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By Ron Donoho • Photography by Martin Mann

Best Of Both Worlds

This roomy Cardiff-are home is country style, but with an ocean view...

JIM WOODS DREAMT of own-ing a large country property that also came with an ocean view. Easier imagined than procured, especially during the last de-cade's go-go, boom years of real estate.

The president of L.H. Woods & Sons (a general engineering contract company) was ready to move from Fallbrook back in 2000.

"But that was back during the boom, when every listing was gobbled up in seven days," says Woods.

He found a 1.4-acre plot of land for sale above Cardiff. It was a pile of dirt, but when he stood atop it he could see white water in the Pacific.

He made an offer, but was too late. Nearly half a year later, though, he noticed that the tech executive who'd beaten him to the punch was changing job locations. Woods put in another bid, and this time he (literally) hit pay dirt.

For a variety of reasons, construction on the home didn't start until 2008. Woods finally moved in on February 4, 2011, a date he remembers distinctly because it's his birthday.

"The ultimate goal was to have a country home unique to the area," says Woods. "We're a close drive to Cardiff. And I didn't want to be cramped, so I have the ability to store a lot of things. It's a relatively large home, but it doesn't feel large when you live here."

The total project is 12,000 square feet under roof. The home is divided into different quadrants. The main living area is 7,800 square feet. There's also a 1,200-square-foot structure that can house an RV and lots of other mechanical, big-boy toys; a garage (1,000 square feet); and a 750-square-foot guesthouse.

Woods made the decision not to cut any corners during the build out. He hired architect Paul Olson. "He's extremely talented, but his designs are not cost effective," says Woods. "They're artistic designs; he does all his architectural drawings by hand."

The home is built with natural products; nothing is faux. The floor, for example, is Phoenician, first-cut Medieval limestone (600-year-old rock from Cyprus).

Finishes touches around the home are artisan inspired. All the ironwork on outdoor balconies is hand-hammered. Woods also hired local custom coppersmith Hans Liebscher to add to the ornamentation of the exterior.

"Hans added things like waterspouts that are shaped as dragons," says Woods. "He contributed what essentially is the jewelry of the exterior."

Don't let images of copper dragon spouts lead you to believe that this house is a museum where whispering is de rigueur and no fun is allowed. Au contraire.

A pair of college-age sons and a teenage daughter enliven the scene. There are also two four-legged inhabitants: a Ridgeback named Reef and Woods' daughter's Old English bulldog, Daisy.

Reef and Daisy have taken over what the architect designed as a mud room. The tradespeople who worked on the home redubbed the room "The Dog Spa."

Witness the colorful and circular fish tank as you enter the front door. The tank sits right off the kitchen, which is equipped with a restaurant-sized pizza oven.

There's also a home theater that can be dressed by lights in a rainbow of colors, an outdoor water system that flows from a natural rock streambed, hot tub, pool (with underwater stereo system) and a courtyard highlighted by a horseshoes pit.

"You can have all different kinds of parties here — swim parties, barbecue parties with horseshoes tournaments, you name it," says Woods. "People have said it's like a Tuscan village here; an entertaining place."

Woods happily claims that the sunsets over the water are amazing. And all was definitely worth the wait.

March 03, 2014

Changing Spaces

in Home Features
Aging in place sounds like a great concept. You can stay in a home filled with cherished memories and near longtime neighbors. But when your house no longer meets your needs, you may need to follow the example of GG and David. The couple, who planted family roots in the hills overlooking La Jolla Shores, have faced lifestyle changes twice over the years, each time deciding to improve their home instead of…
Mar 03, 2014

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Beyond Expectations

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Home of the Brave

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Tomato Troubleshooting

in GARDENING
This year, Scott Daigre will sell 75,000 tomato seedlings for the Tomatomania events he produces on both coasts, including one this month at San Diego Botanic Garden. The owner of Ojai-based Powerplant Garden Design says, “I’ve seen it all” after 22 years in business: tomatoes shedding leaves or blossoms, tomatoes with yellow and brown leaves, tomatoes that don’t produce, tomatoes with split fruit,…
Feb 21, 2014

Garden Ease

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Jan 29, 2014

February in the Garden

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Jan 21, 2014

Step By Step

by sdhg editors
March 03, 2014

Tooling Around the Park

in SAN DIEGO LIFE
Congressman Joe Cannon, one of the longest-tenured GOP Speakers of the House, attended opening-day ceremonies for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Shown here (left), the Republican from Illinois shares an electriquette with San Diego businessman and civic benefactor John D. Spreckels. The pigeon atop his head was one of a huge ceremonial flock released during the festivities. Electric cars may not be as futuristic…
Mar 03, 2014

Eat, Stay, Love

Feb 03, 2014

Honey, We're Home

March 03, 2014

Brussels Sprouts and Pecan Pie

in RECIPES
SUGAR & SCRIBE BAKERY Memories of her Irish grandmother’s roasted Brussels sprouts inspired chef-owner Maeve Rochford of Sugar & Scribe Bakery in Pacific Beach to create this savory vegetarian pie. Always on the menu, it has proved popular with men who don’t equate its nutty goodness with “eating their vegetables,” she says. Brussels Sprouts and Pecan Pie For the pastry 1/4 c. butter, ice cold 1/4 c.…
Feb 14, 2014

Heavenly Dining

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Fogo De Chão

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Warm Spinach Salad

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EDITOR'S CORNER

March Show-ers

BaroneSculptures

As much as I love looking at paintings and sculptures by famous — and in many cases long-dead — artists, I appreciate even more the paintings and sculptures of artists who are not household names. Actually, they are household names — in my world. They are “local artists” that are living and breathing life into new ideas all the time.
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