Modern Retreat Gets In Touch With Nature Using Three Courtyards

After a two-year search, everyone involved in the Toro Canyon House project agreed that the site found was perfect for everything they had in mind. This included contractor Below Magid Construction, The Archer – the team responsible for the interior design and Bestor Architecture – a collaborative office based in LA which is guided by a very inspiring manifesto: “Everyone should experience strange beauty every day”.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat in landscape

This diverse team created a beautiful getaway home located in Toro Canyon in the Santa Barbara County of CA, USA. The house was completed in 2012 and sit on a 4700 sq ft area. It connects to nature in a lot of beautiful ways, including the rock garden design.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat from a distance

The main goal overall was to offer the inhabitants a more direct relationship with nature. This was done through a variety of strategies, the most notable of which is the existence of three courtyards. The main one is placed at the center of the house and can function as an outdoor living room whenever desired.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat night view

The three courtyards have a dual purpose. First of all, they bring in natural light and help with ventilation. In addition, they also offer protection from the strong winds in the area. Being situated at the top of a mountain on a site that’s adjacent to a national park, the house enjoys a lot of privacy but also has to deal with harsh forces from the elements.

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Modern Santa Barbara retreat exterior structure

The road that leads to the house had to be built as part of the same project in order to gain access to the site. The entrance is through a courtyard and the front door captures views of the distant Santa Barbara coastline.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat pool and landscape

Modern Santa Barbara retreat view from the pool

The house was built with rough and very thick concrete walls and they offer it a rugged charm. Its architecture fuses modern elements with a design able to withstand everything the elements throw at it. It’s this unusual combination that allows the house to stand out in a very special way.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat terrace and outdoor dining

The exterior of the building features custom colors that were chosen with great care so they could match the dark red and brown tones of the site and to allow the residence to better blend in as a natural part of the landscape.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat outdoor fireplace and stone walls

The inner shell, on the other hard, features warm wood. In combination with the windows which face the courtyards, this detail contributes to an overall protected, warm and very pleasant environment, sheltered from all the dangers.

Toro Canyon living room view

Modern Santa Barbara retreat sitting area

Modern Santa Barbara retreat views from living area

Each space flows into the next, thus creating a very beautiful continuity inside the house. By using natural materials and finishes, the interior designs and the architects managed to bring the house closer to its natural surroundings.

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Modern Santa Barbara retreat bathroom views

Modern Santa Barbara retreat dining room

Large openings, full height windows and sliding glass doors bring the house closer to its natural surroundings and, at the same time, bring the view in. The suspended infinity pool offers the most amazing views of the coastline.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat open space social area

Modern Santa Barbara retreat outdoor dining area

Even though the interior design is linear throughout, each area has its own charm and character. The kitchen, for example, has a large island that doubles as a bar, a lot of natural light and beautiful views and the bedroom is fresh and colorful.

Modern Santa Barbara retreat kitchen interior design

Modern Santa Barbara retreat colorful bedroom



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