Bildsten Sherwin Design ... were executive architects of our whole house construction, interfacing effectively with the construction company, city regulators, landscapers, and many independents....
— Client
This house as the best design prototype for appropriate contemporary housing in Santa Barbara.
— Sheila Lodge, mayor of City of Santa Barbara from 1981-1993 and current City Planning Commissioner



Located on a narrow lot at the edge of downtown Santa Barbara, California, this 1500-square-foot house is an anomaly in a town known for its design review-enforced adherence to Spanish Colonial style. The Carrillo residence was designed for a couple who moved from New York City and wanted to maintain the feeling of their urban life in a California context.

The house’s minimalist design recalls the work of Irving Gill, the early 20th century architect who reduced the Spanish Colonial vernacular of Southern California to geometric elements. The two-story woodframe structure with a parapet roof and plaster wall finish was well-received by the Santa Barbara design review board. The house is composed of three increasingly smaller, well-proportioned volumes based on a 4-foot grid: The first, a rectilinear bar at the north end of the small lot, contains the entry and kitchen; the second, a 16-by-24-foot box, includes the living room and two bedrooms above; the third and smallest volume provides a loggia that connects the living room to the garden.

Parking in the garage or driveway adjacent to the street, the visitor will walk past the garden, loggia, and living room before reaching the entrance at the northern end of the site; an intentional move designed to preserve the garden as a zone of shared entry and outdoor living space, standing between Classicism and Modernism. 
Energy efficiency and ease of maintenance were other key considerations.

The downtown location and outdoor living site plan give the owners all the urban vitality and convenience they were seeking, along with privacy, quiet, and Santa Barbara weather in which to enjoy them.

*Based on ‘Architectural Record’ article by Laura Raskin

Photography by Patrick Turner


Project Name Carrillo Residence
Program New residence and garage construction
Location Santa Barbara, California
Year 2009
Size 1500sf
Collaborators Contractor: David Chase Construction
Structural: Harris Engineering
Landscape: Bildsten + Sherwin