a spiritual craftsman in ojai
If ever there were a place where people and nature live in harmony, it would be beautiful Casa Barranca in the Ojai valley. Historically a haven for architects and artisans, the estate was designed in reaction to nineteenth century Victorianism, when lifestyles of the wealthy often reflected a desire to control nature rather than living in harmony with it. The artists of Casa Barranca or “house of the ravine,” sought an aesthetic of integration, honoring simplicity and respecting the environment. Simplicity did not mean denial, rather it meant serene enjoyment through a return to physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. One hundred years hence in 2005, the players may have changed, but the mood, the intention of Casa Barranca, remains the same.
An estate with historical Pratt House as its’ nexus, one can walk in any direction to find treasures to inspire the higher self. Charles and Henry Greene, the preeminent architects of the Arts and Crafts Movement, designed the house for Charles and Mary Pratt in 1909. The house is a perfect fusion of Japanese aesthetic and American practicality. Comprised of two wings unified by a central living room/entrance way, the house boasts five large bedrooms, six fireplaces, four bathrooms, three sleeping porches, an eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room, and front and rear upper patios. The rear patio looks out onto a Koi pond framed by breathtaking mountain ranges. The home is furnished with antique and period furniture accessories designed by the likes of Gustav Stickley and C. Mackintosh.
Interestingly, Casa Barranca seems to exist simultaneously in two parallel universes. It is both a vacation rental for hire and a “do not trespass” private residence. Bill Moses, an escapee from the corporate rat race, has owned the property since 1994.