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New Modern Beach Home in California by Laurie C. Fisher Architecture, Inc.
September 4th, 2017 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Laurie C. Fisher Architecture, Inc.
SAN DIEGO San Diego-based Laurie Fisