Architecture // Design

At Home on the Hill

Relax with elevated style in a Beach Modern Abode

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason

Stetched gracefully along a spacious 7500-square-foot lot rests an exquisite beach modern home. Set in the highly sought Manhattan Beach Hill section, the home is nestled perfectly into a quiet section of 9th Street, with sweeping city and mountain views. This splendid sanctuary combines indoor/outdoor living for both entertaining and enjoying the beach lifestyle.

Immediately upon entering the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath residence one simply feels at home. There is a distinctive aura of comfortable sophistication about the space that is luxurious and relaxed with glimpses of mid-century flair. “We had a desire to build a beach modern home with warmth and elegance that reflected the modern aesthetic with traditional undertones,” explains architect Robert Riblet. The reverse floor plan introduces an impressive foyer with black slate floors and 16-foot vaulted ceilings boasting abundant space. “The idea,” continues Riblet, “was to create an entry tower that welcomed people into the home; from there, the plan opens up and flows to the rear with the northerly city view.”

Just past the entry and impressive office the open floor plan with towering vaulted ceilings brings one to the main living spaces. To the left awaits a dramatic dining area with built-in cabinetry, and a quaint sitting area for conversation during a pre-dinner cocktail hour.

With over 5,000 square feet of living space, designer Peter Rothe of Reynold’s Development shares, “Given these large spaces our goal is to make them feel intimate despite their size.” Furthermore, in the aforementioned sitting area, a pair of grand-scale mid-century modern chandeliers loom overhead, dictating a special place for adults to gather. Conveniently situated directly across from this area is a walk-in refrigerated wine cellar, beautifully crafted with glass windows. “Having living spaces on the upper level allows for interesting ceiling details and voluminous spaces,” says Riblet. As a result, the kitchen has a wonderful open feeling, with lovely pendant lights dangling artfully above the breakfast bar. Unique touches define this beach modern home, including extraordinary lighting selections, mixing stacked glass mosaic tiles with quartz and Carrara marble counters and large-scale subway tiles, all paired with gorgeous white oak wood floors throughout. “The challenge I clearly faced,” Rothe relays, “was the vaulted ceilings. I drew inspiration from Union Station’s use of large chandeliers that help fill the space creating a warmer feeling in such an immense space.”

Adjacent is the family room, with a beautiful stacked quartzite fireplace and large windows with mountain views. The kitchen and family room both have massive glass disappearing sliders that open the entire back of the home to the outdoor deck. This substantial outdoor living space includes a built-in gas grill and spiral staircase leading to a large backyard.

Entertainment Style

A sprawling home in Palos Verdes Estates combines elegance and comfort for pleasure and parties

Written by Nicole Borgenicht | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Rick Edler, Edler Derenzis Group, Vista Sotheby’s International Realty
List price $4,650,000

With a festive spirit, this corner lot estate home harmoniously blends Europeanchic and California-comfort design to accommodate the generous lifestyle of a large family, and gatherings for friends and associates. Homeowners Don and Dianne Ecker have regaled many via their indoor-outdoor great room with marble counter bar and grill; heated second level multi-service deck; distinctive putting range area and spectacular, 3,000-bottle capacity wine cellar. Glorious fountains invite all into the gated estate, featuring a nearly 6,000-square-foot home with five bedrooms and four bathrooms within a sprawling configuration.

Describing their lifestyle, Don says: “My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and had a wonderful party that provided intimate conversation areas for folks in the California room, great room, bar (indoor and outdoor), and with everything being open, with the doors, it still had the feel of everyone being together as well as providing a great flow through all of the areas. We have also had parties with up to 200 people, as there are so many places to mingle and converse. It truly is a home that can scale from small intimate groups to large functions and holiday special events seamlessly.”

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a terrific coastline view; a balcony and sunken bath, and a large walk-in closet. One can even sit in the spa tub and steam bath and watch the sunset. The second-story deck, outside the master, leads to two  additional bedrooms, and has a full outdoor kitchen and barbecue. The Eckers say, “We have enjoyed meals and drinks on the upper deck alone or with close friends to view the sunsets and ocean… and will have great memories for years to come. There is also radiant heat on the balcony and our dog Maggie enjoys lounging on the deck—yes, she is a princess.”

A spiral staircase gives the house a grand entry. Stone fireplaces are in the great room and California room, plus indoor-outdoor flooring with radiant heating and comfortable travertine seating. A well-modeled New York Sunken Bar, eye-level with seated guests and featuring a copper sink and marble top, is surrounded by leather seating and an Old World European tapestry to talk about. The Eckers frequently combine century-old family antiques with contemporary California ease.

The golf course is a huge benefit for family and guests and, Don says, “A personal item that is very special to us…our grandsons are 8 and 11 and have grown up wanting to go out and putt with Papa during their visits; and then on the flipside, it’s a great area for folks to hang out and drink wine and golf during parties. The individual who designed the estate’s two-tier putting greens, was in charge of the greens at Trump National Golf Course…where he was truly a visionary in developing the flow and design.”

Another specialty of this estate comprises the aforementioned wine cellar designed by Don and his daughter. “We have an electronic inventory tracking system with column and row numbers to manage the wine,” says Don. “We have had some great parties with up to 20 people who have hung out in the wine cellar going up the ladder, pulling magnums and enjoying the tasting, it’s truly an experience. The cellar is completely sealed like a space ship, and has a separate cooling system to keep the wine at optimal levels, using two split-air units to keep the temperature between 55-59 or 57 degrees.”

This property also boasts five fountains, including a Signature Travertine fountain from Italy, and an oversized Jacuzzi with waterfalls by the golf course. Encircling walls and wrought iron fencing maintains safety and privacy for children and animals. In addition, 2816 Via Anapaca has a lovely English outdoor garden. Revealing their outdoor plan, Don says, “Our goal was to have numerous  settings and vistas with different feels as friends and family joined us…we were successful in creating this private estate feeling.”

Material details in the home include “warm” carved hickory on the second floor, chosen by Dianne, and stone hand selected by their friends, the Battaglias, who also helped with patio and countertop decisions on the main floor, the double mud Spanish tiles on the roof, and a media room with video games on a big screen for the kids and their friends as part of the family room.

The estate’s large corner lot is within prime proximity to the beach, schools and shopping. The Eckers have created their own private paradise at home with waterfalls, a spa and heated balcony views—one that would be hard for anyone to leave. But as the Eckers say, “We will miss our home, but we want to move closer to our children and grandchildren at this stage of our life.” This Palos Verdes Estates home is ready to be the place for new joyful experiences.

Polished Home

A five-bedroom Cape Cod abode in a prime Brentwood location offers casual elegance and high walkability for the very definition of easy living.

Written by Abigial Stone | Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by F. Ron Smith, Partners Trust
Designed by Architecture West
Built by Ecogreen Construction
List price $4,790,000

The slender triangle bordered by San Vicente, Wilshire and 26th Street, and which enfolds Brentwood Country Club, is one of Brentwood’s hidden gems. While much of Los Angeles is car-centric, one of this lush neighborhood’s charms is its walkability. To Brentwood Country Mart for coffee or some shopping; to eateries like Toscana and Sugarfish along San Vicente; to Vicente Market, Whole Foods or Brentwood Farmers’ Market for groceries. This is an area in which one can experience the forgotten pleasures of an afternoon stroll or a romantic evening walk home. And, within this enclave sits 916 S. Gretna Green.

The promise of casual glamour put forth by the Cape Cod-style of the home’s exterior—a grass-crete driveway, a portico over the entry, and a tree casting shade over the front yard—is amplified the moment you step through the door. With pale French Oak floors, soaring ceilings and a view that stretches from the front door to the back of the house, the initial impression is of light and space. Here, one pauses to take it all in before entering the open-plan living room. A coffered ceiling over the attached dining room, a temperature-controlled wine closet that holds 500 bottles and a well-placed coat closet and powder room are some of the thoughtful details that make these rooms perfect for refined entertaining. Unlike some homes that bring the kitchen into the living area, the formal living room and dining room at the front of the house have been subtlety separated from the kitchen and family room that stretch across the back of the house. A chef, hired for the evening, would be right at home in the expansive gourmet kitchen, with its generously proportioned Carrara marble-topped island and long breakfast bar, plus the latest appliances—drawer microwave, Wolf range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, durable CultureStone counters. With the chaos of meal preparations removed from prying eyes, dinner appears as if by magic.

All this, and yet, the home—its deft design balancing formal and informal, open-plan rooms with divided spaces—just as easily supports casual entertaining.

Bi-fold doors fully open the family room to the backyard, celebrating the indooroutdoor lifestyle that is a hallmark of everything that’s great about living in Los Angeles. Mornings feel a little less harried when they begin with a morning swim in the pool and the day feels a little less stressful when it ends with a soak in the Jacuzzi. The smallest details have been attended to in this home’s creation: there’s a door to the outside for when the bi-fold doors are closed; easy-care porcelain tiled floors handle feet wet from swimming and a coffee bar is poised for action. Sitting outside in the garden at night, glass of wine in-hand, light from the family room illuminates the home’s other occupants and serenity descends.

With five bedrooms, four upstairs and one downstairs, each with its own private bath, this house easily invites a generous assortment of family, guests, or live-in assistance. Upstairs, too, thoughtful gestures enhance fine living. Cement tiled floors are not only beautiful, but their texture is warm and soft underfoot and, because of their porous qualities, unlikely to be slippery. Water-saving Toto  toilets offer bidet features. The tiled laundry room keeps this area immaculate and within easy reach of generous closet spaces whose storage areas are tucked behind glass doors. The master bathroom is designed to give individual inhabitants their own space. The window over the Jacuzzi spa tub frosts over at a flick of the switch, ensuring privacy while also welcoming light. The balcony in the master suite looks out over the backyard and there’s a smaller bedroom nearby that’s perfect for a baby’s room. The two bedrooms upfront, one with a balcony, are perfect for older children or guests. There’s a small terrace and a cozy sitting area on the second floor landing just outside these rooms, with space for a desk so that parents can monitor the computer use of young children. Downstairs, just to the right of the front door, is another office, perfectly placed for keeping an eye on comings and goings.

Some homes are designed for the moment. Not this one. Created with style and ease in mind, this home is designed for forever.

Twice As Nice

Promising infinite possibilities, a pair of lot-sharing town-homes make for one appealing property

Written by Wendy Bowman

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well with these luxurious oversized townhomes situated on a beautiful corner lot at 12127 Dorothy Street—at the intersection of Gretna Green Way—within walking distance from a weekly farmers’ market and first-rate shops and restaurants in the heart of Los Angeles’ charming and affluent Brentwood area. From a landlord’s dream (two separate units with no rent control and leases projected upwards of $12,000) to a home of one’s own, infinite possibilities await the new owners of this sweet Mediterranean-style compound built in 2005.

“One of the most interesting things about this property is that it could be subdivided—meaning after you buy them, you could sell one off—or you could live in one and rent the other,” says listing agent John Hathorn of Santa Monica based real estate firm Pence Hathorn Silver, Partners Trust. “It also could be a great family compound, and it even pencils out as just an investment if someone wanted another couple of rental properties. Any way you look at it—occupying both, renting both, or living in one while renting the other—all help defray the cost of ownership,” he adds. “That’s what the client is doing now; he lives in the bigger house and has a tenant in the smaller house.”

