Here are a few before and after photos of the visitor center at Montana de Oro State Park at Spoonerʼs Cove. We worked closely on restoration techniques, materials and decisions which best enhanced and preserved the original look and spirit of this building with Mary Golden of the Central Coast State Parks Association and Victoria Kastner who is the historian at the Hearst Castle The place was very funky and somewhat dilapidated before we started working on it; the renovation has restored the buildingʼs charm and quaint simplicity while enhancing many of its historically signiﬁcant features such as original ﬂooring, wainscotting, panelling and the fully restored “California Cooler.” Youʼll have to see all of the improvements for yourself. A visit to Montana de Oro is always time well spent and now there is even more reason to check out this historical landmark building at Spoonerʼs Cove.
The original small spiral staircase limited ease of movement and inhibited carrying items or furniture to the loft in this southwestern style ranch home in the hills of Paso Robles, California. Our solution, using steel glass and wood, is this contemporary staircase that meets the clientʼs desire for easier access to the loft without taking up to much space nor obstructing light and visibility in their central great room. The ﬂoor footprint of this stairway isnʼt much more than the original spiral stairs and it adds a new architectural center piece that adds form, function and style to this home.
Water conservation is becoming more of a priority than ever as we experience extended drought conditions, reliance on out-of-state water availability and rising costs. The best green building practices include rain water harvesting systems and we would be glad to share our expertise with you regarding water conservation and ways to optimize water collection and usage on your property. We just completed a 25,000 gallon system in San Luis Obispo County at the Bolle/Goldstein Residence pictured on our website. We designed and facilitated the installation of a this rain water collection system that is intended to be used for landscape irrigation exclusively with emergency back up capabilities.
Rain falls for free and provides more independence from the utilities grid as well as long term savings of natural resources and ﬁnancial resources. Adding a rain water harvest system makes sense whether it be a small urban residential system or a larger one like the one just discussed in a rural setting. We will design and size a system perfect for your unique application. Donʼt wait start saving water and money now. Check our website. Give us a call.
Cullen Construction Inc., completed this kitchen and bathroom remodel for the Bisheff’s in San Luis Obispo. Their house has been transformed into a home where they can grow and live the good life here in SLO. We are glad to have been a part of this process and they are glad they chose us for the project.
Greener pastures at the Merriewold Morgan horse ranch in Huasna Valley
For Diana Wold, building a state-of-the-art, sustainable equine facility and two homes in the Huasna Valley was all about being kind to Mother Earth
By Rebecca Juretic
When Diana Wold first surveyed the 300 acres in Huasna Valley that would become Merriewold Morgan horse ranch, she knew that its rugged appearance was deceiving.
“A ranch, especially with horses, can be quite hard on the land,” said Wold. “Knowing how fragile California native land is, we tried to figure out how to have the least amount of impact and still have horses.”
To realize her vision for a sustainable horse ranch, she called on Mikel Robertson of Green Goods to assemble a team of professionals who specialize in green construction. That team included architect Thomas Brajkovich of Paragon Designs and Frank Cullen of Cullen Construction.
The plan was to build seven structures: stables, a covered arena, two pole barns, a combination hay barn/shop/ groom’s quarters, a home for horse trainer and caretaker Jackie Brittain, and a home for Wold and her husband.
The team chose to place the buildings on approximately 10 acres previously occupied by barns and fields used for crops.
“That area was already disturbed and the crop area was very depleted,” said Wold. “We decided to make our impact there so the rest of the property could remain more or less native and natural.”
The first phase involved building equestrian structures that would be state-of-the-art, yet sustainable. The barn structure was built with expanded polystyrene and light-gauge steel panels manufactured by Vitruvian of Arroyo Grande. The panels last longer than wood framing, do not release toxic fumes, are recyclable, and are also highly insulating. Other eco-friendly materials for this structure include natural cork and Marmoleum flooring, recycled porcelain tile, and FSC-certified, sustainably harvested wood cabinetry fabricated by Green Goods.
Aesthetics were equally important to Wold, even in the equestrian area. According to Frank Cullen, the entrance to the stable “looks more like an art museum or well-appointed visitor center.” The 10-stall stable wraps around a grand center fountain. Handsome stonework, exposed heavy timber trusses and ornate chandelier light fixtures add to the rustic elegance of the structure.
The second phase involved building residences for the caretaker and owners. The approximately 2,000-squarefoot homes were built with FSC-certified framing lumber. They are energy-efficient with blown-in cellulose insulation made from recycled newspa- per, concrete floors with radiant heating, LED light fixtures and tankless water heaters. Passive-solar orientation makes best use of the sun year-round to keep the homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and to make the most of natural light. The structures’ metal roofs are both long-lasting and recyclable.
With the assistance of Green Goods and interior designer Michele Fanning, Wold and Brittain chose many eco-friendly materials such as no-VOC paints, recycled glass tile, reclaimed wood furniture, and Caesarstone countertops that have some recycled content.
Finding green options was a simple process, according to Wold.
“There’s so much to choose from now, it’s almost as overwhelming as shopping for regular products,” she said. “You name it, you can find it in a green version.”
Wold wanted contemporary architecture as well as a strong connection with nature. Brajkovich designed angular rooflines to echo the steepness of the surrounding hillsides. Wold chose many natural materials and a palette of earth tones. In her own home, disappearing doors slide out of sight, connecting living areas with the pa tio. A palm tree set into the center of the living room has thrived, reaching its leaves up as far as the second story breezeway.
“It has become the focal point of the whole house,” she said.
Wold chose a modern approach for her home, while Brittain steered more toward traditional. Still, both are streamlined and contemporary. “We wanted everything very clean, very minimal with not a lot of furnishings, not a lot of places for knick-knacks,” she said.
Since construction wrapped up last March, the ranch continues to op erate in a sustainable manner. Wold and her husband decided to stop irrigating their pastures to conserve water. A graywater system reuses water from the stable offices, feed room and bathrooms to irrigate the droughttolerant landscaping.
A rainwater catchment system feeds a seasonal pond used by migratory birds and wildlife. The horses rest easy on mats filled with shreds of recycled rubber topped with a small amount of pine shavings — a cleaner and less wasteful alternative to straw.
Wold acknowledges that green options sometimes come with a higher price tag. Budget constraints did not allow Wold to accomplish her entire wish list of green features. For instance, she opted to forgo a solar electric system. Also, she did not extend the graywater system to the residences.
Still, she feels she has achieved her goal of caring for the land as much as she cares for her horses.
“We are just in love with the house, the property, the valley, the whole area,” she said. “It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. We couldn’t fathom doing anything that would leave a bad mark on the land.”
Roofing details are in and finish carpentry is proceeding.
We’re moving forward; its looking more like a construction site. Demolition is complete; electrical and plumbing has begun.
A nice article just came out in the new SLO Life Magazine featuring the Cullen Home project in San Luis Obispo. The article is great but unfortunately only the text appears on the SLO Life website and not the pictures, unless you subscribe. Look for the Cullen Home in the Way We Live section of the magazine. www.slolifemagazine.com. (But I scanned the article so you can see the pictures.)
We are just starting a new job in SLO remodeling a historical home not far from downtown. Here are some “before” pictures of the building and I’ll keep you posted as the job proceeds.
The living and dining room are in great shape; we will not do anything in these vintage craftsmen style rooms except repaint wall and ceiling surfaces.