December 18, 2014
A slow walk around the 10-acre materials yard at Pat Scott Masonry reveals the organized collection of owner Eddie Langhorne’s trade. His business is all about Santa Barbara sandstone — that 30-million-year-old sedimentary rock angulating from our mountainsides and foothills — and the elegantly rustic look it lends to many of the region’s exemplary estates
From poolside pavers and gateway columns to ornate entryways and hand-sculpted fireplace surrounds, sandstone provides a durable beauty that complements entire neighborhoods, especially those tucked away along the wooded creeks of Montecito.
Almost all of Langhorne’s sandstone stockpile is sourced on site during construction projects. For example, it’s fairly common that boulders large and small are unearthed when a new home site is initially graded. That’s when Langhorne’s team comes in with shovels, wheelbarrows, cranes and dump trucks.
Back at the materials yard, located in Goleta, cobbles are sifted and sorted by size into hog-wire baskets, ready for the next installation (often at the same property from which they were sourced). The sifted-off dirt, by the way, makes its way into garden and landscaping projects all over town.
“We try to limit our waste,” Langhorne says, pointing out that small scraps of sandstone get crushed into gravel for driveways and drains behind retaining walls. “We’re left with just a bit of dust on the ground.”
Downtown, on the industrial Lower Eastside, Langhorne has a 5,000-square-foot shop with a 10-ton crane, a stone lathe and three computer-guided stonecutting saws. The biggest blade measures two meters across (pictured, below) and its teeth are made partially from diamonds, enabling it to slice precisely through very heavy, very thick sandstone boulders destined to become garden benches, oversized patio pavers, antiqued veneer siding or the roomy baking slab of a custom outdoor pizza oven.
The lathe and smaller saws can handle more intricate cuts, but for truly artistic touches Langhorne relies on his small crew of expert stone carvers. One of them, Salvador Melendez, was a young mason in Jalisco, Mexico, before coming to Santa Barbara a few decades back. Prior to landing a job with Pat Scott Masonry, Melendez carved the Sunday brunch ice sculptures at the La Cumbre Country Club.
“It’s really the clients who set the bar,” says Langhorne. “Our talents have been refined by the people who push our abilities.”
A Carpinteria native who grew up with the son of stonemason and company founder Pat Scott, Langhorne worked for Scott as an estimator before branching out on his own. In 1998, as Scott neared retirement, he approached Langhorne to buy Pat Scott Masonry, which had been in business since 1960. Langhorne seized the opportunity, combining his crew with Scott’s to offer elite stonemasonry that’s highly adapted to the textures and hardness of our local sandstone.
Tapped in to Santa Barbara’s high-end market for half a century, Pat Scott Masonry has worked with Giffin & Crane since the construction firm’s inception.
“We have an excellent working relationship with Giffin & Crane,” Langhorne says. “They’re not only our customer, they’re good friends. Their word is their bond.”
(Story and photos by Keith Hamm)