Sweet Digs

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.

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.”

Enduring Beach Contemporary

A pair of East Coast musicians compose an architectural oasis along the North Hermosa Beach Strand

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Kristen Novoa, Vista Sotheby’s International Realty
List price $10,750,000

At three stories, the sand-hued residence that sits along North Hermosa’s Strand makes a fitting companion to the premium collection of high-style residences that lines this peaceful stretch of beachfront. Step inside, walk from top to bottom, and you might find it to be a place of beautiful contradictions. Rooms and forms are angular, geometric and even industrial, but the atmosphere is persistently soft and sunny. “Smooth” and “streamlined” are adjectives one might use to describe the home, but look again: curves and texture are everywhere.

All these themes all co-exist within the walls of the home, and any blatant juxtapositions have been blended away under the skillful direction of Playa del Rey architect Mark Appel, who designed it for two East Coast musicians back in 1990. Today, 25 years after its completion, the home remains seamlessly fresh and current.


“We wholeheartedly embraced the contemporary design,” recalls homeowner Elizabeth Myers. “We had come from New York, and we wanted this to be a loft by the sea.”

The musician and composer, along with her husband and frequent collaborator, John Trivers, also a successful songwriter and musician, had moved west wanting to retain a bit of their East Coast city style in the design of their new California beach pad. Myers fondly describes their previous Manhattan home—an industrial loft located on the 7th floor of a turn-of-the-century sewing machine factory. The place was marked by open spaces, hardwood floors and authentic Industrial Age details, like a key-operated elevator that opened directly into their living space.

Some of these beloved details would be transposed to their luxurious Strand house. (Back in New York, the loft would eventually be sublet to former Rolling Stones guitarist  Mick Taylor and his then-wife Valerie.) “That’s why we exposed the I beams and painted them primer red,” explains Myers. “We wanted everything just to be as open as it could be, so we went with larger rooms and fewer of them.”

There are just three bedrooms in the 2,747-square-foot home, but each is distinctive in its details, and spaced well apart from the others. The master occupies the top floor, and is home to a big balcony—pleasingly private due to its high placement—that runs the entire length of the home’s Strand-facing frontage. Keen industrial touches are found in the gleaming subway tiles in the bathroom, and an exposed chimney flue. The stout, round fixture is exposed and painted red, clearly made to be decorative while serving as a subtle interruption to the room’s linear, horizontal emphasis, which has been formed in large part by a white, box-beam ceiling and rectangular windows that are cleanly framed in black.

Another bedroom, originally conceived as Myers’ music room, and designed around her grand piano, is an inspired place with mitered windows at its corner, revealing ocean views despite it being located away from the front of the home. “I would sit here,” says Myers, gesturing where her piano stood, and perhaps where she and Trivers wrote some of their award-winning compositions, “and look at the ocean.”


Much of the home’s dynamic energy springs from its freewheeling articulation of space. The middle floor spans the kitchen, dining and living areas—designed as an open plan before the idea became wholesale—where blondish wood floors are met with exposed, steel structural beams. Light comes in through Strand-facing glass, floor to ceiling, but it also seeps in softly via a curved wall of glass blocks in the foyer. A delightful and uncommon detail that’s a trademark in Art Moderne homes (a Modernistic residential style, circa 1930), the glass  blocks are a visually elegant feature that, on a practical level, are effective at directing and diffusing sunlight while obscuring views into a home from the outdoors.

Nowhere is the luxurious use of space more evident than in the two-story atrium, which cuts from the foyer to the airy second-floor landing, a peaceful and sun-drenched area laughingly referred to as “a wonderful waste of space” by Myers. “We wanted to bring light into the center, so we had these custom skylights built,” she says. The skylights, though, are vast enough to characterize this feature as a glass ceiling. Like the bulk of the home’s windows and doors, this feature is also framed in black, creating a strong contrast against the white walls and blue sky. “We went with this strong outlining, almost like a Mondrian painting,” notes Myers, who credits the emphasis on rectangular forms throughout the home, and its vivid palate—white, with red and black accents— as “an intentional color scheme,” inspired in part by the Dutch artist’s 20th-century grid paintings.


The home’s address—3320 The Strand—puts it in the midst of a particularly high-desire stretch of North Hermosa beachfront. Once site of an unsuccessful literary colony of the early 1900s called Shakespeare’s Beach, these days the neighborhood is praised for the fact that its homes jut out further on the sand than their other Strand brethren. This, its convenient mid-point location— between the downtown areas of both Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach—as well as its wide streets and generous bike paths, are among its top draws.

In short, there’s more breathing room. “There’s a setback from the street, so you can clearly park your car in front of the garage,” points out Myers, adding that the extra pavement brings the home’s parking spaces to four. These and other details of its surroundings were carefully calculated into the design of the home, built to frame the sensory experience of oceanfront living, down to the subtle, south-facing orientation of its floor-plan, which favors direct views of a beachfront vista that stretches from Malibu to Catalina.

“I think people are a little nervous about ‘Contemporary’ design,” remarks Myers. For some, the designation might offer up a vision of a cold and stark space. But it’s an impression that’s completely at odds with the warm calm that one feels in this residence— a feeling that Myers cites as one of her favorite things about the home she has lived in for so many years. “It’s a kind of calmness,” she remarks. “It doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s really peaceful.”

High-Style Modern Palisades

Forward-thinking residential design is balanced against big family spaces and glamorous details.

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Adam & Ally Jaret, Teles Properties

List price $6,965,000

While strolling along peaceful, tree-lined De Pauw Street in Pacific Palisades, you pass many nice homes in various styles: Mediterranean, Plantation, Nantucket Modern and more. There are even a few charmed ranch homes from earlier decades. When you arrive at the curb of this fresh contemporary home, though, you’ll likely stop for a double take.

The exterior, sharp and asymmetrical, is unlike its neighbors. Yet dressed with large-scale picture windows, Spanish wood porcelain tile and a glass-front balcony that stretches across its top floor, it appears smart and innovative, instead of imposing or cold. It’s these features, plus the bluish cast of the exterior and a welcoming path of front steps, bordered by planters of healthy green succulents and a softly cascading fountain, that bring the home into harmony with its family-filled neighborhood, where boys biking along the sidewalk and ladies walking their dogs are common sights.


While standing on the sidewalk with the home’s builder and general contractor, Reza Akef, a neighbor steps from the front door with her young son after a walk-through, both clearly impressed. “The main objective,” Akef says of the project, “has always been about creating a certain feeling for people when they walk through the front door.”

Step through the glass-front entranceway and it’s easy to see what he means. This first perspective sweeps past the exposed floorplan and open rear wall, beyond the infinity pool, the lush lawn, and even the canyon that’s adjacent to the home. These individual parts, all so pleasing, are bundled into a striking atmosphere of light, air and spaciousness. It’s tranquility in an instant.

“We were going for the wow,” says Akef with a smile. Looking closer, one sees that the open floorplan holds a living, dining and family room along one side, and an extensive chef’s kitchen, marked by a 25-foot central island of sleek Caesarstone quartz slabs, on the other. The endless white walls—smooth, then judiciously broken up by Carrara stone— are a pleasing contrast to the wide, grainy planks of European white oak wood along the floors. And any indoor-outdoor borders have been erased by the floor-to-ceiling glass that slides out of sight to expose fresh air and an uplifting mélange of blue sky against Sienna Canyon, green lawn and blue water.


Balance of space, form and aesthetics is the foremost goal of an architect, builder or designer. When it’s achieved, particularly in the case of competing styles or usages, it leaves an imprint of excitement in a home. In this case, the building and design team has produced a 6,300-square-foot residence that comes off as suavely adult and at the same time, remarkably family-friendly. It’s a success that Akef credits in large part to the home’s designer, Enrico Bressan, of Los Angeles-based design firm Artecnica. “What’s great about the working relationship I have with him is that he can go far left, and I can pull him back in.” This sense of balance is in full force in the lower floor family room, which is, conveniently, steps from the pool and backyard. “I wanted to create a space for everybody in the family,” notes Akef. “Not just for the adults.” There’s a theater, but it’s a bright and open space, not a dark, tucked-away one. Behind a wall of clear glass there’s a wine room, with walls of mosaic stone, and a soft-blue glow that comes from the subtle lights tucked along its base. Instead of a pool table there’s a ping-pong table (“It’s a lot more family fun than billiards,” notes Akef), and there’s a bar, but it’s one of clean white countertops, minimalist seating and a refrigerator that stores sodas and juice boxes just as easily as booze.

This floor is also home to two of the property’s most standout features: a showcase four-car garage that’s lined with viewing windows, and slender glass display windows that reveal the blue depths of the swimming pool, along with anyone who might be swimming past them. It’s a dramatic effect that comes with the bonus of shuttling in lots of extra natural light into the room, eradicating any hint of the floor’s subterranean existence. “It was done by the people that do the glass for Sea World and the San Diego Zoo,” says Akef. “They have a team who fly all over the world and they were nice enough to come do our small little project.”


One of the grandest spaces in the home is the master suite, which is outfitted with a walk-in stylist’s closet and a generous stretch of open-air living in the form of a grand terrace, complete with a fireplace and views that stretch from the mountains to sea. The master bathroom is sharply outfitted in nearly wall-to-wall Calcutta Gold marble, its veiny map of slate and bronze bringing rich visual texture to the room’s white quartz tile and custom barn doors of frosted green glass. “All together the master has about $40,000 worth of Calcutta Gold in it,” points out Akef. A fair share of it encases the bathtub, which is surrounded by glass windows so that one can soak over elevated canyon views, with privacy intact by switch glass that turns the windows from clear to shaded, in an instant.

Three more bedrooms share this floor, all with built-out closets and bathrooms equipped with premium fixtures and fresh aqua glass tile against white porcelain. And each bedroom has access to the outdoors. One of the bedrooms has an intimate balcony while the other two, both facing the street, share an ample balcony that stretches across the front of the home. “There’s an ocean view, and you can sit out here and read your Kindle, completely relaxed and in a fabulous neighborhood,” remarks Akef. “One of the best streets in the Palisades in my opinion. You’ve got families all along the street.”

Therein lies another gold mark for this home: its wholesome location. A baseball field is within view of the home and top-grade schools are minutes away by car. Pacific Palisades village, with its leisured central green, plus coffee shops, eateries and boutiques, is a 10-minute walk. “The Palisades is really family based,” says Adam Jaret, the home’s broker, a Palisades resident who, like his wife Ally, the co-broker, is quite involved in the community. “It’s such an awesome community. And all the neighbors here are so cool. They all know one another, and their kids go to each other’s houses.”

“We’ve gotten some good feedback from this street and the neighborhood about this home,” adds Ally. And the verdict so far? “It’s a breath of fresh air,” states Adam. “It’s something new, fresh and innovative, in its approach and design. This is the cool new house on the block.”

Town and Classic Beach Modern

A luxe new oceanfront penthouse sets the stage for easy strand living

Written by DIGS staff | Photography by Paul Jonason | Offered by Cindy Shearin of the Shearin Group, NW Real Estate Brokers

List price $9,800,000


In the garage there is carpenter hand-finishing a step to be fitted on an outside entrance—a seasoned salt who knows his stuff, he waxes about the resourceful floor plan and the great workmanship in the place. “

Instead of the usual 30-foot frontage, this house is on a 50-foot-wide lot which makes all the difference,” adds Shearin. “It allows for maximizing the ocean view and is much easier to lay out a nice one level floor plan.” The home’s design team has made smart use of this surplus, incorporating oversized hallways, spacious entranceways and high ceilings throughout to conjure up the grand atmosphere typically associated with a bounty of space. Sophisticated and elegant home details, from a coffered ceiling and custom cabinetry to picture molding and wainscoting, build on this mood, and are lightened with grainy wood floors, a soft paint palette of gray and white, and a plethora of sunlit beach scenes streaming in from many of the windows. The home is also smart-wired for temperature and security, audio, video and more, and there’s an elevator.

Strolling along the spacious hallway towards the rear of the home, you’ll come across another highlight of the floor plan: a dedicated wing that can be sectioned off with the smooth roll of hidden pocket doors. This area houses a den, but is also ideal to use as a media room or a library—particularly with its custom cabinetry and  wall of bookshelves that stretch to ceiling height, replete with a charmed rolling ladder to enable easy stocking and retrieval. The wing also houses the remainder of the bedrooms (the home has four in all, each with spacious closets and a bathroom finished in marble). It’s in this wing where one might book a visiting family or create a discrete space to hunker down on a pressing project or enjoy an afternoon movie marathon.

“The home is great for a carefree lifestyle,” says Shearin, standing in the big sunlit hallway. “The one-level floor plan makes it so easy to maneuver about and maintain.” Consistent with the home’s easygoing elegance is its address on the southern end of Manhattan Beach’s retail and restaurant district. “It’s an A-plus location,” notes Shearin. “It is close enough to walk to everything one could want.” Steps away are some of the area’s finest restaurants, plus a row of upmarket clothing boutiques and beauty salons. Even a bookstore and a bakery are less than five minutes on foot. Add the beach out front, and the location is the type that can keep your car stashed in the garage for the weekend, at least.

“We used to be a bedroom community but now we’ve become a destination,” observes Shearin, who has been steeped in South Bay real estate for over 20 years. “People from all over the world are visiting here and coming back to live the sought after Manhattan Beach, California lifestyle.”

Everyday Elegant Mediterranean

Smartly designed spaces, sunlit rooms and fine finishes add up to a refined, family friendly abode

Written by Constance Dunn
Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Charles Pence, Pence Hathorn Silver, Partners Trust
List price $5,250,000

We didn’t want something palatial and we didn’t want it too rustic,” says Delreta Shanley, ushering me into the rotunda foyer of her handcrafted Mediterranean home, just north of Montana Avenue. “We kind of went in-between.”

This finely tuned balance between earthy and graceful is the product of Delreta’s husband Mark, a master craftsman who sits at the helm of Shanley Construction, and who designed and built the home from the ground up—right down to the hand-painted arched hallway and the Murano glass chandeliers that dangle from its lofted ceilings.

“We went to Italy for ten days, just the two of us,” says Ms. Shanley, describing the creative pilgrimage that had the couple scouring Venice, Florence and Tuscany for design ideas that perked their senses, and had them scrutinizing everything from rooflines and window silhouettes to stonework and flooring. “We took lots of photographs, came back, sat with an architect and told him exactly what we wanted.”

A Happy Balance

The result is a nearly 6,000 square foot home where the family of six has dwelled and entertained since 2007, the year the home was completed. Shanley fondly describes the lengthy list of parties, gatherings and get-togethers, including a 100-person wedding, that have taken place on the property. This affinity for the home is shared with her family, one of whom, a grinning lad in his early 20’s, answers the door with the greeting of “Welcome to the chill pad.”

“The warmth of emotion in this home is really palpable,” says the realtor, Charles Pence of Pence Hathorn Silver. “When you walk in, you know this isn’t just another house. I’ve seen a lot of homes over the last 35-plus years of being in real estate—and it’s those that are built with this level of consideration that really stand the test of time.”

In one sunlit gathering space after another, the home satisfies the practical demands of modern family living while delivering an easygoing sense of California-style sophistication. In the roomy dining room, for instance, hearty plank floors of polished walnut meld perfectly with delicately tasseled Fortuny pendant lights from Italy. Old World windows let in fresh views of trees and greenery, but are positioned to ensure privacy.

The kitchen, with its custom wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and limestone central island, is engineered for everyday industry, but kept apart from the charming living room via two arched entranceways. Rooms are distinct and accessible, but not conjoined in the open-plan sense, enabling an intimacy of space and atmosphere. “I love the flow of the house,” says Shanley, describing how the kitchen, where she spends the bulk of her time, functions as a mother’s watchtower of sorts. “When I’m in the kitchen, I can see who’s coming in. I can see who’s going out, and I can see who’s in the garden.”

Built to Use

The home’s central space is the living room, a sunken area with ceilings that reach to roof height.

