The Weekenders

Posted online: January 2018

Art, architecture, and entertaining collide at this Cliff May getaway

When Jules Allen and Richard Goldstein moved to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles 12 years ago, they knew right away they needed to find their new Palm Springs. The desert hideaway had been their weekend mainstay for sunshine and midcentury architecture, and the couple was eager to find their next retreat. After long searches between Ojai and wine country, these self-described “non-horse people” found their haven in the Santa Ynez Valley within a 1968 Cliff May stunner that screamed “weekend.” “It’s the perfect house in the middle of nowhere,” says Allen. The 5,000-square-foot abode is perched above rolling hills and old oak trees, giving them privacy and 360-degree scenic views from their deck. In places, the home retained original details such as the fireplace and the grape stake ceilings—a signature of the architect, known as the father of the California ranch home. Every decision the couple made moving forward played off what fit with the architecture. For instance, when bringing in a modern sound system to amp up music for parties, everything current looked stark against the white walls and grape stakes until Goldstein found a solution by covering the speakers inside white salad bowls from Macy’s, which blend into the iconic ceiling.

“We tried to keep the essence—the best of Cliff May—and make it modern without taking away any Cliff May,” says Allen. Since both of them are creatives—she’s a clothing designer and cofounder of Tribute Project, which makes custom lyrical jackets, and he’s a film producer—they sourced every finish and fixture themselves, with Goldstein taking the architect’s seat. The goal was to build off anything original and improve what wasn’t, such as bulky cabinetry, bad tile, and carpets—with flooring being the biggest headache and hurdle. “When we bought the house, there were these tile floors that were covering original Saltillo tiles that were used when the house was built. There was no way to restore those original floors, so we found this wide-planked, raw, white-oak wood flooring and went for that throughout the entire house. We think that they turned out amazing and hopefully, Cliff May would appreciate them!” Goldstein says.

The master bathroom was streamlined with shelving that gives the illusion of being integrated, however several former built-ins in the main areas were removed to make way for a gallery space. As members of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, they have a strong private collection and recently helped kick off MCA’s new Architecture & Design Council—an exclusive membership that features forward-thinking artist lectures and private dinners—everything the couple loves. Freddy Janka, MCA’s director of development, worked alongside Allen to plan a behind-the-scenes architecture tour and reception at their home, and a small group gathered for dinner poolside. True to their entertaining style, Allen pulled the dining table outside and used everything she and her husband have collected house to house—from glassware to dishes. The cool cross breeze mixed with the eclectic decor creates a transporting quality that Allen says keeps her guests dancing until the wee hours.

To really give the home a vacation feel, the couple refurbished the entire backyard, knowing this would be the place maxed out by late-night dancers, weekend guests, and their kids. They reinforced the shape of the pool and extended the back deck using dark ipe wood as a contrast against all the white. They added thoughtful dryscape and more grape stake beams overhead to create that seamless interior/exterior feel that Cliff May would also approve of. 

“Since the whole house has that indoor/outdoor feel and the views are so incredible, we thought that the pool should lend a resort vibe,” says Goldstein. “We just wanted the whole house to feel like a place you’d want to come and hang out at and never feel like leaving. Like any great resort.”

Tagged in: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment