Casual Coastal Luxury and Panoramic Ocean Views Take Centerstage at This Light-filled Manhattan Beach Home With Interiors by Tim Clarke
There are two things that drove this project,” says interior designer Tim Clarke of the rustic stone-clad home rising along one of Manhattan Beach’s most dapper walk streets, just south of Downtown. “One is the idea of the staircase, and the steel windows that become the skylight above the staircase.”
He’s referencing the airy entrance, a space marked by a floating staircase—angular, with thick slab steps. To one side, a bank of custom windows—slender, with black steel casings; modeled after an L.A. factory circa the 1920s—stretches along the entire side of the approximately 4,200-square-foot house, three stories in all. At the top floor, windows continue in the form of a massive skylight interrupted only by reclaimed barn wood beams.
“I was thinking of these vertical spaces in Paris,” the designer says of the distinctive window scheme. “There’s a sense of history—like, what was this before?”
Aside from evoking another time and place, there’s a practical side-effect of this fenestration: It casts the whole home with a special, toasted California beach light. “You can see the blue sky through the skylight,” adds Tim Clarke.
A few years ago, Tim Clarke was brought on board this project by architect Brett Buchmann of Buchmann Design, hired by the homeowner to take the newish house down to the studs, and completely re-build. The 2017 result is a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom house with panoramic ocean views that articulates a free-flowing yet high-tone coastal atmosphere—a specialty of the notable interior designer whose book, “Coastal Modern: Sophisticated Homes Inspired by the Ocean,” expresses his lifestyle-driven design premise. On this project, his client was a well of creativity, making for a satisfying collaboration between architect, client, and designer.
“She had a strong vision for what she wanted the house to be,” Tim Clarke states. “I like people with opinions. I think that’s interesting and it makes my job more interesting.”
The culmination is an undeniably beautiful—and ultra-livable—three levels of space filled with ever-changing seaside vistas and simultaneous nods to both Old World (antique French doors and Italian chandeliers) and warmed-up Industrial style (abundant black steel rail systems and factory windows).
“It’s like a wall of blue.” This smooth mashup of clean lines and distinctive luxury, with warm woods and eyefuls of the Pacific Ocean, complements the location’s high-end beach atmosphere and offers a nice paradox: a high-style home with remarkable user-friendliness.
For starters, the master wing on the entrance (or middle) level is a self-contained cocoon of luxurious ease, starting at the slender wooden doors at the entrance, imported from a French chateau. An ocean-view bedroom leads to a classically ornamented bathroom with heated floors and intricate tile and stonework. A creamy free-standing tub is for soaks alongside sunlit windows.
En route to the office, where noon breaks happen on the fresh-air balcony, one strolls through the master closet, which is fashioned after a dream-come-to-life retail space.
“Every woman that has come into the house has said, ‘This is the best closet I’ve ever seen,’” Caskey says of the bright space, where the arrangement of shelves, nooks, and drawers can accommodate a trove of shoes and garments.
Head upstairs to a convergence of everyday living spaces, collected under a perfectly mediated mix of open and separate spaces. Case in point: the dining wing—home to a sunlit kitchen with ocean views extending to Catalina, and a covered alfresco eating area with gorgeous gray-blue tiles—is separated from an open-plan living room by a couple of steps.
Decorative ceiling configurations, utilizing beams, curves, or just decked solidly in wood, further separate each space. The leisurely fresh-air terrace on this floor starts indoors, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that invisibly extend the room to the outdoors, complete with perfect views of Manhattan Beach Pier and Malibu. “The lines are blurred between inside and outside,” Tim Clarke says of the house.
To take advantage of this walk street address, where blue sea and sky are everywhere, and the beach is a two-block stroll down a wide and sloping walkway embellished by colorful landscaping, each outdoor space has been designed to capture different takes on the oceanside atmosphere. “There are stunning ocean views from Palos Verdes to Malibu, which is really unique” Caskey points out.
Just as the upper floors offer corner-to-corner perspectives of the Pacific Ocean, the spacious open patio along the walk street offers a mellow, beach-level perspective, along with a great place for hosting sunset get-togethers on its limestone tiles. Sunken for privacy, and shrouded with old-growth shrubs, the scene feels positively Mediterranean, especially with the rustic stone, wood beam canopy, and vibrant orange tree.
“You really are transported to somewhere else,” says the designer of this space. Bifold doors connect the patio to the indoors, a cozy entertainment space with three built-in TV screens and a streamlined wet bar, where there’s yet another TV. The area was originally intended for watching sports, and for hosting informal get-togethers. Note the pale floors of hand-smoothed concrete, which create a sleek look while adding to the home’s easy living durability.
“With all the materials that I choose,” Tim Clarke explains, “I’m thinking that nothing is too precious. After a long weekend of a bunch of people in your house, when you’ve been going back and forth to the beach, it still looks great.”
Even the hardwood floors, found throughout much of the residence, intentionally had wear on them at the outset. “As you live in the house,” he remarks, “if it does change, it changes for the better.”
Given this home’s location, one imagines that much living will take place here. While the house is quiet and nicely set back from the street, there’s near-instant access to both the beach and the activity of Downtown, both two blocks away.
“It’s very walkable,” says Caskey.
“You can put your car in the garage and walk or bike anywhere you need to go. It’s wonderful from that perspective.”
It’s the idea of creating houses that transport clients to an elevated and better state, each day, no matter the style of the home. It’s the feeling experienced when we’ve gotten away from it all, in the best sense.
“We live in a fabulous place,” the interior designer explains. “So let’s try to make our house give us that feeling we get when we’re on vacation.”
Dave & Jennifer Caskey
Lic #01198999 | Lic #01075946
Caskey & Caskey and Associates
eXp Realty | Phone 310.374.1800
List Price $10,000,000
Photographs by Manolo Langis