A series of wood-framed windows, reminiscent of an Italian country estate, ascend along the wall to take advantage of the natural light. (“We get all the light in,” notes Shanley. “In the morning the sun comes through and it’s lovely.”) This rustic feature is refined by a 17th century fireplace—an original that was re-conditioned by an English stone mason after being purchased from actress Rene Russo—and a large, intricate Venetian chandelier. Despite its fancy trimmings, the room has a welcoming feel, mostly due to its airy scale and morning-to-eve natural illumination. “We really use this room,” she says. “My kids sometimes sit and do their homework or they have their friends here.”

Shanley mentions that her kitchen eagle-eye view extends to a tucked-away staircase that leads into the basement, a homey sprawl of two guest suites and a large family room, plus up-to-date study nook, gym and plush media room. “People don’t know there’s a basement when they first walk in,” notes Shanley. “It’s the biggest part of the house.”

Biggest, yes, and perfectly suited to a home designed around the comfortable accommodation of lots of people and activity. “Guests can have their own bedrooms, bathrooms and a living room area,” she points out, adding that as her children have grown, some have opted to move from the top floor, which is home to three bedrooms, and down to the fun subterranean space.

Fresh-Air Bedrooms

Upstairs, bedrooms are linked by a sunlit catwalk hallway, half of which overlooks the main living room and its ample stores of natural light. No matter the bedroom, there’s always access to nature by way of balconies and big, swing-out windows that provide a natural boost to this floor’s earthy contrast of glossy hardwood floors against creamy white walls.

The master bedroom is an elegantly turned-out space, complete with an ornate fireplace, a grand vaulted ceiling and a tiered Murano chandelier in its center. Its position at the rear of the home provides a pleasant visual perch to the green backyard by way of a wrought-iron balcony. There’s even a window framed into an interior wall, allowing more sunlight and a perspective into what’s going on in the living room and foyer below.

The master bathroom is equally matched to the bedroom, with marble finishes, vintage-style faucets (circa early 20th century) and a clawfoot tub.

“I really enjoy my bathroom,” remarks Shanley. “It’s where I can go, close the door and have a bath or have a steam and just be on my own.” Twin windows offer a peaceful backdrop of trees while enabling one to keep an eye on children playing in the backyard.

Montana Avenue Getaway

To capitalize on the California climate, the backyard is home to a tidy green lawn and open-air lounge set upon a smooth floor of cut stone. “We sit here and have breakfast or afternoon tea,” says Shanley of the covered space, bordered by generous archways. “Or just sit out until late at night.” The yard is shrouded from neighboring properties by old-growth trees and willowy shrubs, and the green lawn has ample space for children to run about and play. At the rear of the yard sits an unattached garage with possibility for use as a storage unit or annex living space.

Cut to the front of the home, which sits on a peaceful corner in a welcoming Santa Monica residential neighborhood, and just a two-minute walk from Montana Avenue’s upmarket retail district. “Every buyer looking in this neighborhood wants to live the Montana Avenue lifestyle,” says Pence. “You see your neighbors at R+D Kitchen [a local eatery], and you know the name of your barista and the cashiers at Whole Foods Market. It’s a real community.”

The home is situated along a quiet, eastern edge of the district, and graciously cordoned off from passersby and the street by a strategic melange of shrubs, towering trees and landscaping. It keeps the home private, yet still looking approachable and neighborly.  “You can walk to Montana for food, for your coffee, for shopping,” says Shanley of the location, which twines a family friendly neighborhood with a buzzing boutique and dining scene. “The neighbors are fabulous.” Another plus? Great schools. “It’s the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District,” she adds. “So our children go to their local public schools.  With four children it would have been very expensive to do private.”

Having designed and lived in the home as a family (“I even helped build it,” says a Shanley son. “I worked on it when I was twelve years old”), and experienced the neighborhood on a day to day basis for many years, Delreta Shanley has an intimate sense of whom the big Mediterranean home might suit. “People who love to entertain,” she says. “People who have guests. You don’t have to have children but it’s a great family house because there are so many rooms.”

“We’ve done a lot of entertaining here,” she adds. “We’ve really used the house, because that’s what we built it for.” 

Classic Nantucket Deluxe

A landmark home rises along a central Hermosa walk street, loaded with grand, sunny spaces—and an unerring attention to detail

Written by Constance Dunn
Photography by Paul Jonason
Offered by Dan Jensen of Keller Williams Beach Cities
List price $5,750,000

Buzz has been building around the “lighthouse home” that’s been under construction in Hermosa Beach for the last year. If you’ve cruised by the structure at 801 Hermosa Avenue, a few blocks south of the pier, it’s likely that you’ve slowed down to get another look. You’re not alone. There’s been so much curiosity surrounding the home that builders have taken time to affix a sign to the property’s big front door, politely reminding onlookers that it’s closed, lest one feels the urge to open the entry and take a look around.

The reason for the interest might be the impressive scale of the place, a prim and oversized Nantucket-style residence sheathed in moss-green shingles and cut stone, but more likely it’s the lighthouse built along its edge.

Labor of Love

A walk through the just-finished property reveals that all that glitters on the outside is equally matched indoors, with its blizzard of handcrafted living spaces and finely-tuned, artisan details. It starts with the first step inside the foyer—an imposing space that accurately prefaces the home. There’s a dynamic, clean contrast of gleaming white walls and trim against rich wood. Above is a graceful landing with Colonial-style balusters, anchored with an elegantly molded newel post.

The home, spanning just over 4,000 square feet, encompasses rooms at six different elevations. There are four bedroom suites, and many more places to tuck away and study, entertain or lounge, whether the mood calls for indoors or out; overlooking ocean, sand and sky; or clocking the action in the center of one of the nation’s most famous beach cities.

