Whole-house Remodel on the Mesa in Santa Barbara

A whole-house remodel on the Mesa, designed by John D. Kelley, Architect , is nearing completion. The original, modest 1,154sf tract-house has been transformed into a 1,899sf environmentally-friendly beach cottage. Improvements include beam ceilings in the kitchen-living area, the dining-family room, and the master bedroom. There is a new kitchen, a new master bath, a new fireplace and entertainment area, upgraded finishes, new covered porches, and new a patio area. Energy-efficient features include on-demand water heating, abundant insulation, and high-performance windows. The upgrade also includes water-efficient fixtures and rainwater storage.

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Canon Perdido Affordable Homes

Allen Construction is part of a project team that recently completed a new, 12-unit affordable housing project for Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County. The project architects, Ed DeVicente and Ryan Mills of DMHA Architecture & Interior Design have designed the buildings to be as green as possible, achieving the goal of making the project be the first affordable housing project in Southern California to meet the rigorous Passive House Institute US standards. These homes are providing safe and affordable housing for 44 people, including 20 children, who previously lived in substandard housing in Santa Barbara.

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Environmentally-friendly Mountain Retreat in Hollister Ranch

John D. Kelley, Architect is designing an environmentally-friendly mountain retreat in Hollister Ranch. It will include three small buildings, a main house, a guesthouse and a garage/utility building, built into south and east-facing hillsides. The structures placement will preserve existing oak trees, and colors and materials will blend with the natural setting. These passive solar buildings will be powered by an off-grid solar photovoltaic system. The site will be protected and enhanced with native landscaping and rainwater collection.

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Alma Rosa Wine Tasting Room

Designed by Blackbird Architects and constructed by Allen Construction, this 1,693 sq. ft. wine tasting room for Alma Rosa Winery in Buellton, underwent a complete tenant improvement /remodel. The client’s goals were to fill the space with natural light, bring nature into the space, educate visitors to help them understand the organic wine making process, and, create a space that is welcoming and comfortable for visitors.

The existing warehouse space was upgraded with amenities including a Rumsford wood burning fireplace; tables, shelves, and benches made from reclaimed Douglas Fir; custom-made wine storage cabinets, and two 24’ x 14’ skylights with custom built, retractable shade. Another unique feature of the wine tasting room is Olivia, a living Olive tree, growing in the center of the main tasting area.

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John D. Kelley, Architect Designed Gibraltar Road Home Entered in 2015 AIA Design Award competition

A home on Gibraltar Road designed by John D. Kelley, Architect has been entered in the 2015 AIA Design Award competition. The original rustic, timber-frame residence was destroyed by the Tea Fire but could not be rebuilt under current codes. The new design honors the unique character of the original home, with upgraded interior planning, using current building techniques. Green building features include high-performance windows, and energy-efficient heating and water heating. Even with a very high glazing to floor area ratio to take advantage of panoramic ocean views, the home exceeds state energy-efficiency requirements by 21%. Also, the grid-tied solar electric system by Sun Pacific Solar is producing 2MW more electricity annually than the residents currently use.




Page Center – Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL)

Thompson Naylor Architects recently attended the dedication of the Page Center on the campus of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) located near Mammoth Lakes, California.  Thompson Naylor designed the 2700 square foot classroom building to be Net-Zero energy, using geothermal heat pumps and solar photovoltaic panels to heat, cool, and light the building.  The cavity wall and roof insulation is wrapped with rigid insulation, and the exterior of the building is clad in fiber-cement siding and metal roofing.  The interior features wood acoustic ceilings, linoleum floors and LED lighting.  The project achieved LEED Gold certification.



Jorgensen Lane Residence

This project is a restoration and addition to an adobe historic structure of merit located in the City of Santa Barbara. Built between 1955 and 1957, the house is a mid-century interpretation of the Hacienda-style with design elements derived from the Ranch style. Paul Poirier + Associates worked with local historians and the historic landmarks commission to gain approval for the proposed addition of a master suite and basement to this wonderful adobe residence, and the related building detailing. Care was taken to preserve the historic charm of the home, while updating the interior. The project has just completed the entitlement phase and is in the construction document phase. Green features include: a heat recovery ventilator; a high efficiency heating system; water conserving plumbing fixtures; LED lighting; salvaged & reused historic roofing tiles; non-toxic finishes; and open cell foam insulation in the additions. On top of these features, the thermal mass of the original adobe structure keeps it comfortable in both summer and winter.

The project team includes fellow GBA members Grace Design Associates (landscape design), and Dan Upton Construction. Construction is anticipated to be completed September of 2015.

