Manny and Nancy Silva believe that comfort is something that can be felt — and even touched. Their Nipomo home features rugged textures and rustic finishes that suit its Spanish/California Ranch style architecture, as well as every style they’ve ever chosen for its interior.
The custom home they built with general contractor Michael Diani of Santa Maria in 1996 is modern in many ways. It has a floorplan so open that “you can stand at one end and see all the way to the other end,” Nancy Silva said. The kitchen is large and features modern, stainless steel appliances.
But when it comes to finish materials, the couple prefers a “warm rustic look,” she said. Rustic materials bring an informal, inviting ambience to the otherwise contemporary home.
They chose weathered materials like sandblasted knotty pine for cabinets, floors made of distressed oak with visible nail heads and a fireplace built with rugged river rock. They chose granite for the kitchen countertops that has dramatic veining and movement. “I like how texture adds character and depth — it’s much more interesting than smooth, plain surfaces,” Silva said.
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Walls are an understated yet warm beige, amplifying light in the space. Like their choice of classic materials, the neutral hue allows the couple plenty of room to exercise their eclectic tastes in décor.
For the most part, their furniture combines antiques with clean-lined mission-style pieces. From there, they riff on a variety of themes. Previously, their great room highlighted a collection of religious iconography. Then Manny took up hunting and those items gave way to animal mounts, which give their great room a hunting lodge feel.
Other collections have their own places of honor. One display area showcases a collection of Mexican plates. Another features crystals collected on the couple’s travels. Silva isn’t afraid to throw in elements of the unexpected. For instance, on an antique table, she displays three ornate antique candelabra that once belonged to a church.
Not surprisingly, the art that the couple chooses is often textural and dimensional. Silva’s favorite is a tactile painting of sunflowers by Helen Petri, her daughter’s mother-in-law.
The couple frequently hosts friends and family, so they recently decided to expand their outdoor living spaces. Addison Landscape of Arroyo Grande was hired to overhaul landscaping to include a new pool and extensive patio area.
The pool area has a modern feel, yet the Silvas wanted it to complement their Spanish architecture. Addison Landscape built fire features with stucco to match the house, with the hearth sheathed in a warm terra-cotta tone. Fire crystals in an arresting shade of blue were chosen to match the color of the pool. Hardscape around the house is a combination of stamped concrete and terra-cotta tile.
The plant palette is Spanish-Mediterranean and is water-wise yet lush, giving the yard a resort feel. Plants include queen palm trees, agave, Mexican sage, dwarf butterfly bush, daylilies and succulents in pots. Artificial turf “truly pops against the cream stucco of the house,” said Addison Landscape owner Tyler Addison. Planter beds bordering the turf area soften and add a natural feel to the lawn.
The landscaping won two first place awards in the large residential projects category from the California Landscape Contractors Association — one for the backyard and one for the front yard.
Hardly a day goes by now when family members or friends aren’t enjoying the lodge ambience of the house, or the resort feel of the Silvas’ new backyard. “I love my house and everything in it,” Silva said, “and that includes all the people who get to enjoy it.”
Home and landscape tips
GO FAUX: Higher-end artificial turf is more realistic than ever and can be much more attractive than a brown patch of grass. For a more natural look, go with smaller areas and curving, organic shapes, rather than a stark rectangle. Planter beds as a border add to the organic look.
CONTAINER: A mass grouping of pots makes an impact on a patio or in an entryway. You can vary the size and shape, but keep them in the same general color for a cohesive look.
WARM AND BRIGHT: A warm yet muted color for walls — such as the Silvas’ beige — amplifies light, highlights handsome woodwork, and complements a variety of different styles of furniture and décor.