Project Profile: Spanish Contemporary Jewelbox

View of backyard pool and patio.

To call the remodel of this traditional Spanish-style home in Montecito extensive or comprehensive or even whole-house doesn’t quite capture the before-and-after look and feel. Just ask the scores of creative people who had a hand in the two-and-a-half year project.

The adjective that pops up most? Transformative.

Built in 1982, the two-story home measured roughly 3,000 square feet, with two bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, an office, and an attached two-car garage. As the remodel unfolded, the square footage and floor plan remained the same, yet the home emerged with modern lines and a neutral pallet of color and texture throughout reimagined rooms that blend indoor-outdoor living.   

“The owners wanted a comfortable, casual beach environment that had recollections of the traditional Santa Barbara style,” remembers design architect Britt Jewett about one of their earliest meetings. “They wanted it updated and clean, streamlined and simplified.” Early on, he added, “We decided to take advantage of the bones of the house. We brought in steel windows that really enhanced the quality of light.” Those windows, manufactured in Ventura by Riviera Bronze, have less material than a wooden frame and utilize simple geometry to frame a view more aesthetically.

Out front, those views stretch from a comfortable patio alongside the main entryway, where a path of stepping-stones appear to float upon a calm poll. Custom seating surrounds a fountain that’s part water, part fire, and all outdoor ambiance. 

A simple voice command can turn that fountain on and off, as well as control dozens of home automation features, from interior heating, cooling, and lighting, to motorized sliding doors and the temperature of the backyard hottub. The entire system can be monitored and controlled via smartphone, from which the homeowners can conveniently adjust settings from the comfort of their vaulted living room or from halfway around the world. 

Out back, the original design had featured a wall separating the spacious living room from the private backyard and swimming pool. The remodel went in a new direction. 

“That was the single-most important decision of the entire project — to turn that wall into a glass door,” says Cheryl Nuemann, of the mother-daughter Jordan Design Crew, with Courtney Jordan Bindel. “We’re interior designers but we’ve never had a project that didn’t spill outside.”

In addition to modern amenities — such as kitchen appliances hidden in lighted cabinets of white oak — the owners emphasized their desire for seamless transitions between interior and outdoor spaces. The new motorized multi-slider glass door between the living room and backyard creates that smooth connection — whether it’s open or closed — as it frames the all-new vanishing-edge swimming pool and nearby cabana and sandstone outdoor kitchen. “And think of the landscaping as the wallpaper of this exceptional outside space,” Jewett said.

To successfully create and sustain the scene was no small feat of engineering, adds Derek Shue, a Giffin & Crane executive vice president and the project’s manager. “If the pool settles half an inch, it messes up the whole thing. It has to be perfect and stay perfect.”   

Inside, there’s furniture with fabric designed to withstand exposure to the elements (and the family dogs) but also to look and feel good. “It’s extra plush,” Nuemann says, adding that all the furniture in the house was designed and built custom, along with the rugs in the living room, master bedroom, and office. Other standouts include blown-glass light fixtures by Alison Berger Glassworks and a redesigned stone fireplace, by Pat Scott Masonry, repositioned to line up with the living room’s new overhead ridge beam, a structural feature that replaced the original, which had sagged a bit over the years.

Among many upgraded details that pay homage to the home’s original style include authentic ironwork with a pewter finish (instead of traditional black) and a modern kitchen with hand-glazed oversized Moorish tiles. The kitchen also showcases an island that’s been extended to serve as both an informal and formal dining area, with a heated countertop — a one-of-a-kind detail that was dreamed up and actualized during the course of the project.

“The scope of the project changed as we progressed,” remembers Jewett. “And we achieved an exceptional level of refinement that can be challenging to accomplish during a remodel, as we were inheriting an established structure. I enjoyed working with Jordan Design to maintain the vision and with Derek [Shue] as the vision was transferred physically to the site.”


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