“Archimedes’s principle states that a body immersed in a fluid is subjected to an upward force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. I built seemingly endless spreadsheets calculating live and dead loads. It really forced me to think through every detail to ensure I had adequate buoyancy,” Jeff reflects. With inspiration from Archimedes and significant guidance from architect and dear friend CJ Paone, of Ventura-based architecture firm Archipelago Workshop, he opted for less conventional yet extremely durable building systems, such as SIPS wall panels, heavy steel moment frames, and a foundation of industrial-grade piping and foam, to help keep the home afloat.
Because it was too wide to haul out of the water in Santa Barbara, Jeff and his dad anchored the boat to the Ventura Harbor Boat Yard to begin the refit. “We rode on the house for the journey and I often tell people it was like being in an earthquake for twelve hours,” says Jeff. The pair spent the next nine months commuting to Ventura seven days a week to build the exterior of the home. As they built and built and built, long days would turn into longer nights.
After months of waiting for the right weather window, Jeff and Mike finally towed the completely remodeled home back to Santa Barbara on December 10, 2019, Jeff’s 43rd birthday. “We spent the next few years working on the interior of the home and fighting various legal battles with the city,” says Jeff, whose girlfriend, designer Louisa Kimble, stepped in when it came to the interior design.
When he isn’t in the studio room creating bags or working on his next project with his father (they’re currently converting a 1965 International Harvester van into a mobile bar for a client to use at weddings and events), Jeff can usually be found enjoying the corner view in the dining room, with a morning tea or an evening cocktail. “I love the home’s location as it eliminates the need to drive. It’s incredible to walk along the water to so many great restaurants,” he notes. “At night, all the boats along the harbor disappear and the horizon is illuminated with string lights from the pier. It feels like I’m back in my New York loft, or really anywhere else my imagination takes me.”