21 Nov 2017Last updated

International Homes

This mountainside California home is the ultimate serene retreat

The mid-century house combines sophisticated interiors with stunning views

Andrew Joseph PR
Added 11:31 | August 29, 2017

With panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean to one side and a mountain textured with olive trees and succulents on the other, it was evident from the onset that the striking environment would become the principal source of inspiration for the interiors of this Montecito home.

An arrangement of lithographics by Richard Devecorn are complemented by a collection of African masks.

The couple who bought the 4,000-square-foot residence, built in 1970 by architect Jack Lionel Warner, enlisted the expertise of interior designers Bruce Gregga and Stephan Jones, as well as landscape designer Jessica Harlin.  

A mid-century design, the bones of the home were in good shape but the interiors needed a refreshment - one that would not only complement the couple’s lifestyle but also fulfil their desire for a dynamic winter retreat - a place to escape the cold temperature in Canada and enjoy the California climate. 

The upholstered Venetian chairs closer to the window are an indication of period and style combinations throughout the decor.

Perched on a hillside, the two-storey home presents plenty of moments for drama - views of the mountainside, which can be lit up in spectacular fashion at night, are offered up from the generous angled window in the living room; the terraces, meticulously lined with lounge chairs, emulate the decks of an ocean liner with their sea vistas; and the open-plan living area, with its high ceilings and multiple patio doors, create an abundance of space and natural light. 

The Tabriz Rug was the starting point of this room, but the fireplace and the centre ottoman were a request by the owner who loves to sit fireside with her feet up. 

The colour palette, consisting of hues of beige, pale blues and greens, in keeping with the natural surrounds, certainly contributes to the sanctuary-esque ambiance. Jones notes that the Tabriz rug in the living room and the one shown in the master bathroom carry the hues of the entire home. 

The seating area outside the bedroom features an abstract expressionist artwork by Japanese-American artist Masatoyo Kishi (from Hackett Mill Gallery in San Francisco).

In terms of furnishings, the home was a blank canvas and everything from artwork to furniture was sourced in the 10 months it took to transform the space to a Californian oasis.  

Full length patio doors create a sense of space and light in the dining area and the natural earthy tones of the interiors are harmonious with the mountainside landscape.

With the retreat lifestyle in mind, the designers knew it was important not to overcrowd the rooms and were accordingly selective in their choices. A bespoke four-poster bed from Ironies (a furniture manufacturer in California) and a parchment and oak cupboard in the master bedroom set a relaxed, romantic tone, while an antique lacquered 12-panel Coromandel screen in the dining room makes for a statement decorative feature. Materials such as the softly textured travertine marble in the bathroom were chosen to encourage the seamless outdoor-indoor flow. 

The master bedroom features a custom-built, four-post iron bed with silk bedding. The chairs, parchment and oak cupboard are from Dessin Fournir in Los Angeles. 

The resulting mood is one which balances sophistication and warmth. There is an inarguable elegance to the environment, yet one still feels they could put their feet up while reclining on the sofa - the ultimate testament to having succeeded in creating a space that functions as both retreat and home.

The guest bedroom, the only room on the lower level, also features a custom-built, four-post iron bed.

Every design choice, from the nature-inspired hues to a poised Buddha observing from a vestibule, seem to echo the same sentiment - that of maximum tranquillity and connection to the nature that surrounds the home. 

The master bathroom is wall-to-wall travertine marble. The large window opens up the space and looks out on to the hillside terrace, while the bath tub was positioned so the view faced south, east or west.


The designer Stephan Jones Interiors is an LA-based design firm. Jones attributes his success to blending elements seamlessly, inherently speaking the language of design.

The house This two-storey home, built in the 70s, has a combined style interior on the hillside of Montecito, California.

Get the look

Clockwise from top left: Grey quilt, Zara Home, Dh145; White rose arrangement, Indigo Living, Dh659; Gemstone console table, Home Centre, Dh597; Heron ornament, H&M Home, Dh104; Enamel side tables, Amara, Dh2,080 for set of two; Brown glass vase, Marina Home, Dh250; Cape cod bed, Flamant, Dh6,925. 

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Andrew Joseph PR

Andrew Joseph PR