Set among ancient oaks and a newly planted vineyard, this Patterson Custom Home farmhouse in California's horse and wine country is a sunny blend of good taste, fine finishes, and amenities designed to welcome family and enjoy the Santa Ynez Valley.
Building a dream home is always top of mind when you do it every day. So maybe it’s not all that surprising that when Andrew Patterson visited the quaint town of Santa Ynez, California (population 4,500 or so), he quickly went from sipping sauvignon blanc to sniffing around for available real estate. Patterson, owner of Patterson Custom Homes, and his wife had made the scenic, two-and-a-half-hour drive up the California coastline from Newport Beach for a weekend of wine tasting five years ago and immediately felt the urge to plant some permanent roots among the old oak trees and soft rolling hills.
“We decided to call a real estate agent on a whim to see what was available, and she took us to a 20-acre parcel of vacant land that weekend. Three weeks later, we were in escrow,” he says. “At that time, the area was untapped, and we felt it could be the next Napa Valley. It’s been amazing to watch the area grow in popularity over the last few years and see it become such a hotspot for tourism, as well as for vacation homes for celebrities.”
Patterson didn’t have to search far for the right architect — Chris Brandon of Brandon Architects is both a personal friend and a longtime colleague.
Friends and family like to gather in front of the tumbled palomino limestone fireplace. Cozy sectionals provide front-row seats for the panoramic mountain views provided by floor-to-ceiling pocket doors.
“The majority of the houses we design are built by Patterson, so it was beyond a privilege to design this special retreat for Andrew and his wonderful family,” Brandon says. Before drafting
could begin, he made multiple site visits to figure out exactly how best to honor the land. “To maintain its character, we had to work around the natural landscape of the hills and preserve the ancient oak trees,” Brandon says. “We wanted to make sure the house was sited properly to take advantage of the views and sun movement, maintain privacy, and not disturb too much of the landscape.”
The open kitchen is fit for display thanks to rift-sawn oak cabinets and special touches like brass hardware, black pendant lights lined with a brass interior, and a zellige-tile backsplash. The family dog, Maggie, provides a front-door welcome to all who visit The Farm. Kids and adults alike spend their days making a splash in the pool and built-in spa.
The bucolic setting also influenced the 5,340-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bathroom home’s overall design and materials, which include palomino stone, Western red cedar, metal, glass, and a smooth-coat stucco finish. “This is a transitional approach to a modern farmhouse design that fits within the surrounding fabric of the Santa Ynez Valley,” says the architect. It’s also a hands-on approach: Brandon personally selected the exterior tumbled palomino limestone from Sandrine Scott Commodities.
Because his clients had asked for an open-concept interior that would show off the views and also accommodate the needs of the couple’s tween twin and 14-year-old daughters; Rhodesian Ridgeback, Maggie; and a cavalcade of visitors, Brandon came up with a unique design that boasts totally separate-but-equally luxe living and sleeping wings.
The primary bedroom takes its color cues from the views just beyond the large windows. A neutral rug lays the groundwork for a woodsy canopy bed, deep green linens, and earth-tones furnishings. While living areas and sleeping quarters are located on opposite sides of the house, everyone meets in the middle to soak in the sun poolside.
“Knowing the homeowners would be enjoying the space for holidays and retreat-like vacations, separation was paramount,” Brandon says. “The main living space is central to the design as a communal space for all to come together.” When the party is over, the homeowners and their guests head to the sleeping area, located to the north, which features a family room, primary bedroom, secondary bedrooms (including one with queen- and full-sized beds that can accommodate four people), and a bunk room. “The layout makes this the perfect vacation home — whether we’re hosting friends or family, the separation between the living spaces and sleeping quarters means lots of privacy as well as peace and quiet for those who choose to sleep in,” says Patterson.
Dark herringbone tile contrasts with white grout in the primary bathroom to provide a dramatic base for a free-standing tub with a view to luxuriate by.
“The Farm,” as it has become affectionately nicknamed by the family, boasts plenty of outdoor plusses, too, accessible from the great room’s large glass pocket doors. During the day, kids and adults alike splash around in the infinity-edge pool and spa. As temperatures cool, dinner and drinks are often served outside. The family also made an addition to the landscape that gives a nod to the very beverage that brought them to Santa Ynez in the first place: “We’ve planted a working vineyard, where we grow 70 percent cabernet, 15 percent Syrah, and 15 percent grenache that we bottle and share with friends and family,” Patterson says. “The wine is completely natural and free of all pesticides and preservatives.”
