Pair soaring unobstructed ocean views from a walk street corner lot in Manhattan Beach with a stunning modern Michael Lee-designed home and the result is simply amazing. With unfussy, straightforward design the foundation for what this townhome is all about—the views, the light, and savoring life—25th Street and Highland Avenue is mere steps to the sand and the adjacent grassy lawn at Bruce’s Park. Walkability to both north and south Manhattan Beach is fantastic from here. Commuters, meanwhile, have an efficient route to Rosecrans and Vista Del Mar.
This gorgeous, three-year project began as a labor of love for homeowners Jon and Kim Friedman. “We have always loved architect Michael Lee’s modern style, contemporary lines and dramatic combination of wood stone and glass,” shares Kim. Planning for more than a year, the Friedmans set out to make the very best use of every square inch of the 2,300-square-foot abode.
Lee’s distinctive stamp on the project: the wood and steel roof built with cantilever engineering; clean, modern lines and transitional indoor-outdoor spaces accessed through Fleetwood pocket doors.
“Our goal was to develop townhomes that were visually stunning and with blurred transition from outside to inside,” explains Kim.
They successfully maximized the living space on the top level where the wood floor seamlessly transitions to almost identical porcelain tile floors on the enormous outside deck.
Built on the reverse floorplan, the townhome’s bottom floor includes two bedrooms, one that might also function as an office with ocean views. Both rooms have private baths with floating vanities. Sharing the same floor is the two-car garage plus two parking pads, and an outdoor shower. Unique to this area is a property with on-site parking for six cars. “The corner lot allows for larger outdoor spaces for landscaping and parking; for example, the parking pads are roomy enough for an SUV,” says listing agent John Altamura of Altamura Real Estate Group.
Occupying the townhome’s second level are two remaining en-suite bedrooms, one of which is the master suite. This contemporary space features frameless corner windows that maximize views of Palos Verdes to the south and Malibu to the north, and also includes a massive private balcony with a clear line of sight down the walk street.
The focal point, however, is the striking floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. Add the convenience of recessed, remote-controlled window coverings and one can cozy in at night with ease. The lovely master bath, meanwhile, includes an ocean view peekaboo window built into the shower, and a freestanding, tulip-style soaker bathtub. In the master bath and throughout the home are floating vanities that nod to the modern characteristics of the home. A large walk-in closet completes the master suite.
“A Michael Lee design always incorporates lots of natural light,” states Altamura while ascending the stairs. Meticulously designed and built, the floating staircase is a gorgeous mixture of glass and substantial wood built onto an almost sculptural iron support beam. The backdrop—a stunning limestone feature wall—feels like a work of art. Once atop the stairs, a mesmerizing picture window blasts views of the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu and ocean vistas as far as the eye can see.
The mixing of opposing elements—rough and sleek, clean and textured, matte and polished—is evident in the upstairs space that includes a powder room, the kitchen, dining room and indoor-outdoor living areas. “Knowing that the Friedmans wanted a monochromatic design, I knew to create drama and interest,” states Deborah Gear of Deborah Gear Interior Design, who did so by starting “with a mixture of finishes and textures.”
Examples of this approach include the highly textured cream limestone for the exterior stone, entry and strategic areas in the living room, along with gorgeous and sleekly veneered cabinets in soft gray amid porcelain counters and warm wood cabinets.
The lustrous floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace anchors the adjacent living room with massive Fleetwood pocket doors opening out to awe-inspiring vistas on the balcony. Here, there is room for outdoor dining and living areas to relax while one prepares a feast on the built-in barbecue. Throughout the home is a similar use of materials: wood, exotic stone, unique porcelain tiles, high-gloss cabinets and leathered slabs.
Wide plank oak flooring, pure white walls and superior craftsmanship raise the bar for townhome living, as does automated shades throughout that maintain the clean, modern look. There is also pre-wiring for home automation by Crestron and vantage lighting control.
“This three-year project has been a labor of love—it feels like creating a 3D art project!” says Kim. After working closely with contractor Tyler Krikorian, as well as Gear and Lee, the couple’s modern-chic beach house was complete. A dream born in Manhattan Beach.
