Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Santa Barbara Art and Architecture

In the Heart of downtown Santa Barbara....

(photo by Gotfish@Santacruz.com from Flikr)

stands The Ablitt House...aka The Happy House...

the creation of Santa Barbara Architect Jeff Shelton, executed by Dan Upton Construction along with a merry band of local artisans and artists commissioned by owners Neil and Sue Ablitt. 

The Ablitts own Ablitts Fine Cleaners and Launderers which is located on Haley Street just west of State Street, next to a tiny 20x20' parcel which now occupies the Ablitt House surrounded by hotels, restaurants and shops. 

Upon returning from a long sabatical in Mexico where Neil and Sue lived on their 37-foot sailboat the Ablitts approached architect Jeff Shelton (known for his whimsical architecture) about developing a home on the parcel. And so the impossible task was begun.  Four years of endless negotiations with the Planning Commission and City Council finally brought approval! (my architect husband, Doug Reeves, said this was no small task to get approved!)

The result: 699 square feet of delightful living space in four stories. The ground floor houses a garage, stairs connect the upper three floors consisting of a master bedroom suite, gourmet kitchen and multi-use living room and a rooftop patio.

A 108-foot continuous black walnut handrail, created by David Moseley, follows the entire stairwell's Italian marble steps to the top. More than 10,000 custom decorative tiles are featured throughtout the house  as statement of art itself. Add to that paintings, sculpture, ironwork lampshades and even the specially built bed in the Master (and only) bedroom... all artistic creations specifically for the Ablit House.

Dr. Seus would love this house!

Interior photos and rendering from Jeff Shelton's website:  http://www.jeffsheltonarchitect.com/
Information paraphrased from a feature story by Cheryl Crabtree on the Ablitt House in the current issue of
Santa Barbara Seasons a fabulous magazine (available on newstands now) celebrating local life and culture.  http://www.sbseasons.com/
for a video tour of Ablit House visit:  http://www.youtube.com/ enter "Ablitt House"
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