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Montecito Green Home Remodel by Thompson Naylor Architects and Allen Construction

An older Montecito house is being enlarged and completely remodeled by the team of Thompson Naylor Architects and Allen Construction.  The owners asked them to make the 1950’s house into a model of green home building, and the project is on track to achieve LEED for Homes Platinum.  LEED for Homes requires attention to an integrated design process, site rehabilitation and low-water use landscaping, storm water management, indoor water use, high levels of insulation, high-performance HVAC equipment and lighting, construction waste management, indoor air quality, and reclaimed and locally-sourced building materials.  While much of the foundation and some of the framing was maintained, the finished home will be modern, healthy, and energy- and water-efficient.

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Community Arts Workshop

The former Recycling Center at Ortega and Garden Streets has been redesigned by Paul Poirier + Associates to provide an inspiring building to house the Community Arts Workshop. Meetings were held with the arts community to ensure the needs of the various users of the workshop would be met. The project was designed to reuse the existing masonry structure with a seismic upgrade, and a unique entry patio was incorporated. Poirier + Associates worked with metal sculptor David Shelton to create artistic iron entry gates that illustrate the summer and winter Solstice. Portions of the landscaping were designed by Arcadia Studio to bring attention to these gates at the winter and summer solstice. Many green features reducing water use, energy efficient climate control, and non-toxic finishes have been specified throughout. In addition, the workshop is striving to be a zero-net energy commercial facility, with the first visible photovoltaic array approved by the Historic Landmarks Committee in the El Pueblo Viejo District.

Dan Upton Construction has completed the first phase and work is scheduled to be finished in 2015.

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Ojai Historic Preservation by Allen Construction

This 1920’s Spanish Revival estate, designed by famed architect Arthur E. Harvey – creator of the Château Élysée in Los Angeles, is a historical restoration located in tranquil Ojai. Allen Construction’s clients, Dave and Erika Cianciulli, purchased the estate with the goal of honoring the home’s history and are currently in the process of registering it as a historical landmark. With the help of contractor Bryan Henson of Allen Construction, architect Peter Becker, landscape architect Jim Melnik, permaculturist Connor Jones, and architectural historian Judy Triem, restoration of the property is well on its way.

Many unique and timeless architectural features have been uncovered during restoration including features such as original, handmade tile; long forgotten painted ceilings on burlap canvas; classic cast iron light fixtures; and, the original door and window hardware.

In addition to restoring the home to its original condition, a major goal of the project is to make the house net zero energy (where the house only consumes as much energy as it produces). Maintaining the original architectural integrity and historic value of the home, while bringing it up to and even beyond today’s energy efficiency standards, presents a unique blend of challenges. The end result will be a restored home built to last another one hundred years..

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2014 AIA/SB Architectour included a home on Gibraltar Road designed by John D. Kelley, Architect

The 2014 AIA/SB Architectour included a home on Gibraltar Road designed by John D. Kelley, Architect. The original rustic, timber-frame residence was destroyed by the Tea Fire but could not be rebuilt under current codes. The new design honors the unique character of the original home, with upgraded interior planning, using current building techniques. Green building features include high-performance windows, and energy-efficient heating and water heating. Even with a very high glazing to floor area ratio to take advantage of panoramic ocean views, the home exceeds state energy-efficiency requirements by 21%. Also, the grid-tied solar electric system by Sun Pacific Solar is producing 2MW more electricity annually than the residents currently use.

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Major remodel by Thompson Naylor Architects was featured on the 2014 Ojai Valley Green Living Home Tour

A major remodel by Thompson Naylor Architects was featured on the 2014 Ojai Valley Green Living Home Tour.   The 1970’s-era Tudor style house was slightly enlarged and completely reworked into a beautiful Craftsman style house more suited to the neighborhood and the local climate.  Large eaves were added for shading, and the house was wrapped in rigid insulation to cut down heat loss and gain.  These features, plus insulated windows, cool-roof shingles, LED lighting, ceiling fans, and high-efficiency HVAC equipment resulted in the project exceeding state energy standards by 25%.  In addition, engineered and salvaged lumber were used extensively, and all the stone cladding was found on the site.

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Whole-house remodel of a mid-century modern home on the Mesa by Allen Associates and Grace Design Associates

Allen Associates and Grace Design Associates completed the whole-house remodel of a mid-century modern home on the Mesa.  An important goal for the owners was to make this home as green as possible.  The  garden boasts a 180-degree island view from its bluff-top location and features true indoor-outdoor living. To maximize the views from inside the house, the majority of the outdoor living space was placed on the street-side front yard.

