Their Place in the Sun

Posted online: June 2013

Channon and Bianca Roe seek the heat and a tranquil transition to a quiet lane in Ojai

By GINA TOLLESON  Photographs by NANCY NEIL

Bianca relaxes in a vintage caftan and Les Bohemiennes necklaces.

The 19th century American harvest table in the dining room is anchored by ’70s Italian leather and chrome chairs.

Over the hill and away we go…. That is how most of us feel when we make the hop, skip, and jump to Ojai, our backyard neighbor that radiates with sun (sometimes up to 10 degrees or more warmer), spas, sustainable savoir faire, solace, and a spiritual journey or two. Channon and Bianca Roe—an effortlessly hip pair from Corona Del Mar and Melbourne, Australia, respectively—have made the pilgrimage from the strolling streets of Silverlake to a more removed respite in the Ojai Valley. Channon, an actor and interior designer (channonroe.com), has been coming to the area for 20 years—as a fan of Krishnamurti and for a quick jaunt after surfing C Street and Rincon—and introduced Bianca, a model turned actress, to one of the oldest towns in Ventura County as their “go-to getaway from ‘the business’ and a place to rejuvenate,” says Bianca.

Romantic weekends turned into a house-hunting wish list of land for tepees, an airstream, and maybe a custom prefab when the now newlyweds (who married at Los Angeles’s Schindler House with a black-tie/shoes optional, pizza/champagne ceremony and reception) found a neglected and abandoned mid-century-feel ranch house on a modest lane. “The house was in pretty bad shape when we got it,” remembers Bianca, “but we were able to salvage many of the original features such as doors, cabinets, hardwood floors, and the 1962 chrome Westinghouse oven, which still works like a dream!”

Channon, who has been designing eclectic and earthy interiors for years.

In the master bedroom, Matteo linens and a goat hair throw/rug flock the platform bed with Frank Gehry-designed bedside lamps.

Collected curios, books, and photography intermix the couple’s travels and tastes.

The open floor plan and flow throughout the single-level home—along with some wonderful indoor/outdoor living spaces—gave Channon and Bianca the empty slate for their blended bohemian tastes. As Channon likes to say, “The house has a story waiting to be told and we both work to find our voice and place within it. Our differences in design bring some richness to the place—it’s compromising in its greatest aspect.” Bianca’s eye is drawn to the use of negative space and less clutter, and Channon’s design sensibilities are earthy, eclectic, and inspired by ’70s and ’80s music, surfing, and cinema, however they both synchronize on the old meeting the new with a vintage find paired with a contemporary piece or mixed treasures and architecture they have collected on their travels. “The laid-back, California bohemian lifestyle of my childhood really comes into my more personal work,” says Channon. “That level of creative freedom, artistry, and design of that period has really stayed with me and is a quality that I come back to again and again in my interiors.”

The choice to make the leap to Ojai had a lot to do with having their first child, Marlon, now 18 months old, and “needing to be closer to the ocean and nature,” says Bianca. “We wanted to make sure those elements are a part of our son’s daily life.” Channon, now moving into directing after 20 years as an actor—and delving into more design—also wanted “to create an environment where we can nurture those stories that are important for us to tell as artists,” he says. “We both feel that being away from the city and having this place will benefit this transitional period in our professional lives.” That’s where the renovation of a 1976 Airstream trailer to use as an office and an additional guest house comes into play, so when Channon is on location on longer film schedules, he can also use it as a home away from home.

Idyllic family weekends are spent at the farmers market stocking up on local produce and welcoming a carful of friends arriving with their kids and dogs, spending hours in the kitchen working from the latest new cookbook (Alice Waters is a fave), and always with great music, conversation, and laughter. “We have a rule: No guests are allowed to clean up, that’s for the morning after,” says Bianca. “Our evenings are a time to get creative and inspired, share our thoughts and ideas with each other all the while smiling at how
lucky we are.”

Channon and Bianca savor this outdoor space off the master bedroom for quiet times with Marlon.

“The house has a story waiting to be told, and we both work to find our voice and place within it.” —Channon Roe

 

[Read more in our Summer issue, on newsstands soon!]

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