Take a 1950s-era single-family home, add an architect known for eye-popping design, and throw in the nearly perfect weather found in Santa Barbara, California, and you get Glendessary Lane, a magnificent renovation that makes the most of large glass and year-round indoor-outdoor living.

The 2,300-square-foot home has four huge moving walls of glass that connect the interior of the open floor plan with a serene yard accented with water and fire elements.

“In designing the home, I was looking for a modest and respectful impact to the land, with an emphasis on intuitive functionality and aesthetic clarity,” says Johnny Hirsch, principal at architecture firm Place.

Hirsch succeeded, giving his clients, who chose Santa Barbara as their retirement destination, a modest but tastefully designed modern home. It all starts with the master bedroom, a room notable for the far wall, which is made up entirely of a giant Series 9500 Bi-Fold Door that opens to a partially covered boardwalk-style walkway running the length of the house and the backyard beyond it. When the door is opened, the residents get an obstructed view of the yard and copious amounts of fresh air.

In what Hirsch calls the more “public” section of the home the kitchen, dining, living, and family rooms are flanked on either end by huge Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors, providing a powerful connection to the land.

“The family room is a potent space, in that it incorporates the flexibility to be the most intimate and quiet space while also opening up to the community beyond,” he says. That room, with its high vaulted ceiling, natural wood floors, and a built-in fireplace, features both a multi-slide on one side and a Series 600 Sliding Glass Door on a perpendicular wall. With both doors open, the room becomes a virtual outdoor living space bathed in natural light and fresh air.

Meanwhile, the multi-slide in the kitchen opens up to a covered patio with a visually impressive vaulted roof, giving residents a seamless connection to the outdoors whether they are cooking or dining al fresco. And on the perpendicular wall, a large Series 600 Multi-Slide Window is positioned over the sink and kitchen counter, framing expansive views of the side yard to those working in the kitchen or sitting at an island that serves both as dining table and extra counter space.

“In any project of consequence, there must be a collaboration of client, builder, and designer,” Hirsch says. “This project serves a benchmark in my practice of the embodiment of this concept. While not being a particularly large house, the siting, scale and proportions, materials, details, and craftsmanship are paramount.”

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The kitchen benefits from a multi-slide door and a large operable window that let fresh Santa Barbara breezes course through the space.

The family room can be either intimate and quiet or it can open up to world beyond its doors.

This giant bi-fold door opens up to a covered boardwalk-style walkway and the backyard.

A hinged door allows further access to the backyard.

Immersive indoor-outdoor living in Santa Barbara

  • Johnny Hirsch