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Oh My Ojai

“It’s an absolutely fabulous paradox,” says Tim Hepworth, the Colaboratory studio leader at EDG Interior Architecture + Design, when remarking on Ojai’s knack for staying at the forefront of retreat locations. “The ability to be both energetic and relaxing is what keeps people coming back. The pools, bars, and restaurants all can be great spaces to be social; they’re vibrant and trend-forward. The beautiful landscape, spas, and rustic vibe of Ojai create tranquility.”

The designer and his team kept that picturesque harmony in mind when developing a “food and beverage master plan” for the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. “As we learned more about the location, we discovered its unique history and were hooked!” explains Hepworth. “Over the years the inn has catered to the Hollywood crowd and sports legions, but what’s unique is the family heritage not only of the owners but also for the generations of families who work at the inn. This sense of pride drove us to design every detail of the inn for the guest and for the inn’s families.”

EDG first began working with the Inn & Spa in August 2014. “A big draw, personally,” Hepworth says, “is the original Wallace Neff Spanish Revival architecture, the outdoor living, and the East-West orientation of the valley. This unique direction allows the sunsets to reflect off of the valley’s mountains and create Ojai’s ‘Pink Moment’(a rare sunset that occurs due to the east-west mountain ranges).”

EDG unveiled two phases of design in 2015. Phase one included the lobby remodel with the addition of a new courtyard, the Indigo Pool, the Wallace Neff courtyard, Wallace Neff Heritage Bar, and Olivella restaurant. Phase Two, completed this year, brought with it the new Libbey’s Café and boutique. “We respected the architecture but took a bit more of a clean, modern approach with materials and detailing while looking at the entire property as a large residence with a design aesthetic continuing through the inn as a common thread,” notes Hepworth.

Hepworth and the team drew their inspiration from the native Ojai architecture, artists, and agriculture, the valley and Chumash Indians. The project is also a design opportunity that allowed Hepworth to draw from previous aesthetic preferences. “Personally, I’ve always been drawn to modern and Spanish Revival architecture and enjoy designing residences. The opportunity to design in Ojai and for the inn, allowed me to draw from all of these different aesthetics and experiences,” Hepworth says.

“We hope it’s experiential in nature,” Hepworth remarks, “and that you find yourself heading down unexpected paths and finding hidden gems. I love designs that mix a blend of residential, hospitality, and culinary expertise.” 

All images by Aubrie Pick.

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