The front gate, the pool, and the kitchen sink. That’s all that remains at this sprawling Montecito compound from when its owners purchased it at a bank sale and ordered a complete its overhaul.
The early 20th-century California home had been altered and added on to so many times that the mismatched wings offered nothing original or charming. That gave the new owners carte blanche to imagine a new history there–one that resembles an old Italian village, similar to the husband’s ancestral home east of Rome.
Both husband and wife were intensely involved in the renovation with architect Don Nulty and builder Jeff McFarlane–ordering antique European fireplaces and reclaimed barn beams for the interiors–but they needed a designer to help them pull it all together. Australian designer Thomas Hamel stepped in to complete their vision with brightly colored Venetian plaster and period patterns painted onto coffered ceilings.
“We wanted that early 20th-century look–that feeling of those wonderful vintage-California homes,” he says.
Outside, landscape architect Derrik Eichelberger designed the sweeping grounds to befit a proper Italian villa–not least of which was the all-important bocce court.