David Huboi is a local architect and avid musician, a self-described renaissance guy who likes to do things old school. That includes his preference for drafting with pencil and paper rather than with a computer.
“With my architectural background, the reason why I got to be where I am is because of my penchant for drawing by hand, and kind of an eye for design stuff,” Huboi said. “I’m not the greatest designer in the world. My partner is better. But what I’m really good at is drawing and sketching.”
His drawings of Hollister homes and architecture are featured in the Historic Downtown Hollister Walking Tour brochure.
Huboi, who is also chairman of the Hollister Planning Commission, said he and his wife Ravena, an interior designer, first came to Hollister more than 20 years ago looking for an affordable place to call home. They found themselves on Monterey Street and like so many others, became enchanted by the architectural delights of that neighborhood.
“I noticed, wow, these are really cool old homes, and there are all kinds of different vernaculars, different styles, but they all looked like they’d been around for a long time and I was surprised because Hollister is like the earthquake capital of the world,” Huboi said. He credited the condition of the homes to the materials used back then. “You can’t get wood like that today.”
As to his favorite examples of Hollister’s historic architecture, Huboi does not limit his selections to Monterey Street. Given its sentimental value, the Veterans Memorial Building ranks first on his list. The first major project Huboi Architecture took on in Hollister was the renovation of that building in 2002.
“At the time we were doing that it was 9/11,” he said. “That was going on, and then I reacquainted myself with the story of my uncle who died in WW II at 19 years old, and I was haunted by the memory of the legacy of my uncle who went down in a B-24 Liberator. I have so much respect for the veterans.”
Huboi relied on former planning commissioner Charles Scott as a design consultant in the renovation project to ensure it did not go off on tangents.
A Craftsman bungalow located at 829 Monterey St. is Huboi’s second favorite, “because it’s a simple little style home where Steinbeck’s grandfather lived and Charlie Scott owned that house,” said Huboi. “There’s just something about that. It has a rustic charm to it that I really like. It’s small, but yet it’s inviting and there’s a lot of character and appeal and a welcoming entry to it that you just want to go in there and sit on the comfy couch, read a nice book and sit by the window.”
Next on his list is a prairie style home inspired by Frank Loyd Wright, located at 472 South St.
“Well, I’ll say Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer, he came up with the philosophy of ‘organic architecture,’ which is that you design to the peculiarities of the site, the wind, the sun, you know, the views,” Huboi said. “You take all that into consideration and the clients, of course, the client’s wishes, so that no design ever comes out the same. You know, it’s all specialized to the peculiarities of the setting.”
Huboi considers Monterey Street to be the essence of Hollister and attends church at historic St. Luke’s Episcopal, his fourth pick. The 116-year-old gothic revival features beautiful stained glass windows and wood carvings within. Two Italian cypress trees ornament the side lawn.
“Our daughter was two years old, and we were looking for a place for her to be baptized. When we went in there, we just fell in love with the church,” Huboi said. “It’s just the stained glass windows and the wood and the wood trusses in there, and it’s just a wonderful feeling. We just felt like we belonged there. And I’ve been with that church ever since. That was like 22 years ago.”
Huboi, who is a member of Mr. O’s Academy of the Arts board, also plays guitar at St. Lukes almost every Sunday.
Being on the Hollister Planning Commission, Huboi knows the importance of affordable housing, and he experienced the lack of it firsthand. He and Ravena could not afford a home on Monterey Street when they were looking to move to Hollister.
“We ended up buying a little house on Wilma Drive,” he said.
His firm recently designed 63 apartments on Ladd Lane with others coming down the pipeline. The firm also worked on Gateway Palms, a 32-unit low-income apartment complex on Westside Blvd.
With the growth Hollister has experienced, Huboi says the core identity of the city remains strong on San Benito and Monterey streets.
“You just can’t beat that old architecture,” Huboi said. “That old, antiquated look, It’s just so beautiful.”