At more than 5,000 square feet, the front six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bath gated town-home—Unit 102—recently was updated and is completely turnkey with a new kitchen brandishing professional-grade, stainless-steel Viking appliances, designer cabinetry and a large granite-topped center island; modernized baths; an acoustically enhanced movie theater; and attractive brick-paved courtyards and patios. Special touches throughout include chandeliers, a copper-inlaid ceiling and hardwood flooring. The second home on the lot—Unit 101—is a tad smaller, at about 4,000 square feet, and encompasses five bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths. Many of the same details are apparent in both of the multilevel homes, including a light and airy open floor plan with plenty of towering ceilings, sliding pocket doors and terraced balconies; formal dining and living rooms; a family room featuring a cozy fireplace; and a spacious master suite with walk-in closet, fireplace, and bath featuring a relaxing spa tub, standalone shower, and his and her vanities. Rounding out the special appeal of each individual unit is a fully finished basement with laundry room and direct access to a private garage, as well as a huge rooftop sundeck with city and mountain views that’s perfect for entertaining, and a small maintenance-free yard.

“Brentwood is a actually a big market—you could be in Brentwood Hills or Brentwood Park on the 1-acre parcels or one of the canyons like Mandeville or Kenter,” Hathorn says. “There also are lots of condos and town-homes, and there are rental properties … but if you just want to own rental units, you are usually limited to small apartments or condos.

“This is sort of the best of both worlds,” he adds. “You have the size, scale and big basement of a single-family home, but not the maintenance headache of property that a house like this might typically be found on.”

This Brentwood gem is a rare find indeed, offering everything from access to a cadre of amenities in one of L.A.’s best places to live, along with a combined 9,000-plus square feet of living space on a single parcel of land. Welcome home!

Three Stories Tall

A Beach Home Bathed in Natural Light Glows- Inside and Out.

Written by Nicole Borgenicht | Presented by Ellis Posner of Teles Properties
List Price $5,000,000
For more information and 3D and video tour, visit

Spanning nearly 6,000 square feet, this California beach-modern abode in Redondo Beach houses several exclusive features. Among them is an alluring steel and teak staircase (“one of the key design elements of the house,” say homeowners Alan and Lindsay Ho); designer lighting, from chandeliers to multiple elegant pendant fixtures; up to 14-foot ceilings, and a big elevator to accommodate a large multigenerational family (including small children, teens and grandparents) and their lifestyle. As such, the Hos chose an area three blocks from the beach for their expansive custom build.

As co-owner of custom lighting company INLIGHT International with her sisters, Lindsay Ho designed the home’s wonderful glass, Swarovski crystals and stainless steel lighting on dimmers. The company also custom fabricated the staircase, various built-in cabinets and bamboo doors.

Smooth stucco, bamboo siding and quartz stone on the outside, with a three-car garage, this contemporary home is built with slick surface wood flooring leading to a double wide indoor-outdoor family room, spacious bedrooms and a luxurious living room. In addition, there is 500 square feet of decks and balconies on which to enjoy the beach air and an ocean rooftop view. The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home also includes a private suite on the first floor. “The East and West on the third level are divided by a library and another bedroom for our young child, which is easy access for the master bedroom, but also far enough to allow privacy. The library provides the ideal space to do homework and as a hang out with the kids, while the family room was used frequently for family TV time. The en-suite on the first floor is completely secluded from the rest of the bedrooms, perfect for our parents who come and visit a few days a week,” says Lindsay.

Highlights in the home comprise the aforementioned indoor-outdoor family room with media and outdoor terrace great for parties, as well as the rooftop deck (furniture optional). It has an ocean view, as does the master bedroom. The master bath is equipped with a sunken tub and river rock tiling. Plus the gourmet kitchen has an Iron Chef commercial grade stove, as used on the Food Network show. There is a 48” Subzero fridge, food warmer, beverage and wine fridge, plus modern kitchen bar seating and tables arranged for social kitchen area gatherings.

With so many distinctive qualities, this Redondo Beach Beauty has been a featured “Home of The Week” in the Los Angeles Times.

A gorgeous wall of windows coats the house, filling the home with natural light that gives it a glow, while lighting dimmers treat its three stories to variable moods, day or night. Naturally, the Hos say, “We get spectacular views of the sunset, ocean and the Palos Verdes hills, not to mention a lot of light and warmth during the winter. Electronic blinds throughout the house provide protection against the sun and privacy when needed.”

With so many distinctive qualities, this Redondo Beach beauty has been a featured “Home of the Week” in the Los Angeles Times. After all, given its address on a friendly street—one of the quietest in the area—with a historic home next door and generations of homeowners in the quaint community just one block west of Pacific Coast Highway, the house is a headliner.

Revitalized Living

A fresh take on the modern farmhouse in Manhattan Beach.

Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Randi and Stewart Fournier of Fournier & Fournier/MRG, INC.
List price $4,449,000

Perfectly located in a quiet pocket of Ardmore is a home that strikes a harmonious balance between beach-modern and traditional-farmhouse. Elevated high above the street, the home towers over treetops and the green belt in a stately manner. The lovely manicured front yard is quite expansive, providing space for a quintessential front porch that runs the length of the 4463-square-foot home. Considering the well-timed opening of The Point, close proximity to Manhattan Beach Country Club and renovation plans for Manhattan Village, this pedestrian-friendly property combines the feeling of downtown living with the tranquility and breadth of a tree section location. Sitting on a 7500-square-foot lot, the home is high priority among discerning buyers, with two stories, five bedrooms, a yard, plus a pool and Jacuzzi.

