Local couple’s home featured in Elle Decor Magazine
As set designers for movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Pulp Fiction” and “La La Land,” for which they won an Oscar, David and Sandy Kennedy-Wasco are used to working behind the scenes.
Until they were featured in the April issue of Elle Decor Magazine when their mid-century modern house on the Riviera in Santa Barbara was the subject of a several page spread by Barbara Lamprecht.
Among her descriptions of the home, which the couple bought in 2011, are the following:
“The 2,000-square-foot Winter House, as it is called, occupies the apex of a hairpin turn above the overgrown historic botanic gardens known as Franceschi Park. The triangular site, nearly an acre, is anchored by rambling stone walls, terraces, plants and three mighty trees: a California redwood, a coast live oak and a Chinese elm. From the outside, the house is rather nondescript: an elongated stucco box whose low-sloped, side-gabled roof, deep overhangs, and exposed wooden rafters recall the strategies of Japanese architecture, Greene and Greene, or Cliff May.
“But inside, the vibe is a sure-footed synthesis of complexity and clarity, resulting in lighthearted spaces built of mid century-modern’s classic palette of materials: redwood, Douglas fir, thin concrete block, glass and steel, materials flowing inside to out. Wherever possible, the duo preserved patina rather than replacing it.”
“Sandy and I are architectural buffs, so we’re thrilled to own this wonderful home,” said Mr. Wasco during a phone interview with his wife from their other home in Los Angeles.
“We have a special passion for Los Angeles and California in general. We devour books on the history of Los Angeles. We feel our work is also about preserving Los Angeles, so that 50 or 100 years from now, people can see what the city looked like.”
“We’re always looking for interesting architectural elements, and we’re fascinated by movies like ‘Chinatown’ and ‘L.A. Confidential,’ where the city itself is a character,” said Ms. Kennedy-Wasco. “We are architects for movies. That’s what our job is.”
A love for architecture is in their DNA, they agreed. Mr. Wasco’s father, Lon Wasco, was an architect.
“I tried to follow in his footsteps, but I wasn’t accepted at Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York City,” said the native of Shaftsbury, Vt.
His wife grew up in Concord, Mass., and earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
“We’re both from New England, which has a different style of architecture from California, but we fell in love with it when we moved to Los Angeles in 1981. We spent weekends looking at different parts of California to live,” he said.
In 1986, the couple were decorators at an exhibit called “Blueprints for Modern Living, the History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown L.A.
Asked what it is about mid-century modern architecture that has a special appeal for them, the couple said they were both born in 1954.
“Southern California is Ground Zero for mid-century modern homes because so many were built after World War II when there was a big push to build affordable houses for returning veterans,” said Ms. Kennedy-Wasco. “Because of its climate, California was a testing ground for homes with big walls of glass and flat roofs.”
The couple said it took more than two years to restore their Santa Barbara home that was designed by local architect Robert Ingle Hoyt and built in 1956 for Mrs. Millicent S. Winter, which is why it is referred to as the Winter House in the Elle Decor article.
“We discovered that Mrs. Winter wanted the prominent architect, Cliff May, to design the house, but he wasn’t available so she asked Mr. Hoyt to design it in Mr. May’s style,” said Mr. Wasco. “So we have a hybrid Hoyt-May house.”
The couple said they were especially fortunate to find that the house hadn’t been altered since it was built.
“It was completely intact. What we did was a restoration to what it was in 1956,” said Mr. Wasco.