Coronado Showhouse Photo Tour
West Coast Charmer
Sunny rooms with intriguing architectural details, plentiful porches, views that stretch for miles—that was our vision when we headed west for our first-ever Showhouse on the California coast. We zeroed in on the island of Coronado, across the bay from San Diego, and a plum corner lot with panoramic views. Then we teamed with local design/build firm Flagg Coastal Homes and L.A.-based interior designers Betsy Burnham and Max Humphrey to create a home brimming with clever ideas and smart solutions.
Designing around a reverse floor plan, which places the bedrooms on the ground floor and the central gathering spaces one floor up, the team was able to reserve the home’s most dramatic features—such as soaring vaulted ceilings, optimal natural light, and elevated views of the water—for the open living, dining, and kitchen areas. Here, the talented West Coast group shares more of their secrets for creating a lovely and well-layered home that befits its stunning waterfront location.
Choose Minimal Maintenance
Smart materials are the hallmarks of this four-bedroom home. For instance, the builders chose composite siding because it withstands the elements better than wood. “It’s a fiber- board cement material, so it doesn’t warp, and you don’t have to paint or stain it as often,” says builder John O’Brien. The cupola roof and weather vane are crafted of rust-free copper.
Get the look: The shake siding is Pacific Blue by Allura. The doors and windows are by Marvin. The brick is by Eldorado Stone, and the pavers are by Belgard. The porch and railing are by AZEK. The furniture is by Frontgate, and the fabric is by Sunbrella. The weathervane is by Weathervanes of Maine.
Follow a Design Plan
“My No. 1 decorating rule is to never do anything without a plan,” says Burnham. “You should always start with a sketch of the room—drawn to scale—and then add in furniture and other elements.” Here, the designers mingled classic and clean-lined pieces, and then streamlined the look with solid upholstery in white, pale gray, navy blue, and periwinkle. They layered in pattern through pillows, window treatments, and the striped navy rug.
Get the look: The windows are by Marvin. The upholstered furniture is by Lee Industries. The pendant is by Circa Lighting; the rug is a Coastal Living dhurrie by Jaipur Rugs. The artwork is by Elizabeth Huey.
Create a Warm Welcome
In the entry hall, a quartet of painted black mirrors in a rubbed finish helps balance the bespoke upholstery of a pinstriped settee. “If the finish were shiny and polished, this seating area wouldn’t feel as approachable,” says Burnham. The painted flooring is a riff on conventional black-and-white checkerboard patterns; the cream and gray pairing—Swiss Coffee and Steel Wool by Pratt & Lambert—sets a more casual, coastal tone.
Play With Different Sheens
Burnham bypassed glossy surfaces in the kitchen for matte gray cabinetry and a glazed brick backsplash with dark grout lines, but the chrome fixtures by Moen and an electrified anchor add just the right amount of sparkle to the sunny cookspace. “These are like adding a bit of jewelry to the room,” says Burnham. Meanwhile, the oversize island and industrial-style pendants suit the kitchen’s grand scale. (The vaulted ceiling is 14 feet at its highest point.)
Get the look: The kitchen island is painted Symphony Blue by Pratt & Lambert. The windows are by Marvin. The upholstered chairs are by Lee Industries. The pendants are from Circa Lighting. The fixtures are by Moen. The countertops are by Caesarstone, and the backsplash is by Ann Sacks.
Design Practical Storage Solutions
The builders carved out a smart space for juggling household schedules and paperwork by extending the kitchen cabinetry to include an adjacent built-in desk; upper cabinetry keeps counter clutter at bay. In the nearby hall, the designers hung a collection of large framed nautical charts.
Get the look: The cabinetry is painted Marble Vein by Pratt & Lambert.
Find a Place in the Sun
Covered porches line the breezy, ocean side of the house, but on the lee side, a sun deck offers a comfortable spot for enjoying the warm California sunshine. Once the sun sinks and temperatures dip, the outdoor room becomes a cozy lounge, with a fire bowl from Eldorado Stone to warm things up. Cellular PVC decking from AZEK makes the terrace virtually maintenance-free. “We used only materials that are weather-, mold-, and termite-resistant,” says builder Mark Blore.
Focus on the Foliage
On the ocean-facing side of the house, a raised spa spills into a petite dipping pool. Textural Belgard pavers ground the outdoor space in organic, earthen hues, notes landscape designer Frank Marczynski. Edging the patio are blue fescue ornamental grasses, cottage pink dianthus, and a magnolia espalier at the far end of the pool.