Upon entering the home, its sheer volume is evident via an infinite sense of space. Ceilings soar to 26 feet with windows climbing the full height of the wall. Credit the profuse light to transom windows installed above all outer windows and inner doorways on the first floor, as well as colossal French doors throughout.

“The theme for the house was to build upon the juxtaposition of traditional farmhouse elements, while blending them with the modern contemporary home,” explains builder Matt Armato of Titan & Co. A perfect example of this combination is the European distressed wide plank oak flooring arranged in a herringbone pattern, representing traditional style, with hardware and cleaner moldings promoting a modern aesthetic. Equally notable are carefully selected colors; soft contemporary Benjamin Moore paints in classic white; soft, greenish-blue Sea Glass, and for cabinetry, Morning Dew. While tempered blues and greens add to the overall serenity of the home, white and ecru tones lay a minimalist foundation that highlights its special features. The culmination of these themes brings forth a comforting and revitalizing sensibility.

Clearly, this residence benefits from impeccable planning by architect Dave Watson, with a floor-plan that carefully balances openness and separation. After ambling through the foyer into the large family room with a grand Carrara marble fireplace, open kitchen and breakfast nook, a hallway leads from living room to guest quarters, along the way passing a lovely pair of sea-glass blue barn doors that slide open and close off the large den. This flexible space also opens to the backyard through French doors, thus creating the option of having an enclosed television room with built-in surround sound for a home theater feeling, or a huge open playroom for kids to bounce to and from the grassy lawn. Uniquely, especially given today’s focus on the open concept, this home reflects the growing desire for residences with intimate spaces. Adding privacy are the home’s windows, which are strategically placed to conceal the sights and sounds of Ardmore from any level or angle. The exception is its two front rooms, which create a sort of buffer between the street and the back of the home, where life takes place.

Enhancing the home’s uniqueness are its details. Individually inspired Carrara marble designs, like that which is used for the aforementioned monumental fireplace, are featured throughout, for flooring and countertops in the kitchen and baths.

Comparatively, white subway tiles of differing format and size are used in each bath for fluidity and fluctuation. In the kitchen, a built-in farm table was installed in lieu of the typical high bar for a true farm-kitchen feeling. The adjacent breakfast nook, which is surrounded by large, high-rising windows, imparts a feeling of dining outside.

Noteworthy custom wainscoting draws attention, as do intriguing cabinets with mesh paneling reminiscent of chicken wire, done in upscale fashion. For the entertainer, a large butler pantry with an authentic farmhouse design, plus its own walk-in pantry, are meticulously placed between the kitchen and formal dining room. The more traditionally detailed dining room houses a tailor-made built-in wine cellar for easy access during dinner parties.

Moving up to the large open landing, the bedroom layout is consistent with an open floor plan, but with hallways and linen closets separating spaces. All bedrooms include walk-in closets, private bathrooms and hardwood floors, with most featuring vaulted ceilings. The master suite is separated from the other bedrooms and craft room by a loft area with built-in cabinetry and a large balcony; ideal for an open homework area, office or TV room. After passing through the master’s small foyer, the ceilings impressively climb to where they overlook beautiful maple trees that help reinforce the home’s contemporary farmhouse style, transporting one to another place. The enormous closet, meanwhile, has carefully appointed built-in dressers; separate his-and-her walk-in closets, and a window seat for easy dressing. The master bath is dreamy with a freestanding soaker tub, polished chrome plumbing fixtures, faucets and hardware.

The peaceful backyard is a lovely retreat with a large salt-water pool and Jacuzzi. Furthermore, the entire backside of the home opens up to an extensive wrap-around deck adorned with Pennsylvania blue stone and vintage inspired light fixtures. Similarly, there’s carry over from the color scheme with white glass tiles and blue stonework in the pool area. The pebble tech pool surface is a deeper blue that better retains heat and evokes the Mediterranean Sea. Beautiful landscaping and bright green grass surround the pool and scads of deck space. Equally impressive, the marble outdoor shower and powder room make for perfect pool companions.

The home’s details and selling points are vast. While offering the opportunity for a revitalizing lifestyle with a sparkling pool, invigorating design and pedestrian capabilities, this fresh-take modern farmhouse is a must-see. By the same token, Armato concludes, “The house is flexible and intentionally created to be a pliable home that a family would never outgrow. It is a home that you can blend living casually and entertaining formally together.” From all perspectives, the builder has not missed a beat in creating a model Manhattan Beach lifestyle home.

More Than Meets the Eye

Interior designer Noelle Parks brings fresh, urbane flavor to South Bay homes.

Most creatives can relate to the phenomenon of stumbling across their most promising ideas while off the clock. It’s the random street scene, a visit to an unfamiliar spot or even going through the motions of an everyday mundane task that can bring forth inspirational gold when one least expects it. For interior designer Noelle Parks, new ideas might spark while flipping through a magazine, traveling or walking down the street with a friend. “Different places we walk, or even something they’ll talk about, will inspire an idea,” she explains, sitting in her sunny, white-washed studio and showroom, Noelle Interiors, located on Manhattan Avenue.

Since starting her design business in 2005, Parks has been called on to bring her creative acumen to a slew of South Bay homes that range in style from wood-filled French Country and sleek Mid-Century Modern to crisp, colorful Beach Cottage and Plantation-style homes. Her versatility and strict fidelity to the aesthetic premise of a given structure are among her strong suits, honed in part from years of working with architects, notably Jim Fasola at Manhattan Beach’s Fasola Architects, where she was in-house designer for over three years.

