Custom Carriage House
New Craftsman style apartment/media room over three car garage integrating details of the historic Dunning House
1 bed, 1 bath, media room and kitchenette
Contractor and Finish Carpentry - Brian Winans
The Dunning House is a Historical Landmark in Ventura and a prime example of a 1920s Craftsman home. The new carriage house punctuates the Dunning House site, thoughtfully integrating period correct details, materials and colors of the existing historic residence into the new structure. However, unlike the dark and somber interiors found in many original Craftsman houses, the new living space is light-filled and airy.
South-facing balconies off the living room and bedroom let in sunlight and ocean breezes; yet the broad overhangs consistent with the Dunning house afford sun protection thereby providing soft, natural ambient light. Each room in the cozy second-floor living space has windows on at least two walls, allowing sun to light the space throughout the day. In the living room, specialty cabinets accommodate vintage doors and showcase the owner’s extensive record collection. Custom-sized open shelves along three walls form a window-seat, entertainment center and large display cabinet.
The carriage house, though a new structure, was designed to look like an original part of the site. The tapered barge, exposed rafters, lookout beams, guard rails, siding and windows are all historically accurate down to the lughorns on the double-hung windows. The northwest corner of new structure nestles up to the existing Pepper Tree, suggesting that the carriage house has been a part of the property for years.
The design features classic Craftsman details and furthers the historic styling by integrating vintage pieces. The owners’ found pieces include an antique stained-glass window, cabinet doors and carriage-style garage doors. These were carefully included in the design and make the carriage house unique and more evocative of the Arts and Crafts era. The garage frontage was designed around these reclaimed vintage doors, adding charm to the south façade.
A new exterior stair integrates new technology into the site. Precast concrete stair treads withstand the coastal climate, lasting longer than traditional construction methods while preserving the traditional flavor. By thoughtfully integrating new construction methods and materials, the carriage house will persevere with less maintenance over time than original Craftsman homes.
This project was the first carriage house permitted under the Ventura Downtown Specific Plan, a form based zoning code having specific requirements for setback and floor area limitations. The owners placed their confidence in Bruce Labins Architect & Associates because of our sensitivity to historical design, attention to detail and ability to work within constraints in order to create a new-classic building to enhance a historic site.