It’s a project into which developer and builder Ted Van Huisen has pumped his heart and soul. “It’s kind of a labor of love,” he says as we begin walking through the home.

Labor began with Van Huisen’s idea of erecting the type of large family home that might be found in modern-day Nantucket. He shared his vision with architect David Watson, who “made it work” on a spacious corner lot situated along a tree-lined neighborhood walk street.

Van Huisen, who first moved to Hermosa Beach back in 1975, favored the home’s location for its old-school South Bay character (“It’s what the beach is all about,” he explains) and sees life on Hermosa’s walk streets as a sweet union of all that’s appealing about the town. “You’ve got a little bit of everything,” he points out. Look in one direction and there are palm trees, blue water and sand; another perspective avails the bustle of Hermosa Avenue; its boutiques, coffee shops and increasingly cosmopolitan lineup of eateries. And, in less than 5 minutes on foot, there’s famed Pier Avenue.

Crafted to the Core

Ask the home’s realtor, Dan Jensen, what stands out and he gives more than a few notables. Ample views of the beach and city; rooftop decks and balconies galore. There’s the lighthouse itself and, of course, the central Hermosa Beach location. In combination with all of these charms, is an abundance of outstanding handiwork throughout the home. “When you get down to details, I don’t think you can find a more well-crafted home,” states Jensen.

“Everything here is Old World hand-craftsmanship,” Van Huisen offers. “We didn’t skimp on anything.”

At every turn, there’s painstaking crown molding, refined beadboard wainscoting, hyper-custom cabinetry and elaborate base molding—some of it pure marble—that’s sculpted between regal plinth blocks. Ceilings are elevated and doors are solid core, 9 feet tall. Each patio and window, down to the smallest porthole, is trimmed and detailed. Even exterior finishes are dressed in copper, a high-tone feature that’s also smart and weather proof, given the beachfront conditions. “It actually looks better with age,” explains Charlene Lee, realtor with the Jensen Group.

“Everything in the home is custom and every bedroom is an individual suite,” says Van Huisen, who oversaw the 14 months of construction it took for general contractor Scott Beckett to complete the home. “And every bathroom is completely different.” Credit the charmed feature to interior designer Alison Shoemaker, who outfitted one bath with a shellacked black sink cabinet and elegant mosaic tiles; and another in a graceful swirl of grey marble and glossy white, finished off with vintage silver sink handles and mirrors. The master bath is the most striking in all, filled with contrasting Art Deco tile and a freestanding bathtub set atop dainty silver pedestals.

Despite their distinctions, a well-sculpted hand, one that sought to weave an enduring, hand-wrought elegance—much of it early 20th-century American in flavor—throughout, ties all bathrooms and bedrooms together.

Maximum Beach Living

“We made the master suite a true suite,” remarks Van Huisen, pointing out the sunny retreat’s generous balcony that overlooks the walk street below, and the circular lounge tucked into the lighthouse. It’s a nice spot to hide away or read, aided by refreshment from the wet bar. If one looks up, their view is of the sky, which is framed by the round glass at the crown of the lighthouse, which can be programmed to beam out a menu of custom light effects. “It’s important to have a living area where you can enjoy the walk street and California beach living at its best,” he adds. It’s an idea Van Huisen has taken to heart on this project.

The corner lot features an ample patio along the walk street that’s neatly fenced in by a low wall of cut stone. A wall of floor-to-ceiling doors purposefully extends the home’s open-floor living room and kitchen—a whitewashed sprawl of coffered ceilings and mellow wood floors. There are three dining spaces; one a breakfast nook nestled into the lighthouse, plus a big fireplace and an island kitchen with professional grade appliances. “The main living area and the kitchen are on the bottom floor,” notes Lee. “So you’re not running up and down the stairs all day. You’re able to spend the majority of your time on this floor.”

Head to the third floor to find a spacious gathering center lined with windows, and outfitted with a kitchenette and powder room. Its high vantage and adjoining balcony and rooftop deck have been configured to take advantage of the panoramic view that stretches to the bay and mountains of Santa Monica. “Having a family room and a rooftop deck combined makes a huge difference,” says Jensen. “When you’re entertaining, you have a kitchen and a bathroom right there, so you’ll actually use your rooftop deck.”

So, who might own such a home—with its grand, livable spaces and visual landmark status, so striking that just The Lighthouse on 8th might suffice as its address? “It’s a great family home because of all of the bedrooms and bathrooms,” remarks Jensen. “Plus the study and play areas for children.” But its vast gathering spaces and self-contained suites also cast it as an entertainer’s ideal, and the hardcore craftsmanship could just as easily lure an artisan-minded collector of homes.

“No matter who they are, it will be someone who wants the best,” states Lee. “Someone who is known for their individuality, which this home has. No other home in the area contains an actual lighthouse.”

Adds Jensen, “There’s not a property like this. And I doubt there’ll ever be another.”

Sweet DIGS: Entertainer’s Delight

One of Bel Air’s most coveted streets sets the stage for unparalleled living and entertaining

Written by Abigail Stone
Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Dustin Cumming & Monty Beisel of Hilton & Hyland 

List price $16,999,999

There are some homes that seem made for entertaining, inspiring admiration and eager anticipation for an invitation to one of their gatherings. From the location and overall design to the balanced yet magnificent proportions, these homes not only support the lives of their inhabitants, but also tend to the enjoyment of visitors.