“It is important to coordinate my designs with the style of the architecture,” she says. “I love walking through spaces where the interior design and architecture are in harmony, down to the finishes and all the little details.” Her tutelage in building, however, began years earlier in small-town West Virginia. “My dad is a contractor, so I grew up on the job site, ever since I was a little kid,” says Parks, who recalls packing her car just a day after graduating from West Virginia University with an interior design degree and heading to California.

Though Parks’ firm tackles projects across the style spectrum, there is a distinct  ribbon that cuts across all their endeavors. “I do have a contemporary spin on any style we do,” she says of her handprint, which is au courant and beach friendly, yet sophisticated by way of studied layers and clean angles, large-format patterns and soft, fresh color. “I’m more about bigger forms and shapes versus little tiny curvilinear details.” It’s an approach that is elemental and holistic, and takes the full territory of a home into account, rather than “design that’s just to fill a space with a bunch of decor and furniture.”

“Every piece is unique and really makes sense and you can’t live without it in the space,” the designer says of the finished product. “Chevron is one of my favorite patterns, so you will see that a lot in my projects. I also love white, and blue and gray, so sometimes it’s hard to pull me away from those.” These and other signatures are well represented in her showroom, which opened in June 2014 and is tastefully equipped with custom pillows and furniture, much of it designed by Parks herself. There are also woven textiles, rolled bolts of rich fabrics and tidy design stations where her associates work away.

The space is situated amidst a row of restaurants and boutiques, a location that encourages people to stop by and take a look. “I just love being right on Manhattan Avenue,” says Parks. And if one is looking for some help with their DIY design project, she offers consultations that include an hour-long visit to the space in question, followed by a presentation board from the designer. With all the moving parts involved in even the most straightforward design projects, Parks insists there are many benefits to getting a pro’s eye on your project, someone who can say, “This is how you can keep moving forward to make it all look good in the end.”

Noelle Interiors
815 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Southern Warmth

A traditional home mingles the ease of Southern California living with old world graciousness and enjoyment.

Written by Abigial Stone | Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Beverly and Kimberly Gold, Gibson International
List price $6,995,000

Though it’s just over a mile walk to the Village of Pacific Palisades, Ridgeview Country Estates seems a world away from Los Angeles and, indeed, from the challenges of the modern world. The wide and curving streets of the 24-hour guard-gated community just north of Sunset offer a secluded setting for early morning jogs and after-dinner walks, a safe haven for young children on bikes and teenagers on hoverboards, and a place where owners of canine companions greet neighbors who’ve become friends. Tucked within this area, on a quiet cul-de-sac,is 1459 Via Cresta. With its white columned façade set back from the street across a wide swath of lush green lawn, it evokes another time, when afternoons were meant for conversing on the porch. This gracious and welcoming entrance sets the stage for a home that is generously proportioned yet intimate in scale.

Carrying this initial impression of elegance throughout the home are custom details: a highly polished wood floor that spreads out from the front door, a graceful wooden banister, carved baseboards and window cornices. To the left of the entrance is the formal living room, which is centered around one of the home’s seven fireplaces. The adjacent dining room offers a temperature-controlled wine cellar that stores close to 500 bottles. All showcase the home’s formal side, a perfect setting for a sit-down dinner or an elegant cocktail party. French doors separate these rooms from the back of the house.

It’s beyond those doors that the home reveals its playful and casual heart. The bright and inviting French country-style open plan kitchen wraps a family room, dining nook and breakfast bar into its embrace. Bright light seems to emanate from the whitewashed brick on the floor and fireplace wall. Glass-paned doors open one side of this room to both the exterior and a unique heated outdoor living room. It’s easy to imagine days spent out here, one hour rolling into the next, playing darts or a game of pool on the full-sized pool table. Armchair athletes, meanwhile, can watch their favorite team on a television cleverly hidden inside a cabinet. As the sun spreads its rays over the distant Santa Monica coastline, friends arrive for drinks, brightened with citrus from the property’s fruit trees, before a dinner of steaks is grilled to perfection on the built-in outdoor barbecue. Adults linger around the pool and Jacuzzi while the kids scurry off to play basketball or practice their ollies on the half-pipe skateboard ramp set on the hillside just below the garden level.

When the weather turns chilly or damp, the upstairs library, with its finely carved wooden pub imported from England, home theater and fireplace, offer the perfect refuge for watching movies or just hanging out. Little wonder that this is the house where everyone finds themselves—it was designed for easy entertaining.

The home’s private spaces are as carefully considered and comfortable as its public ones. The spacious master bedroom embraces sweeping views of the mountains and beach, along with the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier shimmering in the distance. The window in the steam shower over the spa tub frames the pristine Santa Monica Mountains to the north. Adding further magnificence to this suite’s amenities, one of the home’s six bedrooms has been converted into a closet, ensuring that its inhabitants have ample room for clothing and accessories. Two other bedrooms on this floor also enjoy generous closet space and bathrooms. A terrace off the master bedroom is an intimate spot in which to enjoy a quiet tête-à-tête outdoors, while a sitting porch overlooks the front of the house.

At 6,200 square feet, the home’s generous floor plan also offers two additional guest suites that may be used as either bedrooms or home offices. One, tucked into the first floor with a view of the front lawn, is the perfect spot from which to keep an eye on small children tumbling on the grass or the comings and goings of household staff. The other, boasting a fireplace and just upstairs from the library, mirrors the master bedroom’s sweeping views. Public and private, secluded and convenient, intimate and grand, elegant and informal—why choose when living here means having it all?

Illuminated Elegance

Escape to contemporary-plantation dream world in Manhattan Beach.

