A well-built custom entryway is more than meets the eye. Sure, it serves to welcome guests and introduce the personality of the home with design symmetry, warm lighting, and perhaps a carefully manicured apron of landscaping. But beyond making a statement and a lasting first impression, a practical entryway ought to serve the comings and goings of family and visitors, including those with mobility challenges. That’s when architectural lines, color finishes, and a welcoming front door go hand-in-hand with easy access. Here’s a handful of our favorite entryways, with a brief backstory on the Giffin & Crane project. 

Credit: Jim Bartsch

SANTA BARBARA MEETS TAOS:  This complete transformation, headed up by architect Hugh Twibell, stripped down the existing hodgepodge home to its barest bones before resurrecting it with the soft corners and earthy tones of distinct Southwest stylings. On the ground floor, the owners expanded the attached garage and added two guest bedrooms and a bathroom. Upstairs, an all-new master suite opens to an airy kitchen and living/dining area, with a big balcony to an ocean view. 

Credit: Jim Bartsch

AMERICAN COLONIAL REVIVAL:  Highlights of this transformative remodel include a distinct and welcoming front porch and all-new entryway that represents an architectural solution to the homeowners’ desire to depart from original ranch appearances without major structural changes. The new look appeals to the homeowners’ East Coast sensibilities, as well, while maintaining true California themes, also captured in garden and outdoor living spaces. The project’s architecture was by Harrison Design, with interiors by Fran Wolfe and landscaping by Katie O’Reilly Rogers.

Credit: Jim Bartsch

HILLSIDE MEDITERRANEAN:  Staying within budget and the home’s original footprint, designers — including lead architect Anthony Spann of Harrison Design — and builders transformed compartmentalized interior spaces into an open layout connecting the kitchen to living and dining areas. The resulting floor plan succeeded in providing the new owners with the desired California feel without compromising the building’s structural integrity. Outside, a new staircase connects the home to the pool, and 360-degree views take in the mountains and the sea.

Credit: Jim Bartsch

MONTECITO RENOVATION:  After forming a symbiotic relationship with Giffin & Crane during a successful kitchen remodel, the owners of this four-bedroom, six-bathroom single-family home decided to move forward with an upgrade of the detached guest cottage and, finally, a down-to-the-studs renovation of the main house, with new landscaping by Gregg Toland. As part of a design-build team with the principal builders and architect Tom Meaney, the clients could confidently adjust their ideas according to site constraints and budget. Ultimately, the new floor plan transformed the old disjointed layout into a flowing space with sophisticated architectural lines and an appreciation of necessary comforts for a growing family. 

Giffin & Crane has been building custom homes in Santa Barbara since 1986.

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