The home at 100 S. Mapleton is one such rarity. The recently renovated French-inspired chateau is tucked just below one of the most beautiful and curvaceous sections of Sunset Boulevard, on the stretch just west of Beverly Hills—a coveted block in Bel Air, just up from the famed Playboy Mansion. A double-gated entryway draws the admiration of visitors even before they arrive at their destination. In front of the home’s stately limestone façade, a grand, manicured courtyard offers parking for close to a dozen vehicles.

Inside, the home weaves a spell of sophistication. The double height foyer boasts a sparkling chandelier, dripping with cut crystals that throw rainbows around the room and sways over a gracious staircase that sweeps down from the second floor balcony. To the right, a clubby library includes its own bathroom, creating the ideal setting for a home office independent of the rest of the house. To the left, a guest powder room offers visitors a place to freshen up before presenting themselves to their hosts. There’s a formal living room, with plenty of room for a grand piano. Beyond, two dens connected by a full-size bar, include fireplaces and a seamless transition to the exterior.

This is Los Angeles, after all, where the glorious weather encourages a variety of outdoor activities. To wit, the home’s generous acre of land enfolds the charming salt water pool, two bubbling fountains, a gurgling stream, a generous grassy lawn, and a regulation-sized clay tennis court that can be illuminated for nighttime games. Guests can easily make themselves at home here, whether their pleasures include tennis, swimming, ping pong or pool, or just lounging in the sun with a cocktail and a fresh copy of this season’s must-read book. An invitation for Sunday brunch can easily turn into one for Sunday dinner.

Although the recently renovated kitchen evokes genteel summers in Provence with its pale lime-washed cabinetry, its capabilities rival those of any professional kitchen in the city, whether the evening calls for cocktails and appetizers for 200 or an exquisite multi-course dinner for 20 served in the formal dining room. Separate maid’s quarters, tucked away to the side of the house near the kitchen, offer two junior bedroom suites, ideal for live-in assistance, complete with access to a back staircase that ensures discreet entrances and exits. Of course, it can also serve the needs of guests or family, or even business associates who appreciate privacy.

Not only are guests treated like royalty in this palatial estate, upstairs, the living quarters provide residents with hotel-quality amenities. The master bedroom suite enjoys a fireplace and spacious, separate closets for occupants with multi-season wardrobes, while also treating each spouse to their own generously proportioned bathroom; including a steam shower in one and a stand-alone limestone soaking tub in the other. The two other bedroom suites on this floor include similar comforts, pampering denizens with their own substantial closets and luxurious bathrooms.

No doubt that guests will leave this home’s embrace with their fingers crossed, hoping for an invitation to return. Lucky you, though, you’re already home.


A historic Spanish-style house, once owned by  Benny Goodman, is the perfect fit for a creative modern family

 Written by Abigail Stone

 Photography by Paul Jonason

 Presented by Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates 

 List Price $6,195,000

 There are certain homes that, though within moments of top restaurants, convenient thoroughfares and excellent schools, make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The house at 945 Corsica Drive, situated on a quiet tree-lined street, moments from Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard, is one. The curvaceous home, once owned by legendary jazzman Benny Goodman, was built in 1928. With its stucco exterior and clay tile roof, it’s a stunning example of classic Spanish Revival architecture that once marked the residences of entertainment’s elite. Arched doorways, wooden beams and carved moldings carry the style inside. The home’s graceful French doors, exuberantly tiled fireplaces and wrought iron details are hallmarks of this warm and inviting design.

In contrast to many of the houses built in this mode, whose interiors are dark and cramped, this one, with its spacious rooms circling around a central courtyard, is a revelation. Seamlessly divided into two wings, the home’s ingenious floor plan is tailor-made for the needs of a modern family, balancing casual comforts with refined elegance, informal entertaining with catered suppers, spirited holiday gatherings with quiet business dinners.  

Underlining the home as the perfect setting for daily, casual family life, the side door, closest to the driveway, opens straight into a capacious great room. Combining den, dining area and spacious chef’s kitchen in one, this is the home’s hub. It’s the place where the family gathers for dinner, piles onto the sofa to watch television or, on chilly evenings with a fire crackling in the wood-burning fireplace, catches up on the day. A bedroom suite, off to one side, is an ideal spot for guests, and there’s a generous home office tucked just around the corner. Large doors open this warm family room onto the home’s interior courtyard, its grassy expanse of lawn and exterior kitchen offering an ideal setting for weekend barbecues and impromptu pool parties. There’s a covered pergola for outdoor dining, and a deck with plenty of space for lounge chairs by the graceful pool, where cool blue water is enhanced by a surround of terra cotta tile. Upstairs, the home’s two wings offer a subtle separation between the master suite and two junior suites, each resplendent with generous closets, tiled bathrooms and large windows overlooking the back of the house.

When the occasion calls for formal entertaining, the home morphs to show its elegant side, with an ornately carved wooden front door, ushering guests into the home’s formal wing. Terra cotta tiles cover the entryway floor while fanciful Spanish tiles highlight the stairway, where the soft curve is emphasized by a graceful wrought iron banister. An arched doorway frames the entry to the formal living room with its magnificent wood ceiling, polished floors and large Gothic window overlooking the front lawn. French doors connect this room with the outside, and when the weather turns cool, the majestic wood-burning fireplace adds warmth. After cocktails, the evening moves to the dining room, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a courtyard illuminated by moonlight.

