Spare Time

MONTECITO MELLOW

It was the house in town that no one seemed to want. Not because it lacked curb appeal or was in the wrong neighborhood, but simply because it was actually hard to see, inside and out. “Everything was brown, brown, brown,” says interior designer Richard Hallberg, in speaking about the rooms of the 4-year-old spec dwelling in Montecito’s Golden Quadrangle prior to his transformation of the house for a couple interested in living there. “The rooms, the front entry area, all were very dark, with dark ceiling beams, floors that were nearly black. There was natural light all around the house, but little of it seemed to reach the inside.”

The homeowners, Beth and George Wood, longtime residents of Montecito and active in local and national philanthropic causes, had faith in Hallberg’s ability to make the house, as Beth Wood says, “more in keeping with California—light, bright, and serene, and infused with an overall peacefulness.”

Hallberg, whose practice is based mostly in Los Angeles, where he is co-founder of the Formations showroom and co-owner of the Dennis & Leen showroom, also has a weekend home in town. He understands how “off” the house was in that it didn’t take advantage of the most fundamental dynamic of life in Montecito, “where indoor–outdoor living is how you live every day.”

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INTERIOR DESIGN BY RICHARD HALLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAX KIM-BEE
WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO

This story appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of MILIEU.