870 Paseo Ferrelo Road
Designation Status: Structure of Merit
Assessor Parcel Number: 029-272-004
The structure at 870 Paseo Ferrelo is a one-story, L-shaped Spanish Colonial Revival Style house set on a raised sandstone block foundation. Terra cotta tiles cover the low-pitched roof and the top of an expressive stucco chimney stationed to the right corner of the roof. The front facing elevation follows a stair step pattern, with the planar surfaces and roofline receding as the eye travels from left to right, in effect, creating an emphasis on the terra cotta lined cornices, the expressive eaves supported by exposed rafter tails, and the recessed entry way. Smooth, whitewashed, stucco coat the exterior walls and sandstone cobble forms a baseboard. Fenestration includes moderately recessed triptych windows composed of a fixed single-pane center flanked by casement windows divided by horizontal mullions, paired casement windows divided into three lights by horizontal mullions, and a wooden door sheltered by an extension of the roof, supported by a single wood post. Fixed iron lamps flanking the center triptych window create additional ornamentation.
In the front of the house, a sandstone wall runs to the left, to the right, a sandstone cobbled garage with a flat roof serving as a terrace can be accessed via a set of sandstone steps found between the wall and garage. The steps also provide access to the front entry of the house.
According to the 2010 Lower Riviera Survey: "The terrace features a cast-stone balustrade that extends around the south, west and east sides. From the terrace a set of steps lead up to the front door located near the mid-point of the house’s south elevation. The entrance stairs are lined with a cast-stone balustrade. The south elevation has three step backs. The rear of the house features a projecting wing covered by a gable roof which houses a garage accessed via a driveway that opens onto Ferrelo Road."
Architect: Alex D’Alfonso
Architectural Style: Spanish Colonial Revival
Property Type: Single Family Residence
Original Use: Single-family residence
The building qualifies to be designated a Structure of Merit under the following criteria provided by the Municipal Code, Section 22.22.040:
Criterion A. Its character, interest or value as a significant part of the heritage of the City, the State or the Nation:
The minimally altered 1937 Spanish Colonial Revival style building is important to the heritage of Santa Barbara as the details that are found on the building constitute a resource valuable for its ability to exemplify methods of construction, craftsmanship, attention to detail and artistry reflective of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building illustrates social and aesthetic movements that conveys a sense of place and time.
Criterion D: Its exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City, the State, or the Nation: It is an example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style which emphasize the interplay of cubic volumes, patios, pergolas, and verandas; each interpreted and redefined by local architects or regions in their own oeuvre of the form, massing, and decorative treatments. In Santa Barbara, examples of Spanish Colonial Revival style can be found throughout the City as one of its most defining styles of architecture. There are many c. 1920-1930s small, single-family, Spanish Colonial Revival style homes throughout the City. This building is an example of a small, residential interpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, which became an important part of Santa Barbara’s heritage in the 1920s, when the City deliberately transformed its architecture and look from an ordinary western style town into a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival/Mediterranean style city. This transformation was the result of the planning vision of a number of Santa Barbara citizens in the early 1920s with the founding of the Santa Barbara Community Arts Association, which urged that the town identify its individual character and then use planning principles to develop it. As an original building designed in the style important to the identity of Santa Barbara, the building qualifies under criterion D. Furthermore, because the house is set on a narrow parcel it employs the type of compact plan often found on houses built in the Lower Riviera Neighborhood during this period.
The house employs the following character-defining elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival style:
• Emphasis on expansive planer wall surfaces
• Roofs covered in terra cotta tiles with emphasis on the terra cotta tile edge that creates a decorative edge from the roof to the wall.
• Simple detail of brackets under the eaves
The front portico is recessed in the wall opening with steps and a balustrade leading to the small portico.
The wood entry doors with speakeasy window is slightly recessed in the wall plane with a stucco return and no trim.
The windows are slightly recessed and generally fixed flanked by casement windows with lights divided by horizontal mullions. Windows recess at the wall plane with a stucco return with no trim.
The stucco chimneys is a tower-like elements with terra cotta tiles that is both practical and ornamental.
Criterion F. Its identification as the creation, design or work of a person or persons whose effort has significantly influenced the heritage of the City, the State or the Nation
The building was designed by Alex D’Alfonso, one of Santa Barbara’s noted designers and contractors. Best known for his residential work, D’Alfonso also designed a number of commercial buildings in Santa Barbara. The dairy building as well as the garage behind it on Philinda Avenue were designed by Alex D’Alfonso, whose design and contracting firm was active from 1921 to 1978.
Born in L’Aquila, Italy, D’Alfonso moved to Santa Barbara in 1915 and began work as a carpenter at the Flying A Studios. In 1921, he began designing and building houses; he drew up the plans, generally in the Mediterranean style, and maintained his own crew of plasterers, painters, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. In 1946 at the end of World War II, D’Alfonso was joined by his son Daniel. The firm bought a tract of land on the lower Riviera above Ortega and De La Guerra Streets and built over thirty houses in the Mediterranean style, laying out the roads and building the sandstone retaining walls. This development, along Diana Lane and Diana Road, remains intact and serves as an excellent example of house siting and design.
D’Alfonso is noted for his design efforts that significantly influenced the heritage of the City. He is recognized for several well-known public buildings and residences in Santa Barbara. D’Alfonso also designed several commercial buildings. In 1926, he designed the Sanchez building, at 301 East Haley Street, in the Mission Revival style, with two towers and arched windows. It was a dominant corner building.
In 1949, D’Alfonso built a mixed-use building at 631-635 N. Milpas Street, at the corner of Bond Avenue and Milpas Street, housing four commercial storefronts and a second-floor office for his contracting firm. Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, its notable features are the tile work on the bulkheads, entry surround, and stair risers, as well as the roof cresting and balcony railings modeled on a 1940s geometric pattern. (Preservation Planning Associates 1998) He also designed the Live Oak Dairy that is a designated City Landmark in the Streamline Moderne style.
Historic Integrity: The building retains most of its original features, it appears that the windows are not original, however match the original in configuration sothat it has high historic integrity of location, feeling, setting, design, and association. The building can still convey its c. 1937 original appearance.
Works Cited: The building was found eligible to be designated as a Structure of Merit as part of the Lower Riviera Survey.
1937-40: Mr. & Mrs. J. L. Elliot, owner
1940: P, L. Nicoletti
1950: M. J. Cassese
1955:-65 Vincent L. Nicoletti