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Living La Via Bella
July, 2009 - Issue #57
When you own a premier home furnishing and decor store, people expect your personal abode to impress. The Woodlands home of Don and Billie Hubbard, known to many as the proprietors of La Via Bella in Stevenson Ranch and the online retail store Laviabella.com, does not disappoint.

They may have only lived in the 8-year-old home for 24 months, but the Old World charm that radiates from this space suggests that the residence's pedigree dates back centuries, not calendar turns.

After two years of construction, the Hubbards have earned a relaxing lantern-lighted evening soak in the hot tub.
After two years of construction, the Hubbards have earned a relaxing lantern-lighted evening soak in the hot tub.
Effortlessly captured in the outdoor living space are no less than a formal dining pavilion, glittering rock-lined pool and hot tub, hearth-side casual seating and multiple gathering points enhanced by a nature-inspired waterfall and estate-themed landscaping.

"Lots of stucco was coming off," remembers Hubbard. "There wasn't a moisture barrier put in place." Since it had to go anyway, the couple replaced it with a new brick and rock facade. Over two years, the yard was entirely refurbished with the experienced hand of designer Deanne Dahl.

The base, as well as an inspiration that took root during a vacation in Italy, laid the groundwork for what would evolve into a European Old World space with a technical twist: "We also installed a killer sound system," laughs Don.

The pool and hot tub's makeover included resurfacing and a custom rock finish. Similar medicine was prescribed for the home's original non-descript outdoor fireplace. The hearth was also raised, and the couple decided against using the space for dining. Instead, it now serves as a cozy seating area made complete with stone and iron accents acquired from Laviabella.com.

This hearth-side gathering place was once an outdoor dining room. The fire screen, candlesticks and travertine-topped table were acquired from the Laviabella.com collection.
This hearth-side gathering place was once an outdoor dining room. The fire screen, candlesticks and travertine-topped table were acquired from the Laviabella.com collection.
Since a substantial portion of the lot can best be described as a hill, it was imperative that the yard's highest point be refashioned. A skilled designer, Deanne Dahl made it complete by carving out a circular seating nook with a view. "That made a huge difference. We didn't think we would ever use that part of the property, but now it's become our favorite place to be in the backyard," reflects Don. "Throughout the process, Deanne really came up with fantastic ideas."

A leaking water fountain went from eyesore to eye candy after it was refashioned into a waterfall. The more natural feature exceptionally coordinated with new landscaping elements. "The plant concept was the final touch," says Hubbard. "We redid it to look more like an estate. It was money well spent."

"The waterfall used to be a leaking fountain. We wanted a more natural feature," says Hubbard.
"The waterfall used to be a leaking fountain. We wanted a more natural feature," says Hubbard.
The crown jewel in this resort-like yard is the pavilion. Once a plain shade of white, the space now glows with an iron chandelier, stone arches and antiqued plaster. High-interest serveware and permanent florals (tulips are Billie's favorite) from Laviabella.com are sturdy enough to stand up to Santa Clarita's strong breezes while still presenting an undeniable sense of refinement.

"We have a lot of parties," says Hubbard. "The patio cover helps make it comfortable no matter the weather. We were hoping to achieve a resort feel, and I think we did that. When you're out there, it really feels like you went somewhere else entirely."

Simultaneously rustic and formal, the area is visually defined by studded leather chairs surrounding a formidable dining table with enough space for eight lucky guests. The Spanish-inspired set is a fabulous example of De Mejico's authentic furniture creations.

Comfortably-clustered seating, European-inspired rock-faced walls and warm Santa Clarita breezes unite for a true vacation feel.
Comfortably-clustered seating, European-inspired rock-faced walls and warm Santa Clarita breezes unite for a true vacation feel.
De Mejico, well known for their custom doors, also creates accessories and patio sets. The Hubbards' collection of iron-worked outdoor furniture was actually custom created by De Mejico using Don Hubbard's design.
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