Magrathea – or – Why Build a House

This is a picture of the finished house. It was taken in June 2001, about three months after we finished it.

We went from this


to this

in a little over 11 years.

Why would somebody build a house when they could just buy one? We are interested in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and other architects of the arts and crafts period. Because of this interest we designed and built a house.

The design of the house was done the with the help of Roger Duguid, a house designer located in Escondido and Roger Mohling, a house designer and builder located in Poway. Roger Mohling has interests in styles that matched ours and as a result he had a large influence on the actual planning of the house

The house was built by Ron Torp, of Torp Construction. A finer person you can't ask for, and as a contractor you can't have any better. He was pickier than we were and did everything he could to reduce the price, before and during construction..


The landscaping is all done in native plants by Greg Rubin, a local landscaper and owner of California's Own, who uses plants from Las Pilitas Nursery. Since the house's exterior is cedar, you can see our reason for being concerned about the fires in the area. As a result of the landscaping and care during construction, we were able to certify our house and property as a backyard habitat with the National Wildlife Federation.

David told the story of the house, through some e-mails he sent as construction (or the lack of it) occurred. Sometimes humor gets into the telling of the story, and all the highlights are there. A quick history of the house was written for one of the garden tours.

There are some magnificent views from the house. In particular the summer thunderstorms that occur in the east are wonderful to watch. This is a couple of panoramic photos showing the expanse of the storms, and the effect of the setting sun on the view. When there are some clouds around, they can be beautiful as well.

During Santa Anna conditions the evening is very clear and the sunset can be quite lovely to look at. This is a time lapse collection of photographs of the sun setting, with a couple of shots of the center of Poway thrown in.

At night the house has a completely different look. This is due again to Greg Rubin and California's Own. Their placement of the lighting about the grounds is spectacular.

When looking down into the valley at night the view is equally wonderful.


Welcome to

The Barto’s

Home on the Web

A collection of macro photo-graphy
To best view the images on this website, look at the following image:

If you see a smooth gradation from black to white on the bottom, and the top looks just slightly different shades between black and just off black (look carefully), then your monitor is calibrated fairly well. If not, adjust your brightness and contrast until you can see the image as described.


Zoological Society of San Diego 
Updated July 2012San_Diego_Zoo.htmlSan_Diego_Zoo.htmlSan_Diego_Zoo.htmlSan_Diego_Zoo.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2

The Wild Animal Park
Updated July 2012WAP.htmlWAP.htmlWAP.htmlWAP.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2
Aerial Photos of the pad and house
Cedar Fire
October 26, 2003Cedar_Fire.html

Photo Albums

Surfing Photos 

Renaissance Pleasure Faire Photo GalleriesRenaissance_Pleasure_Fair.html
Fire in the Valley
Jan 2014Cedar_Fire.htmlCedar_Fire.htmlCedar_Fire.html