Laguna Beach Cottage
A small, 1920s house with ocean views is transformed into an airy, modern abode. Here, how the interior designer and architect achieved stunning success.
It was the house’s charming exterior that first captivated the homeowner, so she was careful to only work with those who shared an equal appreciation for its original cottage aesthetic, like interior designer Jude Samuel and architect Tim Nicol. “I wanted to maintain the architectural integrity of the home, and Tim and Jude just got it. They were totally in sync.”
The verdant landscape design is by MCB Landscape Architecture.
A neutral palette of soft whites and ivory in the living room is the ideal backdrop for the homeowner’s extensive art collection and the wide water views. “It’s a color scheme you never tire of,” says the homeowner. “It’s classic and elegant. When you walk in, your eyes go straight outside, and it absolutely takes your breath away.”
Get the look: The living room walls are painted Ballet White and the ceilings are painted Simply White, both by Benjamin Moore. The sofa is from Kreiss. The coffee table and side tables are from Stanford Court Antiques. The chair is from Lee Industries. The rug is from Stark. The chandelier is from Lightopia. The art is by Kathleen Starkey.
The open floor plan is key to making the once-cramped cottage feel spacious and bright. A small step between the kitchen and dining room and the living room provides the visual break that delineates the entertaining areas from those designated for relaxation. “It flows very nicely,” says Samuel. “There’s a space for everything.”
Get the look: The tables are from Glabman’s Furniture. The chairs are from Lee Industries.
Bad lighting and a lack of work and storage space put the kitchen squarely on the homeowner’s list of priorities for remodeling. While the former room’s small layout hindered its functionality, the new kitchen’s larger, L-shaped design makes cooking for company much easier.
The terraced gardens on the grounds were lovely, but the homeowner wanted to get more out of her outdoor space, so she had Samuel craft a plan to make the backyard an oasis for entertaining, complete with a kitchen, bar, and dining area. “It’s a great spot to hang out,” says Samuel.
One of Samuel’s first orders of business was constructing a proper master suite to give the homeowner a comfortable spot to retreat. She and Nicol fashioned an addition that echoes architectural details throughout the rest of the home—pitched, beamed ceilings and paneled walls—for a seamless look.
Samuel went to the stoneyard herself to select the soft, sandy tiles that define the master bath. “I love working with natural materials,” she says, “and they were especially important in this space. The different tones in the stone lend an aged appearance, helping them blend in with the existing floors.”