Take Cues from Couture
The family room is outfitted in no-fuss Sunbrella fabrics, from the smoky gray sofa upholstery to a custom tribal-print rug. Though the designers selected the fabrics (such as lightweight wool and textured herringbone) to mimic the look and feel of men’s suiting, white trim and turquoise accents were added to cheer the muted palette. A sleek and modern ceiling fan from Big Ass Fans keeps the second-floor room cool.
Design for Smart Ventilation
Skylights send natural light streaming into this second-floor games area, and when opened, allow warm air to escape. “The ocean air sweeps over the top of the open skylight, drawing warm air out and away,” says architectural designer Dorian Lytle, who used Velux skylights to conserve energy. “If you design effectively, you can go a long way toward sustainability.”
Give Rooms a Sense of Place
Bookcases crafted of white oak, linen draperies, and wallpaper in a subtle geometric pattern lend the office a relaxed refinement. “It’s a twist on the traditional mahogany office, and befitting a house at the beach,” says Humphrey. The woodwork also complements the French oak flooring, used here and in the upstairs living spaces.
Get the look: The trim is painted Designer White by Pratt & Lambert. The windows are by Marvin. The chair is from Lee Industries, and the desk is from the Coastal Living collection by Stanley Furniture. The sailcloth tote is by Sea Bags.
Tailor Your Look
Fitted linen slipcovers with center stripe detailing by Lee Industries ground the dining room in tailored formality while still respecting the home’s beachy locale. The long oak dining table seats eight, so Burnham chose a linear glass-and-metal fixture from Circa Lighting that complements the scale of the furniture without weighing down the room.
Mix Contrasting Styles
“We designed this to be a classic summerhouse bedroom,” says Burnham, who commissioned the design of the hand-carved spindle bed. She then added modern accessories, such as a contemporary hourglass stool and a plush sheepskin draping a hanging chair, for contrast. “Too many traditional elements could make this room seem old-fashioned,” she says.
Layer Pattern Over Pattern
In the oceanfront guest room, gingham becomes a bold design element when repeated on the window treatments and the walls (achieved by layering two paint colors in alternating stripes). A smaller-scale version of the same pattern appears via drapery fabric by Kathryn M. Ireland.
Add Architectural Interest
Built-in shelving in the master bedroom turns bedside storage into a custom design element. With no room for reading lamps, the designer opted for a pair of Ralph Lauren polished nickel sconces. Simple white bedding is edged in green scalloped trim
Frame Your View
The Flagg team elevated the ground floor slightly to allow for ocean views. “We wanted both of the main living floors to have views of the water,” says Lytle. Vibrant green draperies in a fig leaf pattern frame the windows, while a sizable pendant from Circa Lighting makes an elegant statement overhead.
Balance Out Pastels
In the master bath, black-and-white sailing photographs and a striped rug enliven muted elements, like pale blue wain-scot and a pink upholstered ottoman. Throughout, two tankless water heaters from Rinnai ensure sandy beach-goers all have hot showers after a long day outdoors, while still being energy efficient.
Maximize Sleeping Space
In the basement bedroom, a smart bunk system fits two queen beds and two full beds—the bottom two face out, and the top two are positioned perpendicular to them. Light wells (cellars carved out alongside the house to align with basement windows) bring much-needed natural light down to the subterranean rooms. Down the hall, patterned cement tiles in the powder room stand up well to beach house traffic.
Craft a Creative Wall Display
Vintage signal flags solved the dilemma of how to fill a vast blank wall in the basement rec room. “They flew on ships, giving them great patina,” says Burnham, who mounted the flags on wooden strips to keep them taut. The room’s equally vibrant kitchenette—great for kids and pets!—is furnished with a painted breakfast table, cherry red metal chairs, and a striped rug, all from Cost Plus World Market.
Get the look: The rec room is painted Designer White by Pratt & Lambert. The refrigerator is by Big Chill. The windows are by Marvin. The fixtures are by Moen. The furniture and rug are from Cost Plus World Market.
Invite Natural Light
Sizable windows by Marvin line the walls of the stairwell and the cupola to send natural light streaming down into the lower floors. “The large stairwell is a great conduit for additional light; it makes the adjacent rooms feel more open,” says Blore.
Extend Your Living Space
Overlooking an expansive park and dog beach, the second-floor porch is furnished with weather-resistant furniture by Frontgate upholstered in Sunbrella fabrics. On cold evenings, the space can be closed off to the elements thanks to a motorized, retractable shade system, also with Sunbrella fabric. Clear vinyl windows preserve the view when the shades are down.
Get the look: The decking and railing are by AZEK.