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A young family make their home in the little paradise of Ojai, California, in a Mediterranean-style stucco villa.
Carolina and Jack Bunce have a professed weakness for great views. That might be why the couple and their 8-year-old son, Graham, have settled in the little paradise of Ojai, California, in a Mediterranean-style stucco villa. Behind the house are jagged mountain peaks, high above a valley where fog rolls in. On the front facade, a second-story loggia has a view reminiscent of Tuscany or Provence: a sweeping valley of fields of avocado trees, olive farms, and perfumed orange groves, all bathed in an otherworldly light at sundown.
Here, Carolina Bunce crosses her breezeway; she matched the house's stucco to the color of sandstone rock on the property.
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The Bunces regraded the area behind the house and covered it in pea gravel to create a pathway leading to a dining terrace. On weekends, they have breakfast there around a weathered painted-iron table with a glass top.
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A credenza designed by Carolina stores 19th-century yellowware.
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Outdoor Dining Area
An antique Balinese teak daybed is grouped with a bamboo coffee table and chairs.
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An arrangement of hydrangeas brings out the colors in a piece of French ticking that covers a table on the loggia. The floor is tiled with the same terra-cotta used indoors.
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At the heart of the Bunce kitchen is an 1880s table topped with Caesar stone, a newfangled composite that is "lemon-proof, red wine-proof, and Sharpie pen-proof," Carolina says with conviction. A well-worn rug covers the polished wood floor.
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A Dining Area
Throughout the house, the couple's collection of dark still lifes contrasts with light walls; in the dining room, the paintings of fruits, vegetables, and bottles were made by a family friend. French caned chairs have a see-through lightness; they seem to hover around a table set with an antique homespun linen cloth. Ojai is surrounded by orange groves, so the fruit makes a fitting table decoration.
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The Bunces' guests often gather on the loggia. One of the couple's first projects was to make the arches more substantial.
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Agba, one of the family dogs, relaxes on a slipcovered sofa in the living room; the room has five sets of French doors that open onto the loggia, lending a bright, outdoors feeling. The fabric on a 1920s chair (far left) looks like patchwork but is actually needlepoint.
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The hearth, baseboard, and floor are tiled with matching Mexican terra-cotta. The tiles' shapes set off the varied contours of a shiplike Empire daybed, the urns and candlesticks on the mantel, and the portrait of a woman above.
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A crystal chandelier strikes a whimsical note above a free-standing tub, which the Bunces chose for its modern-looking flat rim. Carolina likes the worn silk rug because "you can stand on it with wet feet and it feels great." An antique painted tray table holds towels.
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Traces of History
A pair of Louis XVI-style chairs flank painted panels rescued from a Hollywood house that Carolina decorated. The client did not want them, she says, and the contractor was about to throw them away.
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The contemporary artist who painted this still life also made its burnished-gilt frame, reminiscent of Spanish Baroque carvings.
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Carolina draped the back posts of the guest room's Shaker-style bed with a lush 1920s printed linen. "I didn't do anything with curtain rings because someday I may have another use for the fabric," she notes. A European trestle table partners with a Baltimore painted fancy chair.
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