By Rebekah Altman
It may be Santa Barbara’s best-recognized architectural style, but Spanish Colonial is only one of some 30 styles that can be seen on any stroll or drive around the downtown area. Ask Anthony Grumbine of Harrison Design Associates—for the past two years, he has worked on a guide to be used by the city’s architectural review board and residents interested in renovating original pre-war houses.
The online style guide documents and describes 12 of Santa Barbara’s main architectural styles, including Queen Anne Victorian and Mission Revival. “The idea is that if you show people what the principles of the style were and show them key features that make it important and special, then if they want to do an addition or change something, they can be sensitive about how to add…to make it cohesive with the whole language it was built in,” he says.
What began as a pet project for Grumbine culminated when Tony Spann, principal at the firm and member of the city’s architectural review board, recommended Grumbine for the task of helping the city put together a historic style guide for styles other than Spanish Colonial (a good one already exists). The project puts Grumbine’s considerable draftsmanship skills to good use. He documented the buildings and details through impeccable line drawings and watercolors, in addition to photos, floor plans and text outlining the basics of each style.
Grumbine and historian Jake Jacobus scanned the city for interesting and notable architectural examples. The most surprising find? A cluster of Tudor bungalows on the west side, found while hunting for a photogenic example of a folk Victorian in the neighborhood.
A book may be next.
“It’s a side project that turned into a really big project,” Grumbine says with a smile. But it’s clear he loves it as much as he loves a properly proportioned Classical column and meandering Santa Barbara’s walkable streets, sketchbook in hand.
To access Santa Barbara’s architectural style guide, visit www.santabarbaraca.gov. To reach Anthony Grumbine with questions or to inquire about walking tours, email firstname.lastname@example.org.