The Straus House, located in the coveted Hope Ranch enclave of Santa Barbara, California.
Photo: Juwan Li

Spectacular Wallace Neff House Hits the Market in Santa Barbara

Designed in collaboration with landscape architect Thomas Church, the 1970 home is situated on an oceanfront parcel with sweeping vistas of the Channel Islands

Neff designed the entry to take advantage of the direct ocean views. Photo: Juwan Li

Famed architect Wallace Neff is credited with pioneering Southern California’s distinctive architectural style, infusing Mediterranean aesthetics with American proportions to dazzling effect. During his decades-long career, Neff created homes for Hollywood royalty, including Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, and Darryl Zanuck. Now, one of his most spectacular properties has hit the market in the ritzy Hope Ranch enclave of sunny Santa Barbara.

Known as the Straus House, the 14,000-square-foot manse dates to 1970, when Macy’s scion Robert K. Straus tapped Neff to design a weekend getaway for his family on a cliffside acre overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Since the family was already living in a Bel-Air abode that Neff designed in the ’20s, they knew they were in good hands.

The terrace features a panoramic vista of the water and Channel Islands beyond. Photo: Juwan Li

Taking advantage of the site’s stunning view of the Channel Islands, Neff crafted a showstopping entrance that opens directly to the cavernous living area, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that perfectly frame the sea beyond. Consistent with his Spanish-inflected design sensibility, Neff deployed white-washed walls and Mexican tile flooring in the interiors, which originally featured a color palette inspired by the Straus’ impressive collection of contemporary French paintings.

For their part, the current owners have spent the past decade working with the local historical committee to renovate and expand the dwelling, which now features six bedrooms and eight baths. The grounds, originally conjured by modernist landscape architect Thomas Church, feature mature trees, a terrace equipped with a fire pit, and a pool.

The home is listed with Weston Littlefield, Dalton Gomez, and Aaron Kirman of the Aaron Kirman Group at Compass. The price is available upon request. See more photos below. 

The pool court with the home in the background. Photo: Juwan Li

The house has been painstakingly restored, expanded, and modernized over a ten-year period. Photo: Juwan Li

The huge and versatile living room features a characteristic oversize Neff fireplace and a floor-to-ceiling wall of ocean-view windows. Photo: JUWAN LI

An adjacent room with its own fireplace could serve as the dining room or a den. Photo: Juwan Li

The striking fireplace in the main living area. Photo: Juwan Li

The cinema room is a highlight of the 14,000-square-foot estate. Photo: Juwan Li

A wood-paneled living area. Photo: Juwan Li

The current owners worked closely with the local historical committee on all aspects of preserving the integrity of the design and inspiration of Neff's work. Photo: Juwan Li

The grounds were conjured by noteworthy landscape architecture Thomas Church. Photo: Juwan Li

Cover: The Straus House, located in the coveted Hope Ranch enclave of Santa Barbara, California.
Photo: Juwan Li


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