ALTAMURA REAL ESTATE GROUP
LIST PRICE $4,999,000
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL JONASON
Written by Nicole Borgenicht
Presented by Altamura Real Estate Group and Kathy Kernochan of Shorewood Realtors
List price $13,500,000
This custom-built home at 712 John Street exhibits leading-edge design with its contemporary L-shape and foliage-filled landscape that comprise over 12,000 feet of full lot space. The house itself offers seven bedrooms, six baths, a home theater with reclining chairs, and an indoor and outdoor first floor that leads to a sunny salt-water pool and fireplace under designer cabana settings. This prominent corner lot home also offers ocean views from all floors yet remains free of wind due to its construction and grounds arrangement.
“Many weekends we would all walk back to the house, grabbing some groceries for an evening barbecue,” shares homeowner Nancy Batter of returning home after a perfect day at the beach with family and friends. “The kids would hit the outdoor shower, then dive through the waterfall that flows from the cabana roof into the pool, while the adults relaxed in the cabana or spa. We have a big dining table outside where we eat and everyone [can] easily flow in and out of the house, whether grabbing food from the kitchen or squeezing limes for margaritas in the living room bar. The kids would often end up watching a movie in the family room and the adults would stay by the outdoor fireplace and gaze at the stars.”
Throughout the house are specialty wood beam ceilings, floors and trim that blend well with the partially wood-stylized furniture in each room. A short walk to the beach and downtown, this home is fully enclosed by security gates to provide for a reserved presence. According to realtors John Altamura and Kathy Kernochan, “This is casual, yet elegant beach living infused with the contemporary/modern design. It’s definitely a timeless look that a lot of buyers are gravitating towards. It exudes a great deal of sophistication with high-end finishes and a wide-open floor plan. Completely sheltered from both 8th Street and John Street, the home incorporates the ‘indoor/outdoor’ aspect seamlessly. This is clearly seen in the thick foliage surrounding the home, which creates a natural, green fence for a private oasis feel.”
While working with Jon Starr, of Jon Starr Design Group, Batter and her husband were thrilled with his distinctive design and materials, and how facilely Starr collaborated with them in creating the indoor/outdoor lifestyle they had enjoyed during their Hawaiian vacations. “The lines between indoor and outdoor space blur, and you feel equally at home in both spaces,” Batter explains. “The way our house is laid out, all the rooms on the main floor open onto the backyard, pool and cabana area, which gives us that easy indoor/outdoor flow. I love that you can see what’s going on from every room whether inside or outside, especially when trying to keep an eye on [the] kids. The layout of the house also really shelters our pool and outdoor entertaining area from the wind.”
In addition, interior angles and inset shelves, fireplaces and windows all have beautiful wood trims that synchronize with their furniture. Going the full distance, custom features include: Dynamic Architectural Windows and Doors from Canada; mahogany doors, windows and cabinetry; and vertical grain Douglas Fir wood ceilings and cabinetry in the pool table room. Outdoors, the cabana is also mahogany, yet with Jarrah wood floors. Custom furniture is from Nancy Russert of Les Beaux Interiors.
One can see and feel the care that has been taken to create every detail of this home, with elegant woods corresponding the beauty of nature.
Whether gazing outside at the ocean or viewing the 500-gallon salt-water aquarium inside, the home presents a peaceful, natural environment. Nonetheless, one of Batter’s favorite areas is outside. “I love the pathway under the big coral tree that leads to my daughter’s garden area, the grassy area out front where the kids run and play, or the lush tropical backyard with tall Brazilian fern trees gracing the sky,” she says. “We had Wolf’s vision from Wolf’s Botanical to create coastal modern magic!”
The outdoor haven and the entire pool area receive more sun throughout the day, keeping it warm and accessible all year-round. Sunsets over the ocean are best viewed from the front of the house, and are especially enchanting from the two family rooms.
This spectacular home has it all: the comfort of a classy, independent retreat near the action of downtown Manhattan.
For More Information, Visit 712john.com