Matador Network says Waterline is a must visit!

The travel publisher, Matador Network includes The Water Line, The Nook and Lama Dog Bottle and Tap Room in one of the must visit spots in Santa Barbara! Check it out below! Then head down to the Funk Zone and enjoy some great food and drinks!

“The Waterline, located in the Funk Zone, is a one-stop shop for enjoying Santa Barbara’s local merchants and artisans. Start your afternoon at Topa Topa Brewing or Lama Dog for some of Santa Barbara’s best craft beers, then head to Nook for a late lunch or dinner — try their rockfish soft tacos, seafood burgers, or purple potato waffles with fried chicken. You can walk off your meal by checking out the talent at The Guilded Table, an artist collective with tons of private studios and a large common space where artists, craftspeople, photographers, jewelers, and designers come together to collaborate and share their work with the public.

The best part? The team at the Waterline works together to make their various tasting and dining menus cohesive and complementary, so going from spicy jidori chicken wings to a strong IPA makes perfect sense.”

The Waterline gets some press!

Lama Dog Interior

Phase one of The Waterline project opened in May of 2016 which includes an eatery The Nook and Lama Dog taproom and bottle shop. The two businesses share a portion of  two old warehouse buildings located at 116 and 120 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara.

So far the public response has been overwhelming and these projects have been featured in the following publications.

The Waterline Drops into the Funk Zone

Waterline Project Rises in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone with Collection of Beer, Wine, Food and Art

For us at KMA the payoff for us is seeing our clients successfully open their business and exceed even their best projections. We couldn’t be happier for them and it has been great seeing them thrive. It’s important that customers are attracted to the space that we have created but it’s equally significant when our clients are excited to work In the kitchen or behind the bar. Recently, in an interview, Norbert – 30+ year veteran to the restaurant  world – was quoted as saying “This is the first really happy place I’ve worked in a long time,”  which to us is all we can hope to create.
I’d like to think one reason for this happiness is the way we positioned the kitchen and created transparency to allow Norbert to see the customers reactions and to allow the customers to see the action on the cook line. Additionally a mix of ages young and old sitting together at the communal table or the wide open bar creates a richer experience for everyone. We’ve had many people tell us that “it just feels good in here.” The energy of the customers and Pete’s and Norbert’s love of their craft mixes to create a space where everyone wants to be and come back for more. We hope you have had a chance to visit and try The Nook and Lama Dog, let us know what you think!

photo by John Goodman

photo by John Goodman

The Nook and Lama Dog Tap Room Now Open!

We are very excited to announce that The Nook and Lama Dog tap room are now open in Santa Barbara’s funk zone! This is the first phase of a larger project called The Waterline which will include adding several more exciting tenants to the building later this summer. We even have a bit of local news coverage, see more here

The nook Lama Dog design

The reaction has been incredible, it’s been packed with excited beer lovers and foodies there to sample the food being prepared by Master Chef Norbert Schultz in The Nook. We couldn’t be happier for our clients and have enjoyed seeing them open with such overwhelming success. We have also been able to sample a few of the items on the menu as well as a few of the many beers on tap, we will be back for more.

The Nook

The Nook

Here’s a shot with more detail of the shipping container kitchen for The Nook you can see some of the amazing dishes available. Below is a shot of the bar area just prior to opening day

Lama Dog Interior

Lama Dog Interior

If you have a chance please go check it out and let us know what you think!

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Funk Zone Restaurant Progress

Check out the latest photos from our Santa Barbara Funk Zone restaurant progress!

Interior View

Interior View

Lama Dog and The Nook

Lama Dog and The Nook


The exterior is not far away from being complete, the doors and windows are in and the new siding is being prepared for installation. We have selected cedar siding with a charred finish as an accent around the outdoor bar. This is a traditional Japanese practice called Shou Sugi Ban, which is created by charring the wood with a large propane torch. Below you can see the variety of finishes that this technique can impart. We are very excited to see this installed and finished it will be a very unique element.

charred wood samples

The interiors are well on their way as well. All the framing is complete and drywall is going up, electrical lines are in and lighting is ready for installation.


Check back in and we should have some more images of the siding installed and the shipping container being installed for the kitchen area!

Santa Barbara ABR Appointment!

We just received word that Kevin was appointed to the City of Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review!