Written by Jocelyn Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Raju Chhabria, Shorewood Realtors
List price $3,599,900

When asked to describe his latest east Manhattan Beach stunner in two words, builder Raju Chhabria, without hesitation, replies, “Dream world.” And that it is! As you enter the elegantly appointed home, you are transported into a space illuminated with natural light that highlights its rich aesthetics and sophisticated palette. While the home is filled with bright white walls, wainscoting, pillars and molding, the gray-washed walnut floors and charcoal gray coffered ceilings soften it to create an intimate feeling, despite its grand scale.

The home, spanning just over 5,000 square feet with two stories, encompasses five baths, three large bedroom suites, a grand all-custom master suite upstairs, and an additional guest bedroom on the lower level. Also featured on the first floor is a breakfast nook, formal dining room, walk-in pantry, mudroom and office with private balcony; additionally, there’s a formal living room, family room and posh bar with attached wine cellar. The second floor also presents a playroom with balcony, laundry room, seating area and outdoor lounge.

Featured throughout the contemporary plantation-style home is Calcutta marble, which creates a prestigious yet relaxed feel, further fostered with impeccably selected designer shades in soft neutrals with scant splashes of black. The home gleams with gray plantation shutters and bright white wood siding, with its fresh sense of modern luxury due to the open floor plan and clean lines. When collaborating on the style of home built on the large lot, Raju shares, “We desired to create a home that was open with lots of height and light for the client with a desire to entertain and…of course, discerning taste.” Raju continues by crediting the home’s exquisite interiors and architectural design to Luis de Moraes of EnviroTechno, with whom he works side-by-side on projects. “This is our signature style,” Raju clarifies. “Luis and I create homes that are custom and completely unique from one another. While the style may be similar to another of our homes, each property will have its own unique flair and finishings—there will never be any duplication.”

Plentiful throughout the palatial home is light pouring through skylights and massive paned windows. Custom-built 20-foot sliding French doors open up the home on the east side to a lovely courtyard between the office/guest room and the dining room, adding to the indoor/outdoor living experience. An additional 20-foot slider at the far end of the home draws the eye immediately to a tranquil waterfall that beckons you to the large backyard. Meanwhile, passing through the stately family room, with soaring two-story ceilings that astonish, the opulent fireplace captures attention with stacked quarry rock and Calcutta marble rising up as if to the sky. Grand paned windows and sliding French doors are placed symmetrically on either side of the fireplace for the perfect balance of drama and art. There’s not a detail missed; even the wrought iron on the Romeo and Juliette balcony and the stairwells are custom, a design blending classic plantation style and modern sensibility.

The home’s luxury resort tone lays the foundation for an entertainer’s dream, while remaining entirely practical. With no wasted space, this dwelling is completely livable, flowing easily from room to room. “The heart of this home is undefined due to our approach to design,” explains Luis. “In planning, our goal was to create spaces that will all be inviting and completely functional.” Moreover, just off the living room is a beautifully designed bar with marble countertops, glass-door cabinets and a wine cellar with gray cabinetry to exhibit a luxury wine collection. The idea of celebrating a vast repertoire of wine with dinner party guests, without needing to disappear downstairs for  another bottle, is genius and perfectly convenient. “We believe in creating a floor plan for the entertaining owner, where they can constantly engage with guests, with the bar and wine cellar, kitchen and dining room, all within a few steps,” adds Luis.

The gourmet kitchen wows with an impressively seamless slab of marble paired with gray and white cabinetry throughout, and complete with a Wolf range and noteworthy custom-built black hood finished in brushed nickel. A butler pantry is comprised of a builtin coffee and cappuccino maker with microwave and walk-in pantry. Bringing you to the more intimate family room and outdoor living area are French doors that open almost the entire back end of the home—the large backyard being perfect for entertaining with a modern fire pit and outdoor kitchen with granite counters and stone flooring for a plush outdoor experience.

Traveling up the gorgeous stairwell you find three bedroom suites and the aforementioned master suite. The bedroom suites all include en-suite baths, each uniquely designed, and featuring custom builtin window seating and a balcony. Each bedroom has vaulted ceilings with crisp white wood siding and ceiling fans, while the front guest room has a lovely living area and outdoor balcony for guest privacy and enjoyment.

Passing along the grand stairwell filled with cascading light, you enter the master suite through a private foyer. This sumptuous escape includes two fireplaces: one in the bedroom, the other in the bath. The bedroom offers vaulted ceilings in the main area as well as the separate seating area, along with built-in cabinetry, two ceiling fans and gray washed walnut hardwood floors. The enormous walk-in closet with hardwood flooring contains dazzling white built-in cabinetry and an island with natural light from the closet window. Across the foyer is the floor-to-ceiling marble bathroom with steam shower and separate his-and-hers sinks. The fireplace by the bath makes this space the ultimate retreat. Off the master suite is a large balcony overlooking the spacious backyard, creating a place within which to relax and relish California’s beautiful weather.

This contemporary plantation is perfect for those who truly love life and entertaining and desire only the best. The home is the ultimate blend of sophistication and relaxation between its carefully selected materials and elegant palette; resulting in a luxury escape that genuinely is a dream world to come home to.

Fine Design

A look at LA-Based Laurel & Wolf through its eyes-on-the-prize founder Leura Fine

Written by Jenn Thornton | Interior photos courtesy of Chriselle Lim | Headshot photo courtesy of Ben Hoffman

Accessibility is a luxury, a notion Leura Fine’s online design platform, Laurel & Wolf, is banking on to revolutionize the design industry—a realm she knows well. The 28-year-old interior designer-turned-CEO cut her teeth working alongside titan of good taste Martyn Lawrence Bullard on everything from celebrity residences and Italian castles to co-branded product lines and reality TV (Million Dollar Decorators). Here, she details the finer points of merging design and technology—with virtual ease.

Why Laurel & Wolf?

