As one of Kathy Ireland’s Design Brand Ambassadors, Nicholas Walker brings authenticity and integrity to Kathy’s designs by creating a living, natural resource where the beauty, color and textures found on his 5-acre Topanga Canyon ranch become inspirations that inform many of the design guides that are the touchstones for Kathy Ireland’s ever growing world of consumer products. Kathy and the team refer to the property as a design lab, and rightfully so.
The entire property flourishes with the textures and colors of the natural world, but is also a home with a serious sense of purpose and a testament to reusable energy and green technology. The home radiates warmth while literally generating electricity. It reroutes rain and water to the best possible application and the handsome landscape stands guard against the threat of the wildfires.
Through a lifetime of dedication to the principals of sustainable and reusable energy, Nicholas has created a place that functions as a model for innovation in ecofriendly architectural design, sustainable energy, drought and fire resistant landscape.
The home is a beautifully efficient model of reusable energy that takes full advantage of the latest in sustainable technology literally from top to bottom. The roof is coated with a reflective material that repels 72% of the sun’s UV rays and features an impressive grouping of hardware including photovoltaic solar to convert sunlight to electricity and hydro thermal to capture and heat water and heating elements that carry warmth throughout the home from a radiant system beneath the beautiful hickory floors. Outside, the gardens and pathways invite exploration with repurposed materials that add greatly to the handsome landscape, hardscape and drainage features.
Design and inspiration bloom with the native plants and float on the warm ocean breezes. The artfully terraced grounds and plantings are designed to efficiently employ the sloping lot and dramatic arroyos while showcasing the handsome three-story home.
Aesthetically, the ranch mixes Nicholas’ deeply spiritual Irish ancestry and razor sharp design talents with reusable design elements and recycled materials. The result is a warm and comforting place that is as beautiful as it is inspirational. Rain water and bath water equals gray water. The roof’s rain gutters capture and route water onto the property where it can be safely directed for optimum drainage and the home’s phosphate-free “gray water” from baths, showers, washing machine, and sinks are converted to provide irrigation to the landscape.
As an example of the dedication to complete sustainability, the home is illuminated by LED lighting, insulated by 12” thick walls and the home is sited and enhanced by architectural design elements that optimize natural light and ocean breezes.
As Kathy Ireland is fond of saying, “God created it; All we have to do is listen.” No doubt Nicholas was listening closely as he created this one-of-a-kind design studio/home in California’s Topanga Hills.
For more information about Nicholas Walker please visit KathyIreland.com
By: Greg Root
Photos: Allen Carrasco