Sustainable landscape features include:

  •  A veggie garden located on the street side of the glass wall connects the garden to the street/neighborhood; it is enclosed by a recycled, grapestake picket fence;
  •  A ‘Boardwalk’ of dry-laid architectural concrete pavers winds through native grass dunes;
  •  Calming Zen influences combine with drought tolerant Mediterranean plantings;
  •   Strictly low-impact uses on the bluff’s edge feature a bocce court, dry-laid boardwalk and native plantings;
  •  A water filtration bog cleanses water from the turtle pond which is then used to irrigate fruit trees;
  •  Hardscape: permeable joints for water infiltration and ease of future re-use;
  •  Low-voltage LED landscape path lights and directional accent lighting throughout are night sky friendly.
  •  Resident hawks control rodents on the bluff.

On a clear day, the homeowners watch pelicans fishing, hang gliders drifting by at eye level and surfers in the white water from their breakfast table!

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Sustainable and Healthy Design on Five Acre Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley by Poirier + Associates

The owners of this five acre ranch in Santa Ynez Valley came to Poirier + Associates looking for a new home design that was both sustainable and healthy with room to entertain guests, all the while keeping the home to a modest size.  After sitting down with the owners, Poirier + Associates was able to meet their needs with an innovative 2,500 square foot straw bale residence and a detached 1,850 square foot workshop. This project is located in a high fire area, so the densely packed rice straw bales are a good candidate for fire-resistant design and construction along with the metal roof and heavy timbers used throughout the work shop and house. The passive solar design of the house allows it to stay cool and comfortable in the summer and warm and cozy during the winter. A solar hydronic heating system combined with an insulated slab provide sun-powered water and space heating. Poirier + Associates designed the workshop to have a prefabricated steel structure and shell combined with a covered patio structure constructed on site to cut down on costs but still have a custom architectural look. A 9kW photovoltaic system, which generates more power than is used by the farm, is housed on the shop’s roof. Water saving strategies include water efficient plumbing fixtures and a 2-pipe greywater system which will be activated once the orchard and drought tolerant landscaping is planted. Additional sustainable features incorporated by Poirier + Associates in the main house design include: a heat recovery ventilation system; FSC certified wood trusses, fly ash concrete; locally fabricated tile; locally harvested wood and posts; salvaged lumber; energy star appliances; LED lighting; and no VOC finishes and cabinetry throughout.

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Long-term Holistic Plan for Patagonia by Arcadia Studio

Leaf Landscape, a vision of Arcadia Studio, was hired by Patagonia to create a Long-term Holistic Plan for their campus in Ventura. The focus of the design was sustainable stormwater management, native plants, and improved employee gathering spaces. The project is complete, and includes a trex raised walkway  and bioswale beneath, which replaced an unused but highly visible section of the parking lot and created an extensive bioswale, infiltration basin, and native habitat garden. Pockets all over the campus were upgraded, including the retail store, where an all-native plant parking lot bioswale cleans runoff, and infiltration basins capture roof water. Decorative permeable paving was included throughout, replacing concrete and asphalt and creating more opportunity for infiltration.


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Post Tea Fire Gibraltar Road Reconstruction Design by John D. Kelley

A rustic, timber-frame residence on Gibraltar Road was destroyed by the Tea Fire and could not be rebuilt under current codes. The home was reconstructed based on a design by John D. Kelley, Architect. The unique character of the previous structure has been replicated, with upgraded interior planning, using current building techniques. The new design incorporates green building features including high-performance windows, energy-efficient heating and water heating, and a grid-tied solar electric system. Despite having a very high glazing to floor area ratio to take advantage of panoramic ocean views, the home will exceed state energy-efficiency requirements by 21%.




Water Wise Green Building and Landscaping Practices Make a Difference During Drought

During the drought there is no water to waste. Dennis Allen, Allen Associates, was named the City of Santa Barbara’s first Water Hero in 2011 for his LEED Platinum residential development, Victoria Garden Mews, in downtown Santa Barbara. The four unit condo development, which he helped design, build and now resides in, showcases many advances in water efficient technology and practices, as well as several other sustainable features and systems.

The LEED for Homes Platinum Certified 4-unit condominium in downtown Santa Barbara was designed and built by a team of Green Building Alliance members: Thompson Naylor Architects, Allen Associates (construction, developer), Mike Gones (engineering, past member), and Grace Design Associates (landscape design and construction). The project was designed to allow “aging in place,” walking/bike access to local amenities and seamless integration with the surrounding neighborhood. Reconstruction of the site’s original Victorian house was completed in August 2009. The new, three unit condominium building at the rear of the property was completed in March 2011.  During the first year of occupancy, the passive solar building has maintained comfortable interior temperatures – losing only 1.5o on the coldest night of the year.

If you are interested in water wise green building and landscaping practices contact a Green Building Alliance professional.


 Victoria Garden Mews, in downtown Santa Barbara