$4 Million Homes in California

The Four Percent


This house was created by Mary Watkins Wood, an artist and designer, to evoke the California farmhouses of the early 20th century. Ms. Wood’s vision included making the house self-sufficient: A solar grid and backup generator provide power, while water comes from a well. Both the interior and exterior of the house were built with fire-retardant materials.

The property is on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, about a half-hour drive from the community of Los Olivos, where many local wineries have tasting rooms. The city of Santa Maria is in the northwest corner of Santa Barbara County, about an hour northwest of Santa Barbara.

Size: 4,100 square feet

Price per square foot: $970

Indoors: A steep road leads from the property’s entrance off Foxen Canyon to the main house, set in the middle of a relatively flat lawn. Wooden steps lead to the front porch, where a gabled overhang provides shade from the sun.

French doors open to an airy dining room with sage-green linen-covered walls and a hardwood floor made of sustainable larch. (The larch-wood floors continue throughout the house.)

A door on the right side of the dining room leads to the formal living room, which has cathedral ceilings, nonstructural trusses painted white, a fireplace and star-shaped iron pendant lights. Next to the fireplace are French doors that open to the veranda.

The master suite is connected to the living room by a small hallway. The bedroom has more star-shaped pendant lights and its own doors leading to the veranda. The bathroom has a glass-walled shower and a slate-blue soaking tub set beneath large windows overlooking the front lawn.

Another doorway in the dining room leads to a butler’s pantry, with built-in shelving and a sink. The pantry connects to the kitchen, which extends the width of the house and has white-painted cabinets topped with deep-red quartz, a white-and-gold range and a cozy seating area. The kitchen also has access to the veranda.

A hallway off the kitchen leads to a powder room, a linen closet and two more bedrooms with built-in window seats and en suite bathrooms. One bedroom also has doors opening to the veranda.

Outdoor space: The veranda is protected from the sun by a roof overhang and has its own fireplace. Within easy reach of the kitchen, it is a natural outdoor dining space. The home also has a lap pool surrounded by grass and paving stones, heated by solar panels on the roof; a garage that holds three cars; and a barn currently used as a studio. The property qualifies for a lower tax rate based on agricultural use, which the owners maintain by leasing space to ranchers who graze cattle there.

This house was designed by Harry Gesner, an architect who studied briefly with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West and is known for homes that take inspiration from their surroundings. At the well-known Wave House in Malibu, he created a roofline that mimics the cresting of a wave and inspired Jørn Utzon’s design for the Sydney Opera House.

Known as the Triangle House, this home is in the hills of the Tarzana neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Ventura Boulevard is about a mile north, and an entrance to the 101 freeway is about 10 minutes away.

Size: 5,278 square feet

Price per square foot: $758

Indoors: Beyond a sleek concrete-and-metal gate, the driveway winds past a pool and carport to the entrance of the house, on the lower floor.

Two glass doors, framed by glass on either side, open into a bamboo-walled family room, which the owners, who bought the house in 2015, use as a media room and entertaining space. A powder room door is hidden along one wall. A guest bedroom is also on this level, as is a laundry room and a wine-storage room.

A metal staircase leads to the main open-plan living space, with a dining area at the top of the stairs. Floor-to-ceiling windows face the front and back of the house.

The updated kitchen has new white cabinets with metal hardware, new appliances and a center island with seating. To the right is a sunken living room with a fireplace.

The tile flooring in the living area extends out to the back patio, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor space.

Tucked into a landing off the main stairs is a door leading to the master suite. The far wall of the master bedroom is lined with built-in storage, while a floor-to-ceiling window looks out over the front of the property. The en suite bathroom has a dual vanity and a blue-tiled soaking tub with a separate shower.

A guest bedroom with an en suite bathroom, also tiled in blue, is off the main living space. The bathroom has a combination tub and shower; the bedroom has glass bricks above the door to bring filtered light into the space, as well as access to an upstairs patio.

Outdoor space: The back patio, which has a sunken firepit and space for outdoor dining, is shared with a guesthouse, a miniature version of the main house currently used as a home office. The grounds were updated by the owners, who lined the driveway and sides of the main house with yucca, bamboo and felt plants. The pool in front of the house is also surrounded by plantings and has a concrete patio with a built-in barbecue. A partially open-air pool house has a small kitchenette and a half bathroom. The carport has space for two cars.

Taxes: $50,804 (estimated)

Contact: Trisha Perez, Century 21, 805-520-6000, and Gary Wolfe, Century 21, 818-621-0383; trishaperez.com

Three Arch Bay is a gated community founded in the 1920s that takes its name from local cliff formations. This house, which was updated in 2006, is in the upper section, known for its panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach is within walking distance, and many residents use golf carts to travel there and to the community’s clubhouse and tennis courts.

Size: 2,680 square feet

Price per square foot: $1,491

Indoors: A brick footpath leads from the street to the main level of this house, set above the street on a large corner lot.

A Dutch-style front door opens to a short hallway. To the right is a living room with a row of windows facing the side yard and a marble fireplace with a drop-down television above that stays hidden when not in use. Like the other rooms on this floor, the living room has a wood-paneled, vaulted ceiling.

To the immediate left of the front door is a guest bedroom used as an office, with French doors that open to the deck.

Straight through the entry hall is the dining room, where a wide set of doors opens to the deck. A set of stairs leading to the lower level separates the dining room from the kitchen, which is also connected to the living room.

The kitchen has two sinks, one set beneath a cutout window designed to bring the dining room’s ocean view into this part of the house. A granite-topped island offers extra counter space; appliances, including a wine fridge, are stainless steel. On the far right side of the kitchen is a door leading to the back patio.

A short hallway connects the dining room to the master suite and one of the guest bedrooms. The master bedroom has ocean-facing windows along two walls; the en suite bathroom has a claw-foot soaking tub and a walk-in glass shower. At the far end of the hall is the guest bedroom, which has an en suite bathroom with a walk-in shower.

A third bedroom, large enough to hold a queen-size bed, is on the other side of the kitchen, with its own bathroom and a combination tub and shower.

A downstairs guest room, used by the owners as a gym, connects to the garage. This floor has its own bathroom with a walk-in shower, as well as a laundry room.

Outdoor space: A wide deck extends along the ocean-facing side of the house, offering views of the beach. The section off the office and dining room is ideal for outdoor entertaining, while a smaller area in front of the master bedroom is more private. A patio off the kitchen is used by the owners for barbecuing. A lawn along the front and side of the house is surrounded by trees and a hedge that muffle street noise. The attached garage has space for two cars.

The community clubhouse, within walking (or golf-carting) distance, holds regular events like ice-cream socials and is available for members to rent. Other amenities include a playground and tennis courts.


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