Pro Portfolio: Beach home gets a modern makeover -- and a new third floor


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Every Monday we post a new home whose design is presented in the builder’s or designer’s own words. This week:

Architects:William Beauter and Jess Mullen-Carey, Make Architecture, Los Angeles. Project manager: Kathleen Dahlberg. Project team: Sachie Fujimori. General contractor: Gallegos Construction. Structural engineer: John Labib & Associates, Los Angeles


Project: 1,200-square-foot remodel and 600-square-foot addition

Location: Manhattan Beach

Architect’s description: Often the easy road seems to be to demolish the existing structure and start from scratch. This approach, however, is typically very wasteful since many of the existing materials will not be possible to reuse or recycle. With a little clever thinking and understanding of how buildings are built, remodeling (when well considered) can be much more efficient in attaining a client’s goals, respecting the budget and being environmentally responsible.

Working with the client, we assessed her needs and set in place three criteria: Work with what exists, retain elements that still work and reuse elements where possible. Kitchen and dining areas were undersized for the client’s lifestyle and were a major component driving the project. Now kitchen, dining and living spaces are stacked at the front of the house, by sliding doors that open to the crisp ocean air and views.

Before and after photos are shown above; to see more details of the remodel, keep reading ...

The street view showing the third-floor addition pulled back from the neighboring house and oriented toward the ocean view. Note how the layers of brown siding -- reminiscent of layers of earth -- stack up to the new top floor. As you’ll see, the cladding is carried into the interior to emphasize the indoor-outdoor connection.

The living room, previously on the second floor, was shifted to the new third floor, adjacent to a sizable deck. The sliding door erases the division between the deck and living room for true indoor-outdoor living for the owner and her friends.

Expanses of glass in the third-floor living room provide natural light. Three Tom Dixon Mirror Balls reflect orange and brown from the walls as well as blue from the rug, the sky and the sea.


The stairwell paint is Fireball Orange by Benjamin Moore. The stairs, flooring, screen wall and select furniture pieces are by Roger Floyd, Floyd Fine Woodworking.

On the second floor, a glossy white covers the kitchen, the new heart of the home. The CaesarStone island is custom. White laminate cabinet fronts were installed on the existing Home Depot cabinets. Onda counter stools are from Design Within Reach.

The reappropriation of existing elements such as the kitchen cabinets and fixtures and the powder room fixtures was a key goal.

Stairs in the center of the home were turned into an aesthetic element. The new screen wall incorporates the steps into the design, extending up to the new living space above while doubling as functional shelving.

The Manhattan Beach residence arrived on Make’s doorstep with lots of baggage, including a narrow hillside site and an existing two-story residence built under a much less stringent building code. The client’s desire to add more living area could only be accommodated by two options: Tear down and start from scratch or expand upward. Adding a third story (especially in California) is trickier than it might seem because of changes in codes and the need to protect against earthquakes. New posts and foundation pads were installed in way that eliminated the need to completely upgrade the existing foundation and demolish the old wall finishes, as would typically be required.

Back to the new space on the third floor: The sofa and ottoman are custom pieces. The bright blue shag rug is from Contempo Floor Coverings in West Los Angeles. The wood Cross Check chair is a Frank Gehry design. Note the two-sided Spark Modern Fires hearth, which separates the new living space and the master bedroom.

The sleeping quarters are tucked behind the fireplace.

Exterior finishes included Extira and James Hardie cement board, chosen partly for sustainable production practices, use of recycled content and reuse of manufacturing byproducts. Energy-efficient glass and passive shading devices have moderated the summer heat gain and winter heat loss. The deck and mahogany chaise was custom-built by Roger Floyd.

The outcome of all these choices is a lower environmental impact without sacrificing the client’s aesthetic sensibilities.

-- Compiled by Lisa Boone

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Photo credits: Ben Ariff, John Linden and Andy Sheng


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