A SoCal design duo creates an Indonesia-inspired refuge for a well-traveled Manhattan Beach family.
Tim McKeough Stylist: Sunday Hendrickson
1 of 7Photographer: John Ellis
"I wanted it to be almost like a Polynesian longhouse or a palapa—with one big open space," says the owner. At the same time, he didn't want the home to feel totally out of place in California. That was the challenge facing designer Alana Homesley and architects Grant Kirkpatrick and Patricia Baker of KAA Design. Here Grant and Alana share six tips for harmonizing a rich, tropical tone with clean, SoCal-modern style.
Grant used teak for the floors and kitchen cabinetry. "Teak has a beautiful color and grain," he says. "It's also stable and holds up well when exposed to water, making it a smart choice for the beach." White Calcutta Luna marble and limestone countertops are a slick counterpoint to the wood.
Because it's widely used in Southeast Asia, sea grass brings in the feeling of a tropical destination," says Alana. So as not to overdo the world traveler theme, she balanced casual items, such as the breakfast room's earthy wicker chairs, with more traditional pieces, such as the dark-stained teak table.
In the outdoor room (a porch lined with retractable Balinese shutters), Alana imported a laid-back feeling with plush seating that encourages gathering around the fire. Simple cushions in cool shades such as gray, white, and green allow the built-in bench and hot tub to function like daybeds: concealed lighting that shines on the wood ceiling enhances the warm glow.
"Items from travels can give a wordly feel, but limit yourself to only things that are truly beautiful and have a purpose," says Alana. "Otherwise, your house ends up looking inauthentic, like a theme park." She chose a kudu antelope trophy for the stair hall wall, a Tibetan prayer rug, an African mask, and a carved chair.
In at least one room, perhaps a bedroom, take a break from all the wood with light, bright decor. To give the narrow master bedroom a more open, airy quality, Alana painted the walls a light, refreshing off-white. A mix of soft textiles in neutral tones of creamy ivory, sandy taupe, and cool pale blue cast a soothing, serene mood.
Engage in indoor-outdoor living by choosing furnishings so comfortable the patio feels like a den. With hand-carved teak furniture and streamlined, weatherproof upholstered cushions, Alana created several spots to get cozy outside, giving the impression of more space and letting the owners enjoy the SoCal climate.