The Brothers & Sisters actor and his wife Sheryl recently built their sweeping, 20-room Georgian-style dream estate near Santa Barbara with their entire family – which includes sons Edward Matthew, 17, and John Owen, 14, – in mind.
"I've always been drawn to a historic, East Coast American aesthetic," Lowe, 46, tells Architectural Digest in its November People and Places issue. "But a house also has to be comfortable, able to withstand the simultaneous traffic of teenagers playing football on the lawn, barbecuing on the patio, me slipping off to write.
"Our challenge was extrapolating our views on how to live our lives and raise our children into what we need in a home."
The actor also wanted a home where he could enjoy his favorite activities. Says Sheryl, "Besides sleeping, my husband's favorite things are reading, writing and music. Who else would have a piano bar?"
The residence also highlights the naturally breathtaking California surroundings. "Looking through the living room windows from the front door, you see the ocean; from the pool, you see the mountains, " says Sheryl, "It welcomes you."
Lowe adds, "I always wanted that house where everybody wants to go – full of energy, dogs, music, fun. I wanted our house to be that house, and it is."