HOME: A Dreamy Haven in the Mesa Neighborhood

Written by Kim Hashemi

Allen construction santa barbara
Photo by Jim Bartsch

A nearly perfect year-round climate, an awe-inspiring ocean at your doorstep...with views of the majestic Santa Ynez mountains from your plunge in the Pacific, and inspiring culinary experiences readily available. Sounds like paradise, right?


As locals can confirm, living in Santa Barbara is paradise and after leaving, all you think about is how and when you’ll return. This sentiment held true for an alumni couple from University of California, Santa Barbara who, after graduating in 1986 and living in San Francisco for some years, yearned to return to the American Riviera, specifically the Mesa neighborhood, to build their dream home.


The family garnered the expertise of local builder Allen Construction and local architect Dennis Thompson, FAIA of Thompson Naylor Architects to reimagine a 2-story 1950s era cottage on a sloping lot in the hip Mesa neighborhood into a contemporary oasis.


The three-bed, two-bath home with an ADU guest house below takes a different approach than the surrounding cottage style homes and gives the neighborhood a fresh and forward-looking perspective. A few rousing features of the home: pocket doors which open to an inspiring ocean-view deck, a built-in dining table with laptop connects in the kitchen (for work as well as for family and friends to gather), and the best part—an outdoor wood-fire pizza oven; because firing up homemade pizzas with the glistening Pacific as your backdrop always sounds like a good idea. The guest house below, complete with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen, embodies a clean modern feel, making for the perfect retreat for the owner’s children, friends, and extended family. The house’s flat roof solar panels provide for more than half of the electric needs of the home. Talk about sustainability.

Allen construction santa barbara
Photo by Jim Bartsch

To bring the vision of a contemporary home to life, Dennis Thompson worked his magic to create an inviting, open-concept space that showcases the wondrous view from almost every room. Thompson Naylor leaves no detail left behind, and thoughtfulness is at the forefront of their work (like making architectural design decisions based on when and where the sun sets each day). The homeowners note,“We love the local perspective Dennis provided, his experience building contemporary homes, expertise in sustainability, and how he continuously reminded us to have a forward looking perspective to ensure the home looks great not just today, but in the future.”


Founded in 1983 by Dennis Allen, Allen Construction is an employee-owned business and a pioneer in the green building movement, creating beautiful, energy-efficient, and healthy living spaces. ‘Humbly confident’ and ‘relationships first’ are a couple of their core values, which becomes quickly apparent as I speak with the owners about their experience working with Allen Construction to build their dream home. “Hiring Allen Construction afforded us the opportunity to receive personalized attention from the Allen team, as well as having the resources of a larger company.”


The homeowners acted as their own interior designers and decorated the home with eclectic and colorful elements—toying with textures, embracing pattern plays, and featuring different colored wallpaper accent walls in each room, a nod to one of the owners’ Scottish descent.


If quarantine has inspired you to brainstorm new additions to your home, or if you too are longing to relocate back to this paradise, bring in Thompson Naylor Architects and Allen Construction to help; your house goals will seamlessly come to fruition. Both companies have strong roots in Santa Barbara, emphasize green building techniques, and meaningfully contribute to our communities—they’re practically a match made in heaven, aka Santa Barbara.

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