Red Tail Ranch, Santa Ynez

We collaborated with Fred Fisher to work on a hilltop, wind-swept residence in the Santa Ynez Valley above Santa Barbara. The project is located in a paradigmatic California landscape of golden rolling hillsides with oak trees. The house sits on the land like a saddle, with the ridge running through like the backbone of a horse.

The project became an exercise in restraint, letting the house recline comfortably into the landscape and feel like part of the mountains. We placed on the property a dozen new oak trees that create shadows and thresholds through which the building can be viewed.  In order to make an elegant and effective landscape, our strategy was to introduce drought-tolerant grasses and a minimum number of trees to blend the graded slopes into the rolling hills. What could have been a spare, static environment has become a dynamic, vibrant experience that amplifies the intricacies inherent in the landscape.