Address: 770 Ladera Lane
Status: On the market
I’ve been chasing Zen lately. I know I’m not alone in seeking tranquility amid the hectic hustle of our device-heavy, multitasking lives. But when I hastily made a Friday-morning appointment to visit a Montecito home recently, I instantly regretted it. Fridays are meant to be meeting-free. But what I knew about this house gave me reason to believe it would be worth the precious time.
The home at 770 Ladera Lane, built in 2007 by its current owners, was designed by Barton Myers, the world-renowned architect whose signature flair is the use of sustainable materials in a minimalist style. A few years ago, I was privileged to spend an afternoon with Myers at his iconic steel-and-concrete home in Toro Canyon. Surrounded by water, it was both at one with its natural surroundings and simultaneously a fortress against the elements.
The house at 770 Ladera Lane reminded me of Myers’s own home, yet with distinct differences.
Both are modern industrial-style dwellings with walls of glass and an abiding reverence for the surrounding landscape. But this residence is in a class of its own.
Dramatic retractable steel-and-glass walls span the entire front of the house, providing an unparalleled communion between indoors and out. As the walls move, the polished concrete floors erase any break between the interior and outdoors.
The kitchen, dining, and living areas occupy the front wing of the house. Clerestory windows reveal mountain views from every angle. Marble countertops and bleached limed oak cabinets show off a sleek kitchen, while the sitting room has a cozy fireplace, the family room has a library, and the laundry room has a copper farm sink.
The high-ceilinged hallway leads into the private wing where a guest bedroom suite with its private bath, sunken shower, and outdoor access is smashing. But the master bedroom suite steals the show.
Its double vanity with red jasper walls, walk-in closet, fireplace, and two floor-to-ceiling glass-walled corners, one opening onto a private patio, is total luxury, while a deep soaking tub surrounded by glass doors creates the ultimate private bathing experience.
From inside the house, the garden views took my breath away. While the house itself is stunning, it allows the surrounding natural beauty to take center stage. The owners traveled to Japan with Myers for landscape inspiration, and the result is captivating.
Completely private from the main house is a one-bedroom guest house designed by revered Santa Barbara architect Andy Neumann, which boasts an arresting sandstone fireplace in the living room, vaulted ceilings, a wet bar, and lovely front and back patios.
The pathway between the two buildings offers what is arguably the most striking part of the grounds. A succulent garden bursting with vibrant colors and shapes pays testimony to the home’s distinction as an Outstanding American Garden, named in 2015 by the Garden Club of America.
The landscaping throughout the property was crafted by Mark Rios of RCH Studio in Los Angeles. As the home’s owner told me, “It takes an artist to make a steel-and-glass building feel like an oasis, and I believe he did that with and for us.”
Sustainability is integral to this home, from the fire-resistant and recycled building materials used in its construction to the radiant coil hydronic heating system and photo voltaic array to its drought-tolerant native landscaping.
These practical features, however, don’t undercut the home’s elegant luxury. For example, the stunning 50-foot lap pool with its waterfall fountain is ozonated and heated by solar power. The adjacent terrace with built-in fire pit is one of my many favorite spots on the property. Evenings spent here, watching the sunset over the ocean and the changing colors on the mountains, would be blissful indeed.
When I finished my visit, I walked leisurely away, breathing deeply and taking one last lingering look at the exquisite gardens. I was smiling. I realized that I had — at least momentarily — found the Zen I had been searching for. Of course, I couldn’t chase it. I had to open my eyes and breathe and let it find me.
770 Ladera Lane is currently for sale in Montecito, listed by Cristal Clarke of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Cristal at (805) 886-9378 or Cristal@Montecito-Estate.com. View a video of this property at vimeo.com/392320626/8b80381ec2.