When JD Roth and his wife, Christine, built their home just steps from the Pacific Ocean seven years ago, they turned to the East Coast for inspiration.
The 48-year-old reality-television producer's Manhattan Beach home, in the pricey oceanfront stretch known as the Strand, looks like it was plucked out of his childhood in Ventnor City, N.J., a beach town that shares the same boardwalk as Atlantic City.
Roth is best known for competitive pound-shedding shows such as NBC's "The Biggest Loser," ABC's "Extreme Weight Loss" and MTV's "I Used to Be Fat." He and his wife live in the home with their two teenage sons, Cooper and Duncan.
What's your favorite room and why?
The living room. We built it to look like an enclosed porch. When I sit in that room, I'm reminded of the beach town I grew up in — all the houses were super-old and had enclosed porches with divided-light windows.
The grid windows in the room are unusual. Did you get flak for choosing them?
Yes. I remember the architect and all the local people were saying, "Why would you do that? You want all glass. You don't want anything to disturb the view." We went ahead and did it anyway.
But then how do you take advantage of your ocean view?
We have extra-large mirrors that are more than 150 years old, which reflect the water. Wherever you're sitting in the room — even when you're looking away from the view — it almost feels as if you're surrounded by water.
Any special items in the room?
A lot of the vintage items my wife and I have picked up over 25 years are in there. The two plant hangers that we have over the fireplace are actually swings from a 1930s carnival. There are two vintage leather swivel chairs and an old outdoor wood swing by the sofa.
The "Thank you, Come Again" sign above the sofa is actually from a 1940s Midwest diner. The back still has their actual menu. The beams and the wood floors in the room are from a 200-year-old East Coast barn, and the brick is from a 100-year-old building.
You wrote most of your new book, "The Big Fat Truth," from your living room.
On late weekday mornings when everyone's at work or at school, it's really quiet; I'd just go there and write.
On Friday nights, we'd have friends over. On weekends, we'd hang out there with the kids. Everybody wants to sit in that room.
How would you sum up what your book is about?
If you fix your mind, your body will follow. If you're looking for something prescriptive — how should I work out, what doctors say — I didn't go that route. I share what I did in our shows, which was loving the weight off.
Forget the science and medicine; it's the emotional and brain power that makes a change in someone's life.
Other than write, anything else you like to do in the room?
Nap. Sometimes, I do both in the same hour. I'm in the middle of writing, that ocean air blows through, the next thing I know, I'm checking out the back of my eyelids.