As an interior designer, I saw how technology had drastically shifted the way people were approaching designing their homes and businesses. Pinterest and Houzz were often used for inspiration, and e-commerce had made better-looking products accessible to customers at a wide array of price points, but still wasn’t solving the problem of putting it all together. Everything around interior design was moving into the future, except for design services. It seemed crazy to me. I would meet people who desperately wanted and needed professional design help but couldn’t afford it or didn’t understand how to access interior designers. Meanwhile, almost every designer I know was looking for ways of building their own businesses. Other opaque and offline industries have successfully leveraged technology to move into the future, so why shouldn’t interior design?

Has the response surprised you?

The response has been truly amazing. Our clients are very diverse. We have designed everything from Modern to Coastal spaces within varying budgets. Our clients are looking to be understood by designers, for [designers] to provide savvy designs, and for Laurel & Wolf to support the process.

How does the process work?

Laurel & Wolf’s talented interior designers from across the country leverage our proprietary easy-to-use platform. Instead of paying per hour, as with a traditional interior design firm, clients pay a one-time flat fee to receive designs and design expertise from Laurel & Wolf designers. After taking our fun style quiz and providing information about their spaces, clients launch a design project and begin receiving  preliminary style boards—three to six, typically—called ‘First Looks’ from designers.

Clients pick a winning designer and work one-on-one with that person to complete the design of their space. Our Final Design Package includes final style boards, a floor plan, set-up instructions and shopping list with links to all products.

Why is this approach resonating?

Laurel & Wolf’s online marketplace model uniquely solves the pain of finding and working with a designer who matches clients’ personal design aesthetics at affordable rates. We connect designers to customers nationwide without them having to spend time or money on marketing costs, admin, billing, contracts and more. We set clear expectations on both sides of the marketplace and provide easy and open communication channels, so that it is a far more collaborative process than ever before.

You’ve essentially streamlined the process, making it more efficient for both designer and client.

Our process is easy to use, easy to access and collaborative. Our thinking is that you can have custom items made and site visits and oversee installations and do the things that need to be done in person for the clients who can afford it, but there is no reason why every design process shouldn’t happen virtually.

How are designers selected?

We work with hundreds of designers who specialize in different areas and styles of design. Designers are carefully hand-vetted; we review their education, work experience and portfolio to ensure the quality of work on our platform. They all understand that great design is when form meets function. They’re savvy in space planning, material selection, lighting design and have the taste to put beautiful things together.

What’s next for Laurel & Wolf?

We plan on building Laurel & Wolf into a global brand—a massive undertaking, but we feel well positioned to take on the challenge and are extremely excited about the future of the company. We are determined to change the way the world thinks about the spaces that they live and work in. It is time to democratize design and Laurel & Wolf is the company that will do it.

Laurel & Wolf
708 N. Croft Avenue, West Hollywood CA 90069


A True Original

From architect to archetype, Frank Lloyd Wright’s painstakingly restored Hollyshock house blooms anew.

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photos courtesy of

On the surface, oil heiress Aline Barnsdall and architect Frank Lloyd Wright align as ideal bedfellows. Both were eccentric, even radical; and when their paths crossed for a friction-fueled commission in the early 1920s, the nonconformists were leading lives that diverged dramatically from the mores of their era. This apparent compatibility implies that they also shared some degree of visionary ideals that were complementary, a “belief in the power of art to transform humanity,” suggests Jeffrey Herr, curator of Hollyhock House, the centerpiece of Barnsdall Art Park.

Regardless of what prompted the collaboration, Barnsdall hired Wright to helm what she envisioned as a “theatre complex” to nurture experimental art set on a 36-acre site in Los Angeles. At the center of Barnsdall’s ambitious scheme was Hollyhock House, a sprawling Mayan Revival residence built around a central courtyard, with a series of spaces hemmed in by colonnades, pergolas and porches. Especially notable was that the prototypical “open-plan” design considered Southern California’s moderate climes.

Construction, however, was something of a production—a drama between its two leads beset by ballooning costs, artistic differences and protracted distance. Ensconced in Tokyo and at work on the Imperial Hotel, Wright was often away, while his assistant, Richard Schindler, served as project manager and, eventually, his replacement. By 1927, beleaguered by the entire experience, Barnsdall donated Hollyhock House—in which she never actually lived—to the City of Los Angeles.

In the years since, Hollyhock House underwent a succession of repairs largely indifferent to Wright’s original plan—the most unsympathetic conducted by his own son, Lloyd Wright, in the late 1940s and mid-70s. No undertaking, however, proved more epic than the four-year restoration that earlier this year reintroduced

the Hollyhock House of Wright’s imagination as a Los Angeles icon, one widely thought to have helped propagate a celebrated architectural aesthetic.

“Wright’s use of interior space for domestic use at Hollyhock House had a profound influence on Richard Schindler, and his friend Richard Neutra, both of whom went on to develop vital architectural practices in Southern California and were instrumental in creating California Modernism,” says Herr.

This influence is still seen in Hollyhock House’s defining elements: the dissolving wall between exterior and interior, the loosely delineated interior spaces and, in one of Wright’s few concessions to his client, pervasive abstractions of the Hollyhock design, most striking of which is above the grand fireplace. Elsewhere, among many other improvements, are replacements of roofs and draining systems as well as recreations of the loggia and mahogany kitchen counters. The recent restoration efforts also reversed many changes made by Lloyd Wright.

Through all its incarnations, Hollyhock House remains quintessential to Wright’s architectural legacy in LA, and to the city itself. Put another way, Herr says, it “fits comfortably within its era and the urban fabric of a city that is as real as it is ephemeral.”

