A humble 1950s cabin becomes a retirement home in Montecito


Located between the Santa Barbara Foothills and the Santa Ynez Mountains in a rock quarry in Montecito, California, the career house has grown from a humble 1950s log cabin to a modern retreat-like residence designed by AB Design Studio in collaboration with honey house. The property is home to two structures, a one-story house and a new poolside guest house — both black and boxy with large expanses of windows. The elongated main house features a long hallway that connects the public space to the master bedroom at the opposite end.

A large wooden deck wraps around all sides of the home, creating opportunities for a prominent California connected indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

exterior view of the end of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

A stepped pathway connects the two structures with a garden courtyard in between.

twilight exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows and linear stairs

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows and linear stairs

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with a black exterior and a long swimming pool

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with a black exterior and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows with a swimming pool in front

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

exterior view of a modern box-shaped house with black exterior walls and windows

interior corner view of a modern home in the living room looking through a wall of windows

Black-framed windows replace solid walls offering ever-changing views of the surrounding oak forest.

interior view of modern kitchen

Photo: Sam Frost

The light-filled interior is designed by House of Honey which nods to the property’s zen and artistic past when it was inhabited by a collective of bohemian poets, writers and artists. The original elements are retained and the stones found on the property have been reused in the project.

interior view of modern kitchen looking with floating black fireplace

Photo: Sam Frost

The ceilings are covered in birch veneer, which complements the light wood flooring throughout.

interior view of modern living room with black tv wall and windows wall

interior view of modern house hallway

Photo: Sam Frost

Photos by Jason Rick, unless otherwise noted.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found looking for vintage merchandise, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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