Located near the entrance, the barn offers everything needed for a good time, including video games, a pool table, foosball table, shuffleboard, and a bar. Assorted textures come together in a guest room via patterned headboards, graphic side table, and a woven hanging chair. The bunk house above the garage contains this sleep-a-crowd space, a smaller bedroom, and bath.
As the holidays approach, the family is even more excited to drive through the gates and head down the long, winding road that leads to their one-of-a-kind farmhouse.
“We’re not sure of the exact distance — you don’t have to pack a lunch, but it’s pretty darn far,” says the patriarch. “With all of the winding curves to get from the base of the property where the barn is located up to the top of the hill where the main house is located, it’s probably about a mile away.”
Extended family and friends make their way through the gates, too, from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s. Calories are burned between celebratory meals with strolls around the grounds, electric-bike rides, and check-ins with the animals on neighboring properties, including cattle, horses, a Texas longhorn steer, and even a zebra. “Time moves slower here, whether we’re playing board games, walking the property line, utilizing the game room down in the barn, or cozying up in front of the fireplace with a good movie,” Patterson says. “It’s a wonderful place.”
Go for a Gallup.
There's a little something for everyone at The Alisal, a 10,500-acre all-inclusive luxury dude ranch. Guests enjoy catch-and-release fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, horse riding, and wrangler skills workshops. There's also tennis, golf, spa time, and fine dining. And, trust us, no one will be roughing it in the lovely lodgings. thealisal.com
Ride the Roads.
Gorgeous views and an abundance of vineyards made the Santa Ynez Valley the ideal place to film the vino buddy movie Sideways. While you could enjoy re-creating scenes from the comfort of a chauffeured car or party bus, why not take a ride on the wild side(car) instead? Sidecar Tours provides room for two on, yes, the side of a motorcycle with a driver who will scoot you to tastings at three local wineries. sidecartoursinc.com
Taste and Trot.
In Santa Ynez wine and horse country, there's a way to get both in one experience at Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding. Saddle up for a private, guided trail ride through rolling foothills and the vineyards of Round Up Valley Ranch and Estelle Vineyards. After the ride, you get a complimentary taste of two varietals from Estelle Vineyards and a full glass of your favorite. Bring a picnic to enjoy the day to its California-dreamin' fullest. vinovaqueros.com
Sip and See.
For an event that combines culture, culinary delights, and a crisp chardonnay, head over to the grounds of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for the annual Food & Wine Festival (June 24 in 2023). There, you can sip selections from more than 100 of the Central Coast's best wineries, including Carr Winery, Domaine de la Cote, and Toussaint Cellars; snack on locally made delectables; enjoy a stroll along the Mission River; and take in one of the museum's interactive exhibits. sbnature.org
Take the Stage.
Stagecoach, that is. Home to one of the largest and finest collections of authentic horse-drawn vehicles in the entire West, the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House houses a unique and broad collection of items that celebrate the region's Western history and culture. See numerous examples of regional saddlery, period apparel, and vintage horse gear, along with presentations on local ranching families and traveling exhibits of private collections. santaynezmuseum.org
Stroll and Shop.
A mere five miles away, the tiny town and old stage stop of Los Olivos offers more wine tasting and also gift shopping, antiquing, and dining. Ranch goods and Western and English apparel can be found at Jedlicka's Saddlery (established 1932), lavender products at Clairmont Farms, and olive goods at Olive Hill Farm. There are more locally produced artisan items at the Los Olivos General Store, where the theme — "wine-art-home" — says it all.
You're in Fess Parker country here. After his Hollywood turns as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, the man in the coonskin cap became a successful winemaker and resort owner-operator. The Parker operation boasts more than 1,500 acres of vineyards. In Los Olivos, along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, allow time for the Fess Parker Winery's tasting room and visitor center; besides the winery, there's also the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and Epiphany & the Bubble Shack. Head 45 miles back to the coast, and you'll find Third Window Brewing and the Fess Parker Funk Zone in lovely Santa Barbara. If you come home without a bottle of wine and a coonskin cap, you took a wrong turn somewhere.
Architect: Chris Brandon, Brandon Architects
Builder: Patterson Custom Homes
Interior Designer: Blackband Design.
Photography: Manolo Langis