Hollyshock House
4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90027

Neocolonial Mix

A spacious palisades family home filled with refreshing traditionalism, fresh-air spaces and modern delights comes to current-day California.

Written by Constance Dunn|Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Michael Edlen, Coldwell Banker Previews International
List price: $5,950,000

There’s always an element of risk in experimenting with fanciful combinations, or fusing together different or unlikely styles. When it works, though, the payoff is something singular, new and novel. Such is the case with a new family home that has risen on Monument Street, along the hill and just north of Palisades Village.

“I had a vision of how it was going to look,” says developer and builder Itay Mevorakh of the trim white structure, which spans three floors and approximately 5,800 square feet. It’s a skill he chalks up to years of development and building, of the hands-on variety, as evidenced by his well-worn Ram pickup and dusty denims. “Once you see the lot, it’s second nature. You know exactly where everything is going to go.” In this case, “everything” includes a classically styled home spiked with current day luxuries, from a theater and pool deck to a rooftop lounge with sparkling Pacific Ocean views.


For this project, Mevorakh’s vision resulted in a home that smoothly combines classic American styles, with Colonial being the most dominant. Prototypes of this genre include a one-story, covered entry porch supported by a pair of classical columns. This, plus door surrounds with rectangular transom lights and a double-row of sidelights (windows along the side). Then it gets really interesting. The flat roofline is interrupted by twin, low-slope dormers and an exterior covered with a mix of crisp, board and batten siding and tidy brick. The juxtaposition of these uber-traditional claddings keeps the bright white exterior from looking too stark, and effectively cloaks the home in a traditional look at first glance.

Inside there’s little stylistic ambiguity, as the home brims with high-toned Colonial details, sometimes freely interpreted, but always meticulous. “When you walk into the home, it gives you a different feeling than almost any of the other relatively new developer homes in the area,” says realtor Michael Edlen, a local real estate veteran and Pacific Palisades resident for over 40 years. “It’s brighter. It has wider spaces. And it has attention to design details that you don’t typically find.”


These details include 9-inch floor planks of European white oak throughout (“I love solid planks because no one does them anymore, and I like the feel when you walk on them,” says Mevorakh), along with built-in custom cabinetry, from study and office bookcases to built-in benches and even a strapping Colonial hallway hutch. The home’s central staircase is a classic vision, with slender white balusters set against a glossy, maple-hued handrail that ends in an elegant spiral. Throughout the home, there’s intricate crown and base molding and refined wainscoting. Ceilings are elevated and coffered, with corniced or sport tongueand- groove patterns. Standout materials include white slabs of Carrara marble in the kitchen— topping the central island and lining the walls—that was sourced from upmarket supplier Walker Zanger. A rectangular Kallista bathtub is perched along a trio of windows in the master bathroom, which is filled with natural Calacatta gold marble from Italy. These and other attentive design touches Mevorakh credits to high-end designer Keren Mevorakh, a sibling with whom he enjoys a creatively symbiotic partnership on his projects due to their matching sensibilities of taste.


“This house will appeal to a larger family, and one with junior high and high school students. It’s a perfect floorplan,” says Edlen. “The separation of space will also appeal to a multi-generational family.”

He’s got a point. Each of the six bedrooms is a spacious hideaway with a well-turned-out bathroom, stocked with premium lighting, fixtures and finishes. One can room on the ground floor, with doors that open directly onto the tree-flanked pool deck, or head to the street-level floor, where the balcony doors in the guest suite lead to the side yard. The top floor is home to four more bedrooms, including the voluminous, sunny master with a fresh-air balcony.

The scale of the rooms and common areas strike a thoughtful balance: spacious, even grand, but never cavernous. The main hallways are 8-feet wide, and there are 10-foot ceilings throughout. “Some of the newer homes don’t have a consistency of the ceiling height that this home has,” points out Edlen. Another refreshing distinction has to do with the separation of living, dining and lounging areas. Instead of an all-out open floorplan in common areas, rooms are set apart from each other via intermediary spaces or decorous square arches. “It’s a way of connecting the kitchen and family room, which everyone wants,” offers Edlen of the intimate meeting area between the two areas. “But without having them both on top of each other.”


When Mevorakh first stepped onto the lot, he was struck by an idea that would become a high point of the home. “I saw how the bottom floor was going to flow into the backyard, the pool and the deck,” he explains.

“That was the first vision I had—and I was sold on it.” The hub of entertaining is found on this floor, with carefully carved out spaces: a cinema with tiered levels, a bar with a walk-in wine closet and an open game hall that adjoins a sedate sitting lounge. Fling open the wall of glass doors and the space expands to include a pool deck with a fireplace gathering area and a grilling space, both lined in trim white brick. From the floor above, there’s easy access to this outdoor area via a short flight of steps that connects to a porch spanning the width of the home.

Whether sitting at a porch table or lounging poolside, one is surrounded by a who’s who of local trees that span from palms to pines, mostly old growth and pleasantly towering. Other star outdoor spaces include the rooftop deck. This intimate hideaway features unfettered views of the ocean and the surrounding topography, a peaceful combination of elegant homes—like the charmed Mediterranean across the street—interspersed by mountains and green treetops.

Even on the rooftop, Mevorakh has not forgotten to reinforce the traditional look of the home. There are Colonial-style lantern lights, plus classic crown molding along the entranceway and the rake of a roofline dormer, which borders the deck along one side. This place is peaceful and sunny, and only two minutes away by car, or less than 10 minutes on foot, one can find themselves among the mellow buzz of cafes and markets along Sunset Boulevard. Musing more on the ideal match for the home, Edlen says, “This house is great for a family that wants to be near the village, which most people do if they can. And someone who likes a view. Someone who is not satisfied with a standard home on a standard lot.”

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