is how his hard work paid off. Like musical notes written on a page, there is something really mesmerizing about this contemporary Spanish staircase railing. The dark stained wood stair treads contrast beautifully with light European Oak floors.
Another thing to admire about this custom installation is how the iron balusters terminate into the plaster wing walls.
Contemporary art and décor was brought into the space, proving to be perfectly compatible within a modern Spanish style home and interior design.
Spanish kitchen design ideas
I think you will agree that another high visual impact area of a custom, high-end Spanish style home… is your kitchen.
I smiled big when the homeowner pulled back the packing blanket that was protecting this gorgeous, black La Cornue range. He had purchased it years earlier, waiting for the right project. It was on that day we discussed a Spanish style range hood that would be compatible with it, and the fireplace design in the adjacent living room.
Would you like to learn more about how this Santa Barbara style kitchen range hood was handcrafted as a beautiful work of art? Check out my Modern Masters Series Post where I showcase the skill of this very talented Artisan. There, you will have access to a series of photos and pro designer tips I think you will enjoy.
Another shot of the completed Spanish kitchen design in this high-end home renovation in Santa Barbara.
Well, that’s it friend. This concludes this episode on Spanish style interiors in Santa Barbara. This is the Creating Spanish Style Homes network, website and blog. Something originally started as a Coffee Table Book I published in 2018. If you liked this post, you might also like Spanish Interiors Collection 2. Or, explore my very latest blog creations.