Open House: Robert Dodds Construction Mission Masterwork

Rising from the ashes of the Witch Creek Fire is this mission masterwork by Robert Dodds Construction.

Mission Masterwork by Robert Dodds Construction

Poway, California

Rising from the ashes of the Witch Creek Fire is this mission masterwork by Robert Dodds Construction. After their home was destroyed in 2007’s devastating fire, Martha& Dick Lyles set out to rebuild their dream. They teamed up with home designer William Clarke of WC Designs and Robert Dodds Construction to realize their vision of a mission inspired one story sanctuary. WC Designs gave them a classic exterior with an effortless and functional floor plan that created an updated mission style home. The interior finishes and architectural detailing were put into the capable and inspired hands of Robert Dodds who built a home rich in authentic character and stunning details using the finest finishes and craftsmanship.

Great Room

Full of light and depth, coziness and grandeur the great room offers a warm welcome to the hub of the home. Exposed wood ceiling with oversized beams and tongue and groove planking meets subtly faux finished walls by Architectural Finishes with hand-painted embellishment by artist Ed Piffard, who we will see contributes more artistry throughout the home. Full Radius windows and arches are found throughout, a detail important to the Mission style. The cabinetry and entertainment center were hand crafted with intricate carving details by Quality Woodworks.

The centerpiece of the room and the heart of the home is the magnificent fireplace. A Robert Dodds concept he says, “I knew I wanted to use a combination of old brick and stone with full radius arches, creating a one-of-a-kind but authentic reflection of the Mission style. I talked it over with Martha and Dick and they loved the idea and added their own thoughts. We then brought the concept to J A Williams Masonry and his embellishments completed the vision.” Using Indian Rubble and Telluride Gold Stone with Glen Gary bricks handmade by a father and son in Atlanta for the façade and tripled up Cameron Flagstone on the mantle and hearth, the final product is unique and majestic. A custom iron fireplace screen offered the finishing touch.


The exquisite details found even in the hallways are representative of the care and meticulous design choices made by Dodds in every room. An arched recess provides the perfect canvas for a mission inspired Junipero Serra scene painted by San Diego artist Edmond Piffard. He also painted the floral motif found in the spaces ceiling dome, one of 6 detailed ceilings found in the home. Lighting the dome in rustic style is a Savoy House bronze chandelier with cream candle covers completing the mission ambiance.


Another dramatic ceiling dome is found in the spacious dining room. This elliptical dome is back lit, illuminating from within the hand-painted mural by Piffard and featuring another stunning chandelier. The overall effect is luxurious enough for the most formal entertaining but still warm and inviting for casual enjoyment. The Arto Concrete Pavers that floor the entire home in different shapes are found here in San Felipe tiles artfully framed with a border. You can see the beauty here in details like the stain grade crown moulding, baseboards and doors, giving careful polish to the rustic atmosphere.


In the chef’s kitchen Super Classico granite covers the central island and countertops including the roomy two tiered peninsula that wraps around the room. The light and luminous color of the stone, reflecting the abundant natural light from skylight and windows, contrasts beautifully with the deep alder wood custom cabinets. Quality Woodworks intricate wood carvings on the hood and island, decorative tiles from Bali framed over the Thermador range, and beautifully chosen antique copper light fixtures are just some of the details that together produce an air of old world charm. A custom iron grate over the skylight beautifies what would otherwise be an ordinary long cylinder leading to the window above. The scroll design artfully plays with the light, a unique and artistic detail by Dodds used here and in the master bath.


The master bath is a spa-like retreat with a backdrop of peaceful countryside views from picture windows. Dodds surrounded the relaxing soaking tub with Delicatus granite and a glass tile and copper liner backsplash. The face of the tub is covered in mosaic tiles using a complementary earthy color pallet. Concrete paver flooring leads to the spacious step-down, doorless shower with rain fixture and separate his and her showerheads. The grated skylight, as in the kitchen, allows even more natural light into the space. In one of the home’s powder rooms Dodds built a striking groin vault ceiling of reclaimed brick imported from France, one of his favorite design features.


Indoor/outdoor living is a must to enjoy all of the sunshine and gorgeous weather that the home’s Poway location has to offer. Keeping that in mind, Dodds incorporated Jensen Lift and Slide doors that seamlessly open the indoors to the outdoor living areas. An outdoor kitchen with professional grade barbeque detailed with granite and brick takes the design themes from indoors and continues them outside, all the way to the exposed beams in the ceiling above.


A Jon DeLay-designed Classic Spanish inspired pool with raised Jacuzzi and children’s pool offers fun in the sun for the entire family. Bull nose and clay brick coping surrounding the pool continues the theme of brick from indoors to out. Paver decking looks beautiful and adds to the carefully executed fire safety precautions taken, obviously so important to the Lyles’. The landscaping offers a 100 ft perimeter of defensible space within which are planted only fire safe plants.


With one eye toward environmental responsibility and another toward lower electric costs, Dodds incorporated 3 different solar energy systems into the home. One system heats the pool, another system provides electricity and the third system is a solar run water heater. These three systems will drastically cut the Lyle’s energy costs while reducing their carbon footprint.


The master bedroom combines the best of classic mission style with the updated comforts of today. All walls have a smooth hand-textured finish by Jeff Walker Drywall. Corbels finish the exposed ceiling beams all the way through the bedroom to the cozy sitting area. A perfect spot for relaxing with a book or watching movies, the centerpiece of the sitting area is the fireplace with wood mantle and custom surround by Encinitas Tile. A nook for fire wood storage next to the fireplace is a charming touch.


The home itself is centered around a courtyard with one incredibly special feature. This fountain was the only item of significance that remained standing of the Lyles’ previous home after the fires destruction. As a symbol of the home they loved, a statement to their perseverance, and a hopeful look to the future the fountain occupies a prominent place for all to see who pass through the home’s front gate. Dodds said, “It was important to everyone to preserve this piece that withstood the worst and now stands strong again.”

Robert Dodds Construction


Photos by David Hartig

& by Britta VanVranken

Related posts

Feature Cover Property January


Open House: Paradise Found in Paradise Valley Arizona


Open House PREMIER Tour – March