When interior designer Cari Berg discovered the cement-block cottage that would become her family's weekend retreat, it was a bit of an ugly duckling. The 1,000-square-foot structure in Oxnard, California, an hour north of Los Angeles, hadn't been touched since it was built in the 1960s. But she and her husband, Sony Pictures Television executive Corii Berg, knew they could turn it into a swan. "The goal was to design a getaway where we could pull in on a Friday and not get in the car again until Sunday," she says. "I wanted a place where we could read and play cards, and the kids could ride bikes and run around on the beach." Here's how she fashioned a cheerful weekend retreat the whole family can enjoy.
2 of 8Photo: Karyn Millet
Go Back to Basics
Berg breathed new life into the house by smartening up the masonry facade with contemporary bright white siding. She also transformed the existing porch into a spot that invites lounging, with the addition of a railing, a fresh coat of porch paint, and a swing. “It’s a fun, clean interpretation of the traditional beach house, but in a modern, pared-down way,” she says.
The living room's white background and jute carpet allow a trio of exuberant turquoise, orange, and pink hues to take center stage. "I don't like shy colors," Cari explains. "I like bolder ones that are offset by everything around them. The palette reflects how happy we are here."
In the kitchen, Cari opened the ceiling up to the roofline, swapped the old Formica counters for Carrara marble, and installed Shaker-style cabinets. "There's a cleanness to the design that makes it feel contemporary," she says. "If you paint everything white and put a nice piece of hardware on it, anything can look elegant."
5 of 8Photo: Karyn Millet
Add Coastal References
Get the Look: The sofa upholstery fabric is by Quadrille. The coffee table is from HD Buttercup, and the driftwood sculpture is by DAO.
Vivid turquoise accents and a large driftwood piece used as a sculpture lend a coastal feel to the family room. "The beach house references here are understated," Cari says. On the walls hangs a collection of vintage beach photos that she cut out of books and then set inside matching white frames.
6 of 8Photo: Karyn Millet
Create a Serene Haven
Though she loves color, there’s one place where Berg keeps the palette restrained—the master bedroom. “I like to create a restful place to go at the end of the day.” She began with a taupe linen for the upholstered headboard and draperies, which picks up the neutral tones of the ikat pillow and the jute carpet.
7 of 8Photo: Karyn Millet
Think Big in a Little Area
Get the Look: The comforters are from West Elm, and the poster is from eBay. The bunk beds are custom.
Cari chose a large stripe for the bunk beds in the kids' room to create a dynamic focal point, and maximized space with overlapping bunks: "Scale is important here; I don't like to furnish a small room with small pieces." Lemon accents add a punch of happy color to the petite sleeping quarters.
8 of 8Photo: Karyn Millet
Take It Outside
With no space for a formal dining area inside, Berg converted the rear yard into an outdoor room, with Adirondack chairs, a table, a firepit and an outdoor shower on Trex decking. “I didn’t want a big table in the house, so this is our dining room,” says Berg. “We’re out there all the time.”