Across the courtyard, the home reveals its profound musical legacy. Here is the music studio that’s lured musicians and composers to its doors. Built by Benny Goodman as his practice studio, the space has been expanded and updated. From microphone panels in the bathroom to motorized speakers, double doors, automatic screens, hidden diffusers and bass traps, the state-of-the-art recording studio rivals the amenities of any professional counterpart. Whether the goal is to record a film’s ADR, lay down tracks for an album, mix sound for a thriller, or tweak the sound effects on a series, this space ensures that the biggest challenges on the commute to the office are a few dozen steps through the morning dew. And, if sessions run through the night, a kitchenette, complete with a slender dishwasher makes the studio independent of the main house.

Home and work; formal and informal; family, friends and business colleagues—945 Corsica Drive promises the perfect balance for all aspects of a family’s modern, creative, busy and fulfilling life.

Fresh California Coastal


Beach-conscious features and a central Hermosa location make for an of-the-moment home with charmed touches.

Written by Constance Dunn

Photography by Paul Jonason

Offered by Brett Zebrowski of Palm Realty Boutique

List Price $3,500,000

6N8A0866The new, crisp white home on 1617 Hermosa Avenue—steps from the action on the beach and Pier Avenue—neatly exemplifies an aesthetic that’s been cropping up throughout the South Bay. “The old traditional style, called California Mediterranean or California Tuscany, we were doing that for years and years,” says Otto Palmer of O.P. Construction, who is general contractor for the project. “It’s sort of phased out, and in its place you have either the soft contemporary or the California coastal, which has similarities to plantation style.”

Palmer has just wrapped the home with a team that includes Trotter Buiding Designs, interior designer Jennifer Allison and the property’s developers, Bryan Haynes and Barbara Haynes. “In reality it’s a team effort,” says Palmer of the group, who came together on this project to showcase an arsenal of South Bay building and design know-how.

The three-story residence utilizes an efficient floorplan that makes the most of its modest corner lot, resulting in an inviting, roughly 2,800 square foot home. Rooms on the first and second floor, a hub for the home’s four bedrooms, are intimately scaled, playing up the homestyle charm of the place. Throughout, white walls contrast against oak-plank flooring, and clever window placement allows for ambient light to flow throughout the home without sacrificing privacy.

Drawing People In

“You try to make a bedroom more than just a 12-by-12 or 11-by-11 space,” states Palmer. “You have some interest, so when you open the door you want to go in and look into it a little further. A lot of times you’ll just open a door and go, ‘Oh yeah, a bedroom,’ and close the door and move on. We’re trying to draw people into the various spaces.”

One such space is the home’s central stairwell, which zigzags clear up to the sunlit, open-plan third floor. Along the way, distinctive, pure-white Chinese Chippendale railings call attention to warm tones on the stairs. The feature, borrowed from Thomas Chippendale’s Oriental-inspired designs of the 18th century, consists of a series of interlocking rectangles that are positioned in the space between the top and bottom rails.

“It’s so old it’s kind of new,” says Allison of the touch. The designer, who’s known for producing fresh, beachy interiors with an elegant slant, has left her artistic mark throughout the home, from its finishes and cabinetry to its flooring, lighting and overall color scheme. And the railings? They’re the result of a trip she took to North Carolina, that included time spent among old beach cottages. “That Chippendale railing was everywhere,” she says, adding with a chuckle: “So I brought it back with me.” Consistent with the home’s California coastal style, which looks to forge symmetry between the interior and exterior, these decorative railings are also seen on the balcony and porch, and along the border of the rooftop deck.


Great Outdoors

The communal center of the home is on the third floor, a space where the outdoors seep indoors. There’s a lanai living room and entertainment area, a place of high ceilings—raised and textured—a prim fireplace and a wall of accordion doors that opens onto a deck of 200 square feet, overlooking Hermosa Avenue. “Those doors fold all the way to the side so it becomes a living space, as opposed to just an exterior space where you have outdoor furniture,” explains Palmer. “It extends the living room out.”

The kitchen, also on the third floor, is equally airy, with sandy hued, wavy backsplash tile that frames the brushed-metal appliances. Allison points out that the home’s tiles were sourced locally from Lunada Bay Tile and created in large part from recycled post-consumer material. Whether in the kitchen or in the three-and-a-half bathrooms, all tiles were selected for their ability to evoke an aquatic theme, whether from a pattern or soft shades of blue or green.

From this floor one can step out onto a slender balcony and follow a staircase that winds up to the rooftop deck. An ideal perch to watch the sun dip into the Pacific or soak up the sun in the midst of day, the spot is nicely shrouded from the street, and delivers an open swatch of beachfront and sky. “It’s a rooftop deck to take advantage of the views and the openness,” points out Palmer. “And just hang out.”


Easy In, Easy Out

The team made design choices to optimize the happening California beach location, and specifically, the ability to engage in fresh-air activities year round. “That’s why there’s an outdoor shower,” Allison points out. “That’s why there are shutters on the windows down below, not heavy drapes. We were going for a light and bright and airy look.”

Other outdoor-living elements include a built-in cubby bench and peg rack near the entrance where one can quickly cast off shoes, towels and beach gear before heading upstairs. Nautical style lighting, from rugged bell sconces on the exterior to a duo of glass-globe fixtures affixed over the kitchen island with rugged rope cords. There’s a fireplace in the master bedroom to temper the chill of cool nights and a spacious, entry-level garage where you can have easy access to surfboards, bikes and more.

Standing along one of the home’s exterior perches on a mid-summer’s day, you get a bird’s eye view of the parade of scenes along the street below: girls and guys strolling in their swimsuits, cars cruising along the avenue and bicyclists pedaling by. Steps away, a docket of restaurants, stores and bars center on Pier Avenue, a four-minute stroll. Though much closer is 16th Street, a leisured walkway of South Bay bungalows, shrouded by palms, that ends at the sand and Strand, where people play volleyball, jog and walk their dogs.

From this elevated perch, one realizes the luxury of being able to instantly toggle between the sunny outdoor bustle and the home’s quiet, polished interior. To go from an afternoon of surfing, sun-lounging or biking, to an evening of restaurants and lounge-hopping, then quickly make your way to the still and comfort of your beach house. It’s an effect that’s not lost on the building and design team, either. “Living in a home is really an emotional experience,” says Palmer. “So it’s not just putting up a structure. It really is trying to create some kind of connection. It’s just a feeling you get when you go into a space and you like it, starting from the moment you walk into the house.”

Sweet DIGS: Grand Modernist

Breezy, white-on-white spaces and ample coastline views proves that bigger is better in Hermosa.

Written by Constance Dunn
Photography by Paul Jonason

Offered Raju Chhabria of Shorewood Realtors
List price $6,250,000

462A3406There are three types of people in this world: those who yearn to step on the sand, those who just want to look at the water, and those who are indifferent to the prospect of either. This home is ideal for the second bunch—those whose yen for the ocean is best quenched by gazing at it, preferably 24-7.

That’s because there are few places in this 8,390-square-foot Hermosa Beach home where you don’t get picture-perfect views of the South Bay coastline, whether it’s the sloping green hills of Palos Verdes, the white-canvas legion of sailboats making their way out of King Harbor, or a full-length shot of the classic wooden pier jutting from Redondo Beach. And both the floor plan and Big Minimalist aesthetic of the interior have been designed to take full advantage of these visual riches. Oversized picture windows stream in panoramic views, while abundant outdoor leisure spaces are ideal for taking in the hospitable climate and seaside air. The design—big, white and airy—is Modernist to the core. Most rooms are oversized playrooms—rectangular or square in shape, with stark-white walls against white or wood floors—that successfully frame the unending canvas of blue sky and sea that surrounds the home. Your gaze is continually pushed outdoors, though indoors is not a bad place to be.

“The builder really went for it,” says realtor Anand Chhabria, introducing the home’s visual centerpiece—a cathedral-sized foyer. Chhabria, who works with the home’s listing realtor, Raju Chhabria, points out a twinkling constellation of ornamental chandeliers, recessed twin skylights and an exposed second-floor. “Everything is over the top. Grand.” Beneath are glossy floors that beckon towards a streamlined show kitchen with dark-wood cabinetry, marble countertops and steel appliances. Sitting areas, complete with upright leather perches in white and a reflective ceiling centerpiece that’s strung with pendant lights, mark the room as a natural gathering space, particularly since an entire wall is given over to retractable glass that opens onto an entertainer’s patio. Stocked with a bar and barbecue nook, a decorous fire pit and a seriously oversized hot tub in its center, the outdoor space can also be fused to the party-sized living room. This living room, though, can quickly be transformed in atmosphere from festive to intimate due to a sedate wall of wood cabinetry and an elegant fireplace that’s neatly folded into an earthy stone wall.


Special attention is paid to the home’s high ceilings, whether they’re adorned with striking light fixtures, gently curved or recessed, and glowing with light. It’s a strategy that’s used amply on the ground floor to interrupt the white-on-white theme and, in the case of the intimate dining room with its subtly vaulted ceiling, add more visual drama to the space via shadow lines that give the ceiling a floating appearance.

“This home has a lot of personality,” says Chhabria. “You’re not going to find other properties in the area like this. It’s made for someone who wants to make a statement. And it’s in a great spot. Kind of secluded, but close to everything.”

462A3389Purchased in 2012 and made anew by local builder Willie Campbell, the property sits atop a high elevation in an under-the-radar spot that’s, ironically, less than a minute from the Pacific Coast Highway and five minutes by car from the beach and Strand. The house sits at the end of a small cul-de-sac off 30th Street in Hermosa Valley, a residential swath of Hermosa Beach between Ardmore Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. The exterior of the home—contemporary and rectangular, speckled with light-hued stones and shrouded by leafy bamboo trees—provides pleasant, understated cover for a significantly more dramatic interior.

The second floor, where guestrooms are situated, continues the “bigger is better” theme of the ground floor with broad hallways of grainy wood plank flooring and an L-shaped floor plan that’s mostly bordered by a translucent bannister stretching around the landing. “Pictures don’t do it justice,” says Chhabria of the home. “Every time someone steps inside you can see what an impression the place makes. And everything is so open; when you walk around you feel like you can breathe.”

The master suite is pre-empted by a showcase closet room lined with peek-a-boo glass and masculine wood, illuminated by twin skylights. The “master” status of the bedroom is re-affirmed by sweeping ocean views that run the length of massive twin balconies. (That, and a bathroom that’s big enough to do cartwheels across.) Each of the six bedrooms, though, are appreciatively well-scaled, so that no guests will find themselves lodged in disproportionally small quarters. And if someone is seeking complete privacy, they’ll find it at the end of a long stretch of sunny catwalk, blanketed by a glass roof and walls at one point, which leads
to a solitary room with spacious windows that are shrouded by tall stalks of
green bamboo.

It was influential French architect Le Corbusier who emphasized the idea of a house being “a machine for living.” In this case the machine—sleek surfaces, super-sized spaces and coastline views—has successfully twined a setting fit for cosmopolitan glitz or fresh-air relaxation, and tucked it away on a quiet street in a classic California beach town.


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