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****   Merit Award   ****
French Ranch
(# 611)
Category:
Images Description Credits
The Owner, a Hollywood producer, was fanatical in his desire for an authentic Spanish Colonial Revival Hacienda.  He purchased the 200-acre Spanish Land Grant ranch from the estate of Col. French, a Rough Rider with Theodore Roosevelt, making him the land's second owner.  Shortly after he purchased the property, a fire burned the original house.  The Owner, wanting to preserve as much of the original ranch as possible, chose to rebuild on the original footprint, albeit with much greater square footage.  In his words, the Owner, hoped to "create a design that would help inspire a rebirth of the authentic Spanish Colonial Revival.”  The area is naturally prone to wild fires, so mitigating the danger of fire as much as possible was a major concern in the design.

The Owner’s extensive knowledge of the Style and the intensity of his participation lead to a project with an extraordinary level of detail.  The Owner’s exceptionalism included making sure the rooms were sized so accurately that "not a single tile had to be cut".  The Owner was involved in every aspect of the design, and although he retained final say on all design decisions, he consulted with everyone he considered an expert on the Style so that the final product was the result of an extremely intense and collaborative process.

The program called for a residence almost five times the original structure, challenging the architect in terms of mass, scale, authenticity and charm.

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