Cliff Hickman Design & Construction
Santa Barbara, California (805) 308-4324
EMAIL: cliff





Second Cliff Hickman Residence
Santa Ynez Valley, California

"I have, as it were, my own sun and moon
and stars, and a little world all to myself"

Henry David Thoreau, From Walden

The location of my second home is on a hilltop overlooking Ballard Canyon, an area of wineries and cattle ranches. After purchasing this beautiful 12 acre parcel I turned my horses out on the pasture, remodeled an old barn into temporary living quarters, and began working on a design that would hug the edge of the hill (see "View from Below"). After working on the construction for two years I moved in from the barn and began work on the interior furnishings, and then torn down the barn to make room for the swimming pool.



EMAIL: cliff


Upper Floor Plan

Main Floor Plan

The relationship of the carefully organized living spaces can be seen in the floor plan above. At the center of the design is the two-story entry which acts as a hallway to "take the traffic" to the other areas of the house. The living room is two steps down from the entry level, giving it a higher ceiling and giving guests the sense of "making an entrance" into the room. The front terrace is four steps below the main level to keep it from interfering with the view.

The kitchen is separate from the living room, but is not isolated from it, thus allowing communication between the two areas. It is also adjacent to three areas were food is served: the dining room, the family room and the breakfast porch. Note, too, that the garage is adjacent to the kitchen for bringing in the groceries.

The second floor studio is open to the entry and living room below, and it has north light and its own fireplace. Also on the second floor is a guest bedroom. Directly above the studio is the "observation deck" reached by outdoor steps from the balcony.

The master suite is at the end of the house with views both to the front and back, and it opens to a terrace with a spa. The fireplace also serves as a divider between the bedroom and dressing area and bath.


Doc Severinsen on the Santa Ynez Valley

"The first time I saw the Santa Ynez Valley was back when we would come out for six weeks each year from New York to do the "Tonight Show." I heard from two friends that since I love horses, I ought to come up and see it. I just wasn't prepared for what I saw.

"When you leave Santa Barbara and come through the San Marcos Pass, you look out on that valley for the first time. It's like Shangri-la. I mean, it's just incredible. I fell in love with it. When the "Tonight Show" was ending and my wife and I were looking for a place to move, we came here. It's been just wonderful.

"There's no congestion, no pollution of any kind. There are no lights around. So you can really see the sky, and there's no noise, not a sound. Out here you've really got some peace and quiet.

"People up here are really into horses. It's not like it's just a hip thing. It's a way of life. There are old working cattle ranches that are like stepping back 50 years in time. If you want to work on a roundup, you can do that. I'm not talking about kidding around. Your have to know what you're doing.

"When we have visitors, we usually just drive them all around. Just the scenery of the place is spectacular. Santa Ynez is an old ranchers' town that still has the original buildings. It's like driving onto a movie set.

"If you're up here, the place to eat breakfast is The Long Horn Coffee Shop. If you haven't been in the Long Horn or the Maverick Saloon, which is next door, you've missed everything. It is impossible to conceive we're a little over two hours from Los Angeles. Man, it's paradise. It's simply paradise."


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