Situated on a skinny lot at the edge of downtown Santa Barbara, California, architect James Gauer’s 1,500-square-foot Brous-Scherer house is an anomaly in a town known for its code-enforced adherence to the Spanish Colonial style. Gauer’s clients, a couple who moved from New York City (Gauer had designed their Manhattan apartment), wanted to maintain the feeling of their contained, urban life in a California context.
Gauer, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, worked with the Santa Barbara–based architect of record, Bildsten + Sherwin Design Studio, to devise a two-story woodframe structure covered in crisp-edged stucco. The house is composed of three increasingly smaller, well-proportioned volumes based on a 4-foot grid: The first, a rectilinear bar at the north end of the lot, contains the entry and kitchen; the second, a 16-by-24-foot box, includes the living room and two bedrooms above; and the third and smallest volume provides a loggia that connects the living room to the garden. “I really love the way we managed to squeeze a rather elegant sequence of spaces into a very tight lot,” says Gauer.