Natural beauty meets bold color in a 1920s home along the California coast. By Brielle M. Ferreira
1 of 8Photo: Chase Lindberg
With surf and sand visible from nearly every window of this handsome Spanish Revival-style estate in Laguna, its beach-loving homeowners couldn’t be happier. In fact, they were so hypnotized by the views that nearly ten years passed before they realized they hadn’t paid much attention to its interiors. They were still living with the furnishings that the previous owners had included with the sale of the house. And so they called designer Christopher Kennedy to help make the beauty of the inside of the retreat equal that of its breathtaking exterior.
Using bright hues—including plenty of blue and red—Kennedy crafted a fresh, carefree plan for the home: one that would involve refinishing and repurposing the passed-down pieces before introducing them to a shiny new cast of modern, eclectic finds. “I wanted everything to feel fun, young, and well-layered,” says Kennedy, “but it all had to be very easy to maintain, too.” Here’s how color and creativity gave this home its second act.
2 of 8Photo: Chase Lindberg
Optimize the View
With a plum location on a bluff overlooking the sea, emphasizing the views was a high priority. Kennedy created a simple sitting room in front of a large picture window; a pair of casement windows flank the glass and send in the sea breeze. Custom turquoise cushions and other blue accents repeat the water hues.
Get the look: The walls are painted White by Dunn-Edwards. The sofa is vintage McGuire.
3 of 8Photo: Chase Lindberg
Upsize your Artwork
Kennedy commissioned local artist Terry Gottsch to create an oversize watercolor canvas for the foyer, awash in the Pacific’s watery blue hues, to serve as a reminder of what is most important in the home: its connection to the beach. A striped, vintage 1970s David Hicks textile transforms an off-the-shelf West Elm daybed into a one-of-a-kind piece.
Get the Look: The garden stools are from West Elm. The blue patterned pillow fabric is by Celerie Kemble for Schumacher. The orange patterned pillow is by Palecek.
4 of 8Photo: Chase Lindberg
Layer in Organic Pieces
Natural materials in the form of woven rugs, a vintage stone-topped coffee table, and the rattan lounge chair set a casual indoor/outdoor vibe in the living room, and allow the beach-ball art by local artist Michael Paraskevas to take center stage. “If you look closely, you’ll see the homeowners’ beagle in the scene,” says Kennedy. “They had the artist paint him in!”
Eco-friendly bamboo floors replaced worn wall-to-wall carpeting for a dramatic update. The wood’s dark finish has a handsome grounding effect on the light-filled rooms and bright white walls, and its durability makes it a smart option for beach houses. A pair of California landscape canvases add a colorful sense of place to the corridor.
6 of 8Photo: Chase Lindberg
Become a Master of Illusion
To give the impression of extra space in this small guest bedroom, the designer painted the existing nightstand in a shade of turquoise just one shade lighter than the color he used on the walls. As a result, the tiny table blends into the background, lending an airy feel to the room.
Kennedy created a clever stand-in for a traditional headboard by painting the panels above this guest bed a darker shade of blue than the rest of the wall. “The paneling was existing, and creating the two-town wall was our way of putting a fresh spin on the older architectural elements,” says Kennedy. Nautical sconces keep the bedside lighting plan simple.
The home’s Mediterranean-influenced architecture creates a striking backdrop for vivid natural color. The sun-loving geraniums, hot pink bougainvilla blooms, and rust-colored brick flooring pop against the bright white stucco façade and parade of arched doorways and windows.