For Norman and Eileen Kreiss, what began as a weekend retreat away from Los Angeles became the site of a Spanish Mediterranean-style home in Rancho Santa Fe that they now call simply the Ranch.
"It's a combination of European, Latin (American) and American woods and stones, fountains and chandeliers all in one place," says Norman Kreiss, co-founder with his wife of the Kreiss Collection, an empire spread over 20 cities and characterized by jumbo furniture and accessories that have come to epitomize "the California look."
Like the items in the collection, everything about the Kreisses' new home is oversized. On 3 1/2 acres planted with citrus and palm trees, Newport Beach architect Arthur Valdes translated the couple's ideas into a 10-room, 12,000-square-foot house. Valdes and the Kreisses experimented to get a sun-washed look. Peach-colored roof tiles and sandblasted oak shutters accent the whitewashed exterior, while the interior is airy white, beige and tan.
At the heart of the structure is a picturesque courtyard paved with cantera stone. A staircase winds past a fountain to a balcony and six second-floor bedrooms, each with a fireplace, bath and terrace. Furnishings designed by the Kreisses include ornately carved pieces of bleached pine, plus wrought-iron lamps.