All it took, they say, was one of those breathtaking doses of natural splendor Santa Barbara is famous for. From the balcony of their blufftop home, Glennis and Jim Malcolm recently flashed back to that fateful autumn day in 2010. They had been house hunting nearby. For fun, their real estate agent urged them to take a look at an oceanfront fixer-upper outside their budget.
Jim’s memory: “It was mid-November. One of those drop-dead clear days — a 10 out of 10.” The unobstructed view stretched from Point Mugu to the western horizon of the Santa Barbara Channel and out beyond the islands. Stunned, they drove in silence back to their Los Angeles home.
“We were looking for an escape,” remembers Glennis, a UCSB grad. “We were looking at Wyoming or a studio in New York City. San Francisco. La Jolla. We were all over the map”
Long story short: They made an offer that was not refused. For five years, the Malcolms — now semi-retired real estate developers — spent every weekend at their one-bedroom, one-bath fixer (with some “bootleg additions,” as Jim likes to call them).
“We were thinking the whole time, ‘What would our dream house be?’” says Glennis.
To help refine their vision, they hired Winick Architects Inc. and started talking with Barry Winick about the view, prevailing winds, and where the sun and moon rise and set during different times of the year.
“We very much like to take context into the beginning of any design,” says Winick of those early conversations. “I take my hat off to them,” he adds. “We originally had a more modest design that was conscientious of cost. But they knew we could do something more exciting and creative — they said let’s make it more sculptural, a real work of art.”
Winick provided the Malcolms with a shortlist of contractors, including Giffin & Crane, with whom Winick had worked on several projects.
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The comprehensive remodel took roughly three years, counting a nine-month delay to remediate the unexpected discovery of contaminated soil surrounding a relic well from the Mesa Oil Field, where production had peaked in the 1930s.
The finished two-story home features two bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a media room across roughly 3,200 square feet. Outdoor living space includes a kitchen in the breezeway, a deck over the carport, and comfort zones that blend the boundaries between inside and out. All the better to enjoy those views, they say.
“Back when we were dating, way before we had kids, we were always saying to each other, wouldn’t it be great to live in Santa Barbara someday?” remembers Glennis. “I mean, look at this place — it’s a dream.”
Giffin & Crane General Contractors has been building customs homes in Santa Barbara since 1986.
Project Lead: Geoff Crane
Project Superintendent: Bryan Boyd
Architecture: Barry Winick Architects Inc.
Structural Engineer: Taylor & Syfan
Landscape Design: Pat Brodie Landscape Design
Landscape Installation: Debbie Shaw Landscape