Modern Times Opens on State St!

We are proud to announce that Modern Times Beer is now open on State St. in Santa Barbara. This completes the last piece of the puzzle for our Kims Service Dept. project located at 418 State St. Modern Times joins Shaker Mill, Cubaneo and Gear to create a destination multi-tenant project that has something for everyone.

The new Modern Times bar

Modern Times serves great beer but they also offer wine, coffee and incredible vegan food from their kitchen. The interior design is a combination of sleek and colorful with a backdrop of weird and wacky elements.

Modern Times Interior

Our bar design wraps around the tap wall and extends outside thru the folding door creating a great connection to the outdoor patio. Outside you can sit at the bar or a variety of seating options while you drink a beer and eat with friends. You can see the before and after images below. The first time we visited this space we could see the potential hidden behind years of junk and misuse. All the original textures and materials were there we just needed to bring the space to life

Modern Times Patio Now
Patio Area Before

Sierra Madre House Now Under Construction!

It is happening! This hillside home in Santa Barbara is under construction, transforming a dark and dull house into a bright modern home that is designed to take advantage of the views to the ocean and the city below. See here for the future look


The first steps are the demolition of the back of the house and the start of grading, lots of noise, dust and dirt at this point and a bit hard for the owners to see how it will all come together. But as the saying goes, you have to go backwards first before we can go forwards. The contractor and the subcontractors will be working to remove a portion of the concrete slab to make room for the grading equipment to lay the soil back and start the foundations for the lower level.

The expectation is that the construction will take 10 to 11 months to complete, it should take about a month to complete the grading and demolition. Once this is done the work will start on the foundations and various water proofing required for the lower level that is partially buried in the hillside. Then finally the walls can start to be built and this home will start to take its shape.

Check back soon for updates on the construction of this project!



Modern Beach Shack Progress

Our modern beach shack project located here on the Santa Barbara Mesa has been progressing well. After a brief pause while we worked with the owner to include additional changes to the kitchen and the rest of the house the project is coming to a close.

Here is the street elevation as the stain was going on the cedar siding. You can see the thin windows wrapping around the upper floor bringing light in from all sides and the mitered glass corner window in the lower right providing views out into the garden.

street elevation

street elevation

Below is the current view of the rear of the addition. Here you can see the master suite on the upper floor with the deck providing views out to the ocean. On the ground level is the garage which can be used for a number of uses, we included big sliding glass doors on the back wall to help connect this space to the back yard


Here is the view from the living room, the view doesn’t look like much right now but the landscape plan includes plans for a new fence and plenty of planting


This is the new stair leading to the master suite upstairs. We designed this with a thin steel stringer and open treads to try and bring as much light thru the space as possible. To the left you can see the beginning of the installation of the pivoting glass front door.


The master bath tub sits within what we call a wet area meaning that the shower is also within this space. The shower is not enclosed in glass which helps make the space feel larger. There is also the big bonus of being able to see the ocean from the shower.


We are very excited to see this project coming to completion for the owners, hopefully soon they will be moving in and getting a feel for their new home!

Santa Barbara Beach House Progress

We’ve been visiting the construction site of our Santa Barbara Mesa Beach House design and wanted to share a few photos of the progress.

Below you can see the stages of construction that have happened over the course of a few months.

beach house foundation and existing house

beach house foundation and existing house

Above you can see the portion of the existing house that remains and the formwork for the foundations of the addition. The addition is happening mainly in the front yard so access hasn’t been a problem.

beach house foundation

beach house foundation

After the foundation and slab were poured and cured the framers start their work on the ground floor. Below you can see the corner window element and the how all the structure works together to achieve this.

beach house corner window

beach house corner window

beach house second floor framing

The next time we visited they had the second floor framing underway and the start of the roof framing. The project seems like it goes at warp speed during this phase and suddenly the form of the house is apparent.

beach house second floor view

beach house second floor view

We always knew that there would be a ocean view but you never really know until you get up there. In this case what a great surprise to find beautiful views looking out toward the channel islands from the master bedroom.

Street Elevation

Street Elevation

Here is the current view of the project from the street, quite a change for this little house. Check back in for more photos soon!

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!

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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