This board has been operating since 1947 and is charged with reviewing commercial, multi-family development and industrial projects within the City of Santa Barbara. The boards efforts help to maintain the character and quality of design that makes Santa Barbara such a great place to live and visit. As a licensed Architect Kevin will sit on the seven member board with other Architects and Landscape Architects. The projects that come before the ABR can be small or large and occasionally a project can be controversial but we are excited to contribute to the future of our city!

santa barbara ABR

Santa Barbara ABR members reviewing a project, image by Paul Wellman and the Independant

BIM What is it and Why Your Architect Should Use It

What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. This refers to a way of creating drawings that accurately document a design that is light years ahead of the old 2 dimensional drawing production style.

While there are a few types of BIM software we use Autodesk Revit and have been for ten years now and we’ve used it to design 15,000 s.f. office interiors and master bedroom additions so we’ve gotten pretty good at it. We are one of the few Architecture offices in Santa Barbara that use it and it works really well for the design oriented projects we focus on, here’s why:

It creates 3d views that anyone can look at and immediately understand

Very early in the design of a project we are able to create an accurate 3d model of the design and add nearly any element we wish from doors and windows to lighting, floors and furnishings. We can then place cameras in the model to see what what the design looks like. We go back and forth from view to view refining the design until it is ready for the client to see. Not everyone is able to understand floor plans or sections so when the client can see a 3d image they can understand it right away! Take a look at our Modern Beach Shack to see how we go from the raw image below to an image we can share with the client.

BIM Santa Barbara architect

View From Street

It Saves Time

The model we create is parametric, meaning all the elements are integrated, connected and smart. The walls know that they are built out of 2×4’s and covered with gypsum board or plaster or tile. In some Architect’s offices rows of draftsmen carefully draw each elevation, section and detail in 2 dimensions. This method requires a ton of time because of the tremendous amount of coordination required between drawings. For example if you draw a window in the floor plan you then need to go to the elevation sheet and draw the window as it appears on the wall, then you need to add this window to the window schedule. BIM software takes care of these tedious tasks for you. When you add a window into a wall you tell it what size it is, what it is made out of etc. then that window will appear in all other views like elevations, sections and in the window schedule. It’s amazing really, I don’t know how we got anything done before we made the transition to BIM.

Santa Barbara architect and interior design

Interior View

How It Benefits The Client and the Project

We’ve discussed how BIM can help the design and drafting but how does it benefit you, the client? In Santa Barbara, creating good Architecture can be difficult. There are many hoops to jump thru in the City Santa Barbara or County process just to get the ok to build your project. Planning department reviews, design board reviews, this process takes time which takes time away from the design process. When the Architect should be considering the best way to orient your new bedroom he or she is instead spending time filling out applications and preparing a design board review. With BIM we can take the time we’ve saved on all that tedious work we described earlier and put it back into creating good design. Take a look at our Sierra Madre and Rinconada projects to see how we put that time back into the design.

Multi family

Conceptual design options for a multi-family project


Our model that we build in the computer includes everything. Beams, posts, ductwork, anything that has the potential to cause a problem during construction goes into the model. We strive to create drawings that allow the contractor to work quickly and accurately. For us Revit is a tool and with any tool it is only as effective as it’s user so we constantly look for new and better ways to use the tools power. Recent new uses have included solar and shading studies to show a client that the setting sun would not be right in their eyes at dinner time.

Imagine what we could do for your project!

Carpinteria Restaurant Remodel Approved!



Our design for the former Tony’s Restaurant in Carpinteria was well received by the Carpinteria Architectural Review Board!

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen some images of this project earlier in the design process. Now that the project has had a warm reception we wanted to share the some of the ideas, challenges and opportunities with the project.

This iconic building in the center of the seaside town of Carpinteria is due for a major facelift. The interior is dark, dated and the exterior is not inviting. We were asked to help the new owner breath new life into this ideal site for a restaurant on this intersection. The challenges are many; the building is constructed of concrete block and heavy timber roof framing, the restrooms do not conform to current code, a portion of the restaurant dining area is raised not allowing disabled access and the back patio is surrounded by a tall fence making for a claustrophobic dining experience. Really it’s a case study of how not to design a restaurant.

