1950s Ranch House Updated With Contemporary Style, Coastal Details

Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects turned this 1950s ranch house in Santa Barbara, Calif., into a modern stunner by adding more natural light and outdoor access. Where new appliances and custom cabinetry update the interior, tropical plants evoke the idea of a tropical oasis. 

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March 09, 2015

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Before: Outdated Exterior and Front Yard

With a faded tan exterior and unadorned lawn, this 1950s ranch house in Santa Barbara, Calif., lacked the bright, beachy-keen personality of its coastal surroundings. 

After: Tropical Villa With Lush Landscape

With a little TLC from the NMA team, this ranch home now features a beautiful coral stone exterior and a dark gray standing seam roof. Rain chains replace traditional gutters for a look that feels fresh and draws visual interest, while the front yard now boasts plenty of gorgeous greenery.

Front Yard Features Tropical Plants

Following the stone path leads to this lush landscape by Earthform Design, which includes palm trees, tropical plants and native bent grass that use 50% less water than more conventional lawns. Above, a white overhang provides relief from the afternoon sun.

Before: Dark and Confined Living Room

Though sliding glass doors connected the living room to the exterior, a lack of light overhead made this space feel dark and cramped. Walls on all sides further closed this room off from the rest of the house.

After: Contemporary and Airy Living Room

Wanting to create a more intentional, open floor plan, the architects and a local contractor removed the walls between the living room, dining room and kitchen. In turn, this once confining space now feels both airy and contemporary, with a leather sectional for lounging.

Before: Outdated Finishes, Furniture

Stucco walls and upholstered furniture gave this family room a dose of texture, but felt too outdated for modern living. A wall of windows opened the space to natural light, but cast shadows by late afternoon. 

After: Spacious Great Room With Luxe Touches

Without the walls to separate them, the dining room and living room become united for a single space that's airy and open. A gas fireplace, track light fixtures and unobstructed windows ensure that the room is bright from morning to night.

Before: Traditional, Closed-Off Kitchen

Before the renovation, the only connection from the traditional kitchen to the backyard was a small utility door. In turn, the space felt closed off, with very little counterspace to prepare meals or entertain.

After: Modern Kitchen With Indoor-Outdoor Access

To breathe new life into the space, the architects installed limestone countertops and African mahogany cabinets. The tongue-and-groove ceiling is original to the 1950s home, but given a fresh coat of white paint and lit with track lighting, while bifolding doors open to the backyard for easy entertaining.

Before: Small-Scale Back Patio

Without a direct connection to the outdoors, moving from the kitchen to the back patio once meant backtracking to the living room. Here, sliding glass doors opened to a small square of stone that lacked both shade and privacy.

After: Serene, Glass-Enclosed Courtyard

Wanting to give their client space for al fresco dining, the architects used retractable doors to open the kitchen to the backyard. Enclosed within a glass wall, the courtyard now includes a reclaimed wood table and eight chairs for hosting intimate gatherings with friends. 

Great Room Includes Subtle, Coastal Touches

Though limestone countertops and floors give the great room a polished and contemporary look, prints of waves rolling on the shore and glass-blown pendant lights nod to the home's coastal environment.

Zen Bedroom With Custom Platform Bed

The focal point of this peaceful master suite is the custom-designed platform bed, along with the floating nightstands and a wall-to-wall dresser in African mahogany. A wooden armchair sits in the corner for leisurely reading, while the rest of the space exudes modern simplicity.

Bedroom Includes Indoor-Outdoor Access

This bedroom earns a touch of the outdoors with sliding glass panels that lead to a private patio. By keeping the floors within the same shade, the two spaces easily flow into one another for a seamless transition.

Private Patio With Tropical Landscaping

Mahogany-trimmed glass doors lead the way to a quiet oasis, complete with a small outdoor table and pair of chairs. Towering palm trees and other tropical plants surround the space, providing a natural element of privacy. 

Modern Home Office With Built-In Desk

Turning off the bedroom leads into the hallway, where a makeshift offices sits directly in front of wall-to-wall windows. Here, a leather armchair pairs with a built-in desk for a chic, contemporary workspace.

Wood-Trimmed Spa Bathroom

This spa-style master bathroom brings the outdoors in with a large window and retractable doors that open to the backyard. The vanity features a square sink with a contemporary chrome faucet, neutral countertops and flat-front mahogany cabinets.

Flowing Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Because their client originally wanted an outdoor tub, the architects used retractable doors to give the owner's bathroom a similar indoor-outdoor experience. A zen garden encloses the space to ensure complete privacy.

Freestanding Tub With Waterfall Feature

This relaxing spa bathroom features a bathtub with chrome fixtures and a luxurious waterfall feature. A small glass shelf is positioned next to the tub, providing a convenient spot for bathroom essentials.

Spacious White Master Bath

This bathroom's minimalistic design relies on the juxtaposition of all-white fixtures and rich mahogany wood accents to create eye-catching contrast. Meanwhile, a cluster of pendant lights hangs over the soaking tub for additional visual interest. 

Serene Outdoor Courtyard

With beautiful mahogany-trimmed doors, the bathroom opens to a quiet courtyard area. Palm trees and other plants are integrated into the pebbled landscape for a lush look, while a fence keeps the area totally private.

Neutral Shower and Skylight

All-over neutral tiles and a shower with an opaque glass enclosure make this guest bathroom feel completely luxurious. A window within the shower and a skylight overhead fills the room with soothing natural light.

Exterior Showcases Natural Elements

Outside, a row of towering trees creates a natural wall for privacy. Stone planters with flowering succulents complements the green landscape, as well as brings symmetry and balance to the renovated ranch house.

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