Wed, 2 September 2015
Santa Barbara's best known architect
A Jeff Shelton building is unmistakable once you know his style. And as he is a Santa Barbara native *and* devoted to only building in his home town, so Santa Barbara is the only place you'll see his curvy, Dr. Seuss-like creations.
The Ablitt House, located right behind State Street's busiest clubs and bars, was the first Shelton building I remember coming across, and once I studied the style--The Gaudi-style roofs, the Escher-like tile work, the wrought iron (made by his brother), the cute and whimsical touches--I began to spot more of his buildings.
The man's studio is tucked away downtown, not far from the Ablitt Building (you can see it from the street), and is as wondrous and colorful as you'd expect, not anybody's cliche'd idea of what an architect's office should look like.
In this hour-long chat, we talk about growing up in Santa Barbara, building codes, what makes our town special, and how he creates. (Shelton sketched and doodled the whole time we talked, and wound up drawing a chicken.)
His website is here.