Our approach was to strategically open up the exterior to provide light and a visual connection for those passing by the restaurant, drawing them in with the new interior layout. The new openings create opportunities for customers to see and be seen, drawing more people in off the street. A new larger patio at the rear provides additional opportunities for outdoor dining. We have also added a bar that also opens up onto the rear patio making for yet another reason for people to visit and stay.

Carpinteria Architect

Carpinteria Restaurant Sketches

We are currently working with the City to resolve all the issues that come along with old restaurants, like calculating historical parking use versus current use and setback issues. Not so exciting I realize but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make all the pieces of the project fall into place.

Check back in soon for more on this challenging project!

Funk Zone Restaurant Approved!

funk zone wine tasting

Our Funk Zone Restaurant building permit was issued!

A new restaurant is underway in the Funk Zone neighborhood of Santa Barbara. While we can’t share the name yet we are very excited to see this project moving ahead. The demolition is underway and the space will be prepared for the brand new bar, seating and kitchen. The exterior changes include a new patio for dining with an outside bar to take advantage of the incredible weather. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and promises to be a great addition to the growing food culture of Santa Barbara. The bar area will not only serve beer and wine but will also offer bottled beer for sale. Customers will be able to select from the handpicked brews on display or in the walk-in cooler. Many thanks to our project team Ashley & Vance Engineering and Kamran and Company for working hard to get this project thru the demanding City of Santa Barbara planning and permitting process.

warehouse restaurant remodel

Raw warehouse space, a great canvas

The new restaurant and bar is very exciting but that’s not all that is happening here. This permit also includes work elsewhere in the 8,000 s.f. building to prepare three other spaces for future tenants. The overall concept for the building is to have additional restaurant use mixed with other creative tenants producing interesting artwork and other handmade products. Glass walls and openings will allow for visitors to see and wander thru these spaces creating a layered experience that will continue to evolve over time. The building will be getting a new name and branding, the interior design will be cohesive throughout the warehouse like space. New exterior seating and dining areas will be constructed along with a new entry.


Temporary shoring and wall demo for the new windows and bar

The project is in the very capable hands of South West Construction who has completed restaurant build outs throughout Santa Barbara including Farmer Boy. Check back for more updates!

We love designing restaurants!

Give us a call and let us show you what we can do for you!



Santa Barbara Addition and Remodel Construction Progress!

The Vaquero Residence is coming together very nicely, this project is located in the foothills of Santa Barbara. We stopped by for a visit and the walls are framed and sheathed with plywood and the roof is also framed and waiting for waterproofing. It’s starting to look more and more like the rendering we did for the project which will provide new bedrooms, a full bathroom all connected by a open room the kids can call their own. We imagine this room will transform over time, starting as a play room then becoming the kids own living room. This room will have a sliding glass door leading out to a private patio, designed based on our outdoor living principles. The client is very excited to see the progress of their addition and remodel, their three little girls have already picked out their new bedrooms and are ready to move in. We are excited to see the transformation and especially excited to see the client’s reaction. The next steps will be wrapping the exterior with water proofing then installing the windows and sliding glass doors. Before long the addition will be “dried in” as they say in the construction world which means that even if it does rain all the wood and other elements will be protected.  See our tips for making the most out of your addition and remodel here. Take a look thru the photos below and check in for future updates!

Street View

Street View

The rendering we did for the project, quite a transformation for this house

A portion of the addition

A portion of the addition

Here you can see the form really taking shape and the structure still clearly defined. Those openings just below the roof will become high windows called clerestory windows which will let in beautiful light but will be shaded by the eaves.

Future bedroom

Future bedroom

A shot of the post and framing around the future clerestory windows with a great view of the sky and palm tree in the front yard. To the right you can see a bit of the future casement window, the beams will be exposed and stained to emphasize the materiality of the structure.

Santa Barbara Remodel Exterior WindowsA shot of the exterior detail where the clerestory meets the sliding glass door below. This beam will also be exposed and stained, the contractor did a good job of attaching the beam to a knife plate which hides the steel connection inside the beam. A big thanks to Ashley & Vance Engineering for working with us to bring the structure to life like we imagined it. The combination of dozens of seemingly unimportant details like these is what will set this project apart from the typical house in the area. It doesn’t take much more money or time to build like this, it just takes some desire and passion to create the design and of course great clients who want to live in a house that is considered and unique.

The exposed corner post and clerestory windows for great light

The exposed corner post and clerestory windows for great light



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