The Hamilton Co. is a fan of Santa-Barbara based Young Construction run by brothers Bob and David Young. Natives of the area, they’ve built a reputation where their passion for their hometown shows through as well as their personal involvement in making sure every home seamlessly fits into its environment. Although the firm’s talents aren’t confined to one style, our biggest admiration lies in the custom Modern homes they’ve helped construct over the past decade, including one of our all time favorites- The Padaro Lane House.
We spoke with Bob Young about Modern design and life in Santa Barbara.
HAMILTON: We are really in awe of your work in Modern Homes. Where are these people coming from who are looking for Modern architecture in a region where Spanish Colonial has always been the signature cornerstone?
YOUNG: Our clients come from all over the country. Santa Barbara, as you know, is a very attractive place to live. It appears to me that Modern Architecture is becoming more mainstream as a hip style that more people are identifying with. People love the design but also key things like Modernism’s large expanses of glass that allow for more transparency in accessing the incredible views we have throughout the area. I think another attraction to Modern design is that it lends itself well to a sustainable lifestyle. For instance, it’s a lot easier to incorporate a photovoltaic system into a modern design than something perhaps more traditional in style. And, I think people involved with modern design may find it more exciting, creative and “one of a kind”.
HAMILTON: Are there any specific considerations that are in line with merging Modern Design into the Santa Barbara and Montecito environment and/or aesthete?
YOUNG: I wouldn’t say there are any specific considerations or limitations with Modern Design that don’t also apply to more traditional styles. I think with all projects, you need to respect the land and site development and always have an eye towards a flawless execution regardless of style.
HAMILTON: What do you love most about living here?
YOUNG: That list would be long and diverse. In a nutshell, the opportunities available to us to recreate and be involved with some of the best architecture in the world is huge. My wife and I travel quite a bit and have seen a lot of beauty around the world, but when we return to Santa Barbara, we remember how fortunate we are.
HAMILTON: What inspired you to get involved with Modern Architecture?
YOUNG: In my first year of college I began taking architectural classes thinking this would become my profession. It wasn’t, but during my 2nd semester I went to work for the summer for a well-known Palos Verdes builder named Bob Halderman. During a 6-year period working for Bob, I had the opportunity to help construct several Modern all wood homes. Bob’s attention and appreciation to detail and quality was ingrained in me and excites me to this day. Then, in 1979 I met architect Mark Kirkhart, whose style and modern vision was an inspiration. Mark and I are friends to this day and have built many projects together over the year sharing our love of good design and architecture. Since our early days here is SB, my brother David and I have developed many wonderful friends and business relationships. I like to think, through hard work and dedication to our clients, we’ve had many opportunities to be part of some of the areas best projects.
HAMILTON: Who in the Modern Architecture field are you most inspired by?
I am very impressed with some of the early work of The Morphosis Group. Thom Mayne, one of the companies founders was involved with a “very edgy” project for it’s time in the Las Entradas area sometime back in the ‘80s. And who in the modern world didn’t like Frank Geary’s early work in Santa Monica? Not to mention Bilbao and his other signature projects. I love Tom Kundig’s (Olson-Kundig) work. We recently completed a project with them at the top of Toro Canyon. As for Santa Barbara architects with a flare for the modern – DesignARC, Shubin-Donaldson, Ferguson-Ettinger & Andy Neumann come to mind.
HAMILTON: What do you consider something signature that you bring to the table when involved in these types of projects?
I think there’s a misconception that modern architecture is easy to build. Simple right? Just a bunch of boxes… The reality is quite the contrary. Good modern work takes lots of planning and a good vision towards the finished project from the very early stages. Regardless of style, we’re very proactive in the process and feel the best projects result from a collaborative team effort. I’ve always said the materials used in a project cost the same no matter who builds it, why not work with those who really understand the design and will look for every opportunity to make it better.
HAMILTON: What are your favorite places to eat/play/shop/visit in Santa Barbara and Montecito?
YOUNG: One of my favorite spots to eat is at home. We have a couple acres on a creek with an outdoor dining area under a 200-year-old oak. I always enjoy a meal with friends at Lucky’s in Montecito. Other than for architectural features, I really don’t like to shop, most of my shopping for clothes etc. is online these days. I spend a lot of time with friends and family at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. My bro Dave and I have been racing boats for 20 + years.
HAMILTON: It’s nice to see you Young brothers continue to reinvest in the community you’ve known as home! We look forward to see what project you will tackle next. Cheers Bob!
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