Last Thursday I had the privilege to join Sunset Magazine while I previewed their first ever Sunset Idea House in Los Angeles, which will be featured in Sunset Magazine‘s November 2014 issue. This year’s house, located in the upscale South Bay beach community of Manhattan Beach, was designed by architect Louie Tomaro of Tomaro Design Group and interior designers David John Dick and Krista Schrock of DISC Interiors and built by Mike David Custom Homes. It embodies warm, casual yet sophisticated, Southern California beach living with a handcrafted, artisanal aesthetic. A tour of the space was led by Sunset Magazine’s Home Editor, Joanna Linberg, along with designers David and Krista. It doesn’t get any better than previewing a home with the designers, as you are able to hear about their inspiration, the challenges encountered during the process, why things were done a certain way, what appeals to them most, and why. These juicy and informative tidbits make for an enlightening experience.
The 4500 square foot, 4 bedroom/5 bath Sunset Idea House has been in the works since September 2013 and took a total of 7 months to build from the ground up. The result is a light-filled “rustic modern” home that is inspired by the landscape of the California coastline, the simplicity of Scandinavian design, indigo dyed Japanese textiles and the handcrafted art that is created by the artisans of LA’s emerging art scene.
The Interior of the Sunset Idea House
One enters the home to a towering 20 foot high ceiling from which a grouping of 5 rope pendant lights hover from above.
Stepping through the foyer, one has a straight view through the center of the house, the outdoor patio, and into the back garden. On either side of this clear path through the house is where all the magic happens.
An assortment of ceramics by Heather Rosenman Ceramics occupies the sun drenched space opposite the communal dining table. Her works are rich with texture and bridge the gap between organic and man-made, at times with a crater-like texture that borders on futuristic. Forty ceramic pieces are placed throughout the Sunset Idea House and each and every one adds character to the space it occupies.
The Dining Area
Sheer, open weave window coverings from DISC Interiors’ own collection for Smith and Noble frame the tall and narrow windows that grace the dining room wall. They accentuate the height of the room and frame everything that visually lies in between, including a 10 ft. long table and the Mimi Jung modern weaving which is centered on the wall. The dining room is housed in what was originally designed as the living room, but in an effort to “banish formality” the designers decided to flip the dining and living spaces, and in doing so, created a more informal, light filled space where the family can congregate for meals, spread out to do homework, or hold game night playing simultaneous board games with family and friends.
The Living Room/Lounge
With a lowered ceiling where the dining room was originally intended, the living room is a more contained and intimate space. Floor pillows and chairs gather around a travertine cocktail table, mimicking the glamorous (and sometimes pretentious) lounge areas that are seen in upscale hotels, but in a much more inviting setting.
The Mixology Room
The living room/lounge is conveniently located next to the “mixology room” (because bars are so passé). Handprinted wallpaper of Korean folk art by Sharon Lee for Krane Wallpaper line the walls of the petite space and is combined with materials that make traditional seem modern. The custom bronze cabinetry hardware is by jewelry designer Brooke Woolsey for 22 Hours and the indigo dyed roman shades (from the DISC/Smith and Noble collection) add a hand crafted, artisanal feel to the space – much like the handcrafted cocktails that will eventually be created here by the house “mixologist”. I am smitten by this room and now feel the need for a mixology room in my own home.
Opposite the living room is the office, which is an ode to the ocean and a visual sanctuary. A custom wallpaper was created from a high resolution black and white image of the Big Sur coastline taken by photographer Laure Joliet. The exposure was then adjusted so that the sky seems to fade into the ceiling above, and the continuous image wraps around all four walls. The warmth of the natural wood desktop and brass finish of the Arteriors Home pendant above balance the color in the room that is otherwise an exercise of shades of grey and void of color.
The Downstairs Powder Room
The downstairs powder room is subtly luxurious, and is the one bathroom in the house where the French Oak wood floors from Palladio continue through from the living space to occupy the floor of the bath. Warm brass accents and a honed marble floating countertop hint at luxury without being too overt.
The kitchen has an eclectic feel – clean, modern, European lines in the cabinetry, an ethnic Moroccan inspired tile back splash, Hollywood glam brass bar stools, and Visual Comfort‘s vintage nautical inspired pendants. Once again the designers balance the cool grey tones with the warmth of brass, wood, and natural sea grass baskets placed throughout. A cleverly staged red book spine adds a pop of color that draws the eye to focus on that particular area, creating a mini-vignette. Brilliant.
As I mentioned, the kitchen backsplash has a slight Moroccan feel ( a look that I love and have been seeing a LOT of lately) but this particular tile made by Forrest Lesch-Middelton in collaboration with Sausalito based Clé Tile, is unlike any other I’ve seen. Each tile looks like it is individually handcrafted, one of a kind, and as though it is weathered and has stood the test of time. The soapstone countertop is attached to a stained black white oak counter and results in another hot trend in kitchens – mixing materials and bringing furniture elements into the kitchen.
The Breakfast Room and Family Room
As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, modern kitchens are opening up to the surrounding living area, creating more open concept living spaces. This is also the case in this year’s Sunset Idea House.
The open living space is flanked by stained black white oak cabinetry on either end and anchors the space. An open but intimate sitting space resides in between. The black and white beach print by Marcia Prentice (marciaprentice.com) is the focal point of the room and sits within an area that is specially carved out in a niche above the fireplace.
Folding glass doors by Kolbe completely open to the outdoors, only to blur the line between indoor/outdoor living.
The house, as calm and collected as it may seem, is not without contrast. In fact, it is a house of many subtle contrasts. From scenes of the serene California coastline to Los Angeles’ busy freeway system, the photography represented on the walls contrasts the organic and man made landscape that makes up Los Angeles. There is a contrast of light and dark – stark white walls with sharp black lines in the furniture, lighting and window frames that define the space. A contrast of materials – wood, stone, assorted metals. Then there are the textures – clean unadorned cabinetry in contrast with slubbed linen window treatments, woven rope accent tables and sea grass baskets. Contrasts of lights and darks, high and lows, but done in a way that is harmonious and not harsh.
DISC Interiors truly delivers with the space they designed for the Sunset Idea House. Their design exemplifies Southern California beach living, and is specially tailored for Manhattan Beach, the location of this year’s Sunset Idea House. Manhattan Beach is not your typical beach community – it has a certain edge to it, as many who live there, work in the tech industry. A contemporary beach aesthetic is important, but just as important is the integration of technology and home automation, and DISC Interiors manages to offer the latest in both while not disturbing the aesthetics of the home.
This concludes my tour of the downstairs living space at the Sunset Idea House. Stay tuned – there is more to come when I take you through the second floor!
The Sunset Idea House opens August 1 and will be open for 6 consecutive weekends. Tickets can be purchased online for $18 at the Sunset Idea House Definitely make a trip to see the house in person, as the photos do not do the space justice!
I’m off to Las Vegas to attend market, where I will be gathering and analyzing trends that I will be reporting back to you here on the blog in the near future. I hear that it’s going to be a great market, and it is definitely one of my favorite trade shows to attend because of the incredible lineup of exhibitors, market events, great restaurants, shopping, not to mention its close proximity to Los Angeles. Have a great week!
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