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.

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.

Artistic Habitat

An artful collection of fine wood, fabrics and sculpture brings a fresh, global sensibility to the South Bay.

Written by Constance Dunn

Photography by Paul Jonason

The creative roots of Artistic Habitat reach deep into Mexico, where owners Monica and Carlos Muller were born and raised, and from where much of their standout collection of home decor originates. A display of eye-grabbing wood tables handcrafted in Mexico City—some 20-feet in length and all bursting with sculpted, organic character—meet you when you stroll into the couple’s new South Bay showroom. Then come colorful pillows, hand-loomed by women in a Yucatan Peninsula co-op, and bold glasswork from Orfeo Quagliata, the Mexico City-based son of famed artist Narcissus Quagliata.

462A9842“In Mexico, we were constantly exposed to the artisanship that is an innate part of the culture,” explains Monica Muller. “We are preserving this workmanship through a modern interpretation of traditional techniques. We have always felt that there’s a certain dignity in preserving handmade products. It’s nice knowing you own something that’s completely unique.”

Lest you think this design team, which includes daughter Katja, son Alexis and daughter-in-law Andrea, are stylistically wed to one part of the world, a look around their roomy two-story showroom—steps from the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Catalina Avenue, near the border of Hermosa and Redondo Beach—reveals an aesthetic fed from many corners of the globe. “We’re made in Mexico with foreign parts,” says Carlos Muller with a laugh. “Our family comes from a long line of nomads and pioneers, traveling from Europe, United States, Cuba and Argentina, and back around.”

It makes sense, then, that Artistic Habitat offers European antiquities and super-mod French kitchens, along with velvet pouf chairs and smartly upholstered couches by sustainable, LA furniture makers Cisco Brothers. My eye flits to vintage Hollywood studio lights affixed to the ceiling. Below them is a tapestry bench, custom-upholstered with an antique Middle Eastern rug.

“We have friends and family that have been in the business for over thirty years,” notes Monica. “Perfecting and keeping alive old trades, and employing master artisans who meticulously handcraft every piece we bring to you.” Items at Artistic Habitat are distinct, yet the collection is so well-honed that words like “eclectic”
or “funky” never come to mind. The showroom feels thoughtfully individualistic and of-the-moment, or perhaps a few moments beforehand.

The second floor is home to a design studio, “a creative environment where projects can be developed,” says Monica. There’s plenty to stoke your creativity, starting with a wall of hand-distressed wood flooring. “The Sun-Bleached is the most popular in this area,” says Carlos, pointing to a creamy vanilla slab with subtle graining.

The Muller’s, longtime Palos Verdes residents, tell me they select items with the local area in mind. “Many of the homes in the South Bay are walking distance to the ocean,” notes Monica. “The culture is very beach and nature-oriented. We know there is great pride of ownership in this area, and people have an understanding of what it means to have a table made from the slab of a hurricane-tumbled log that’s 100 years old, or floors made from wood that’s hand-aged and finished.”


Wood plays a central theme at Artistic Habitat. “All of our woods are recovered, reclaimed or originate from reforested plantations across Latin America,” says Carlos. “And sourced from Taracea, the factory of our Mexico City partners.” Notable pieces include a grand mirror inlaid with six types of wood, including deep-hued rosewood and orange-tinged Bubinga, and Parquet floors inlaid with regal European patterns that take a master artisan two hours per square foot to complete. I sink into a mod lounging chair that looks as if it were sculpted from a hunk of driftwood, yet feels as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy.

The Muller’s emphasize Artistic Habitat as a place where folks can get a shot of design inspiration or start moving on a project. This open-door policy extends from architects, designers and project managers to homeowners who casually pop in for advice. “We invite people to use our facilities, interact with our products and samples and just be creative,” says Monica. “Remodeling can be overwhelming and stressful, but creating a place to live in is like curating your personal museum. It’s important to find pieces that make you feel something, and create spaces that give you the feeling you’re right where you belong.”


Artistic Habitat 

705 N Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA 90277  |  310.937.2000  |  ArtisticHabitat.com