Project Grapevine Road, Oak View, California

The best thing that could be said of the house I purchased in 1983 was that it had potential. A basic post WWII ranch-style home on approximately 2.5 with a separate guesthouse, the property provided me with a lot to work with and a lot to overcome. My father said to me, "Don't worry, babe, we can get out of this deal."
That just made me want to take it on even more.

At the time, it was serving as a small nursing home. The acre or so in front of the house became a marsh during the rainy season. Great for migratory waterfowl, not so great for cars. The guest house was built by the owner to live in during the construction of the main house, and was very rustic. From 1983 to 2000, I did what I could with paint and art inside and landscaping outside to hide the house as much as possible.

In 2000, I added an art studio, about 600 square feet of new construction full of light. It became a place to be creative and enjoy views of my garden. In 2004, I began work on the main house. It started as just pushing out one wall to put in French doors. Once we saw the condition of the walls and foundation, it became a total rebuild and my signature project. We lifted the roofline, added a large fireplace and skylights in the living room, and changed the entire floor plan. Rock walls, flagstone patios, a pond with waterfall, fountains, and a bocce ball court were added outside. I also addressed the drainage issue in front to allow for a large circular driveway.

The third phase in 2004-2006 was the addition of the master suite. It was approximately 750 square feet, with walk in closet, large bath room with tiled shower and separate claw foot bath tub. We then completely rebuilt the guesthouse. It became a mini version of the main house, with lots of light, patios, and rock work. By the time I sold it in 2010, I had created a brand new Hacienda-style home with outdoor living areas and the feel of an older home. The property itself had become one large work of art.