This Renovation Will Make You Rethink the Typical Look of a California Beach House
A 1960s Southern California seaside property gets a luxe update that still fits in with its natural surroundings.
Set on a calm, blue backdrop of secluded canals in the Ventura Keys, where palm trees are reflected in the water above an enclave of impressive homes, sits one that’s reimagined what it means to live in a Southern California beach community.
The cool palette of the property—awash with its blue, white, black, and wood shades—is reminiscent of the colors that could be found near the shore, but there isn’t a seashell or anchor in sight. If anything, the trinkets sprinkled around the house evoke the owners’ travels to Africa more than their walks along the local sand.
“The neutral palette with dark accents felt interesting without being stuck in a certain time,” designer Jesse DeSanti says. “We wanted a beach feel without shells, and the blue brings in some of that without being nautical.”
The owners, a couple who own a business and have a grown son, envisioned this creative escape as a blend of slick modern hardware and soft personal touches. But long before the home could reach this point, its original 1960s footprint had to be renovated. That’s where architect Martha Piccioti’s vision came into view.
“The only thing we kept from the original house was the slab, so the garage stayed in the same place,” Piccioti notes. “The kitchen and dining area remained in roughly their original location, and the staircase was relocated to become an architectural feature.”
Piccioti remembers the midcentury structure had a strange asymmetrical roofline that didn’t take advantage of the waterside views. She opted to keep the two-story concept of the home the same, but installed floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area, and expanded the catwalk to become part of the master bedroom. An abundance of glass was used for light alongside exposed beams and teak paneling was added for detail.
“The primary objective was to keep the two-story living room and optimize views of the channel,” Piccioti says. “The house is very much about light and water.”
Once the 18-month construction was completed on the three-bedroom address, it was up to DeSanti and the owners to style each room with a mix of air and shadow. This was a process that took years, and it was bolstered by a coinciding friendship. In fact, DeSanti mentions that the owners have known her long enough to see her get married, have her first child, and become pregnant with her second.
“I was able to get to know the owners so well,” DeSanti says. “We worked really hard to bring in the texture, neutral colors, and warmth to make the space inviting.”
In the end, the home’s many modern touches—the high ceilings, glass walls, and exposed steel, etc.—don’t come off like wearing a turtleneck on a beach day. Instead, their elevated features allow the ocean-like palette to feel like a warm breeze, which is always welcome in a setting as picturesque as this.