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A once dilapidated building brings travelers to Santa Barbara.

ANACAPA Architecture took home the 7th annual GRAY Awards trophy for their historic building restoration of what is now the Drift Hotel in Santa Barbara.

Photographed by Erin Feinblatt

exterior of hotel and restaurant in Spanish architectural style

A dilapidated building in Santa Barbara is reimagined as a hotel, coffee shop, and cocktail bar. Preserving the building’s history, the Drift Hotel connects locals and travelers to its surrounding community of Spanish architectural influences. ANACAPA Architecture, a multidisciplinary design firm based in Santa Barbara, contrasts the traditional exterior of the hotel — its white stucco walls, arched windows, and terracotta tiles — with its modern interiors which are centered around a black color palette with accents of concrete and white-oak elements. The hotel is outfitted with goods from Californian and Mexican makers, paying homage to the brand’s Baja roots while celebrating its coastal Californian locale.

Baja chic living room with views of Santa Barbara, built in sofa with drawers, arched windows
rustic bar and bartender mixing drink, concrete walls, wood barstools, basket pendant lights, hanging shelves
barista and coffee bar, concrete wall, floating shelf, graphic wall mural
Spanish architecture rooftop deck with outdoor sofa, fire pit, lanterns, clay tile roof


GRAY AWARD: Best Historic Restoration/Renovation. DESIGN TEAM: ANACAPA Architecture. COLLABORATORS: Contractor: Parton + Edwards Construction; Civil and Structural Engineering: Ashley Vance Engineering; MEP Engineering: Consulting West; Kitchen, Bar, and Coffee Shop Consultant: New School. LOCATION: Santa Barbara, California, United States. DATE OF COMPLETION: February 2023.


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