Home & Garden

Building a ranch home fit for a Kentucky horse farm — in Nipomo

Alli and Tyler Addison’s Kentucky-inspired home sits on land that was part of the Rancho Nipomo land grant.
Alli and Tyler Addison’s Kentucky-inspired home sits on land that was part of the Rancho Nipomo land grant.

Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series showcasing the homes of local interior designers.

The Nipomo home of Alli and Tyler Addison is just five years old, but its connections to the past run deep.

Alli Addison, an interior designer and owner of Alli Addison Branding & Design, is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Captain William Goodwin Dana, builder of the historic Dana Adobe and recipient of a 38,000-acre land grant known as Rancho Nipomo.

Although most of the original land grant was sold off over the years, members of the Dana family still live on a small, remaining portion. When the Addisons decided it was time to build a home of their own, there was little question as to where it would be located. They chose a spot at the base of a hill where Alli Addison’s childhood home sits.

Although she and Tyler have deep reverence for the property’s history, they didn’t feel tied to the Spanish and Mediterranean architecture that is prevalent in the area. “I wanted something out of the box,” said Addison.

So they looked to a different facet of their history. Part of Addison’s family hails from Kentucky, and she spent a great deal of time there in her youth. Both she and her husband are avid equestrians. So they designed and built their own 4,500-square-foot, single-level home that Addison said looks as if it “could be on a Kentucky horse farm.”

Equestrian details include classic cross buck detailing on doors, z-style shutters and a silver-toned metal roof that, when it rains, “sounds amazing,” said Addison. The home’s cupola evokes horse ranches and also the original Dana Adobe, which also features a cupola.

Addison calls the house “classic and collected.” Classic refers to traditional lines and materials. Thick nine-inch baseboards, crown molding and raised panel doors create a timeless foundation.

In the kitchen, she chose white cabinetry, dark granite countertops, white glossy subway tile and polished nickel fixtures. Classic Carrera and Calacatta marble make an appearance both in the kitchen and in bathrooms.

The “collected” part refers to the many pieces donated from relatives. When the couple moved into their current home, they came from a small, 1,200-square-foot home and had little furniture. “We saved every penny we had to build our dream home,” she said.

Those hand-me-downs sport clean lines and classic designs that work well in the space. Plus, their history enhances the home’s connection to the past.

The couple’s dining room table belonged to Addison’s grandparents and is “the same table my dad sat at as a little boy,” she said. An old saddle that belonged to Addison’s parents sits on a folk art horse in the entryway. Throughout the house are several pieces of art by famed equestrian portrait painter Milton Menasco, who happens to be Addison’s great uncle.

The couple has picked up other items — both new and vintage — gradually, over time, as is Addison’s preference. An old American flag purchased from an antique store in Los Alamos has become part of the family’s collection of Americana. Lighting comes from diverse sources, some with a modern-industrial bent including a bold chandelier in the entry by Ralph Lauren, and kitchen pendants from Restoration Hardware.

Colors for the house stay within a classic palette of gray, white, black and brown. Indoors, navy blue provides an accent hue that Addison calls “classic and tailored.” She had the ceiling painted in a soft pink that casts a subtle glow over the space.

The exterior is gray with light gray trim. Originally, Addison wanted a higher-contrast palette of black and white, but “we live on a ranch — and it’s dusty,” she said. The couple opted for a lower-maintenance combination, saving the black and white for doors.

Naturally, Tyler, a landscape contractor, had reign over the home’s exterior. He opted for a fairly classic plant palette that is a mixture of structural hedges, bright iceberg roses and plants such as magnolias, lavender and dwarf lemon trees.

His company, Addison Landscape, specializes in hardscape. So he ordered custom pavers from Belgard and set them in a classic herringbone pattern on the driveway and patio areas, which “really sets the tone for the entire property,” said Alli Addison.

In the courtyard, Tyler created an outdoor living area that includes a kitchen that features reclaimed barn wood cabinets and custom cast concrete counters.

The couple has passed down their love of all things equestrian to their children; both their 2 and 4 year olds are already riding horses competitively.

The house has become a way for the Addisons to share their heritage and history with their children, family and friends. “It is an extraordinary feeling to raise my own children on land that their ancestors were raised on,” she said.

The history of the land may be set in stone, but Addison believes that style is fluid, and always should be open to change.

“It takes a lifetime to make a home,” she said, “and I believe it takes a lifestyle to develop your own personal style, for it is always evolving.”

Design tips

KEEP IT CLASSIC: When working within a theme, stick to classic materials that make the home feel timeless, rather than contrived. In the Addison home, they set their equestrian theme against a backdrop of traditional elements such as crown molding, marble and a classic color palette.

GO NAVY: Navy blue is a hue that transcends trends and seasons. When paired with neutrals like white or gray, it is crisp and tailored. Navy also makes layering patterns easy, as long as you stay within the same color family.

HANG ON TO HEIRLOOMS: Go ahead and accept that hand-me-down furniture, especially if it is well-built and has classic lines. Try swapping out chair upholstery, adding a new coat of paint, or combining heirloom pieces with new, more contemporary accessories for a fresh look.