At first glance, you might not call this estate in Montecito a contemporary. The innovative design takes many of its cues from adobe or Pueblo Revival architecture.
But here, the stucco walls have clean, crisp corners rather than rounded edges. Overhangs replace exposed beams on the exterior. The trapezoid is the predominant structure shape, not the rectangle or square.
The end result is modern, as opposed to rustic.
Set against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the compound was built in 1999 as the personal residence of architect Steve Berman, known for his residential work in the wealthy enclaves of Santa Barbara County and for his Mayan contemporary designs.
The 58-acre site takes in views of the ocean, the curving coastline and the Channel Islands as well as the harbor, Montecito Village and nearby polo fields.
The estate is made up of multiple structures totaling about 12,000 square feet. The terraced landscape of coast live oaks, avocado trees, bougainvillea and wild grasses blends into the natural terrain.
At the heart of the grounds is the nearly 5,600-square-foot main house, with high ceilings, clerestory windows and multiple fireplaces. Exposed Alderwood warms the beamed ceiling in the living room. Windows frame the views from every room. Many of the living spaces open to an expanse of patio.
The sky-lighted kitchen features granite countertops, a butler’s pantry and three refrigerators. There’s both an eat-in nook and a formal dining room.
The mostly single-story home includes five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a powder room.
The detached guest house contains an office, a bedroom and a bathroom in about 1,200 square feet. Slightly larger is the free-standing gym, with an outdoor shower and another half-bath.
The compound holds two surprises. The first is a 1,700-square-foot detached library. The second is a separate meditation room of about 500 square feet with a powder room.
The library includes a circular reading room with a fireplace, an office and an en-suite bedroom. The meditation room, with a wood-burning fireplace, could serve as a studio.
Boulders surround the free-form swimming pool. The tennis court can be adapted for pickleball.