What do you get when a renowned architect-and-designer duo with a European design sensibility and a passion for farming put their design ingenuity into a five-acre estate in bucolic Ojai, California? The answer is the subject of Steve and Brooke Giannetti’s new book, Patina Farm.
As longtime fans of Brooke’s blog, Velvet and Linen, we followed with interest the couple’s decision to leave their family’s suburban Santa Monica lifestyle to build their dream home in the quiet oasis of Ojai Valley, located just south of Santa Barbara. Now, just three years after settling in, they’re opening their doors and sharing their exquisite home and gardens with us through this lusciously photographed volume.
Architectural sketches by Steve and a written account by Brooke detail their inspirations and plans to build the H-shaped house complete with courtyards and bell tower, barns, greenhouse, chicken coop and guest bungalow that overlooks the fields, lake and gardens. They also realized their dream of expanding their family to include three dogs, goats, mini donkeys, chickens and even a house bunny.
The designers began their endeavor with the simple design philosophy of embracing the natural beauty of the property. The biggest factor in the design of the house was sunlight. They decided to situate the house with the back facing south and designed the interior with few walls separating spaces, so they could flood the house with the most desirable light during the day. To balance and maximize the amount of natural light throughout, they added expansive glass and steel windows to two or three sides of every room.
To reinforce the fluid connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces, they committed to the same natural color palette of neutrals and peaceful pastels for both. A thin layer of plaster over drywall inside mimics the stucco walls outside. Pale white oak, chalky limestone and neutral linens complement the natural tone of the stone walls. The garden palette, limited to shades of white, pink and lavender, reflect the colors used in the decor.
Antique elements inspired by and often collected from their travels to Belgium and France are inherent in the design and bring a sense of history to Patina Farm. Moss-covered terra-cotta roof tiles, vintage barn beams, faded antique wood doors, vintage copper pots and tattered leather books all lend to the timeless aesthetic the duo was after, ultimately creating the feeling that their home has always been there.
The classical architecture is balanced by thoughtful modern touches, such as clean white walls, screen doors that pocket into the wall, retractable window screens and a breathtaking glass wall and ceiling in the master bathroom that brings the garden inside.
Patina Farm is a fun, inspiring read. If you pick one design book to dive into this summer, you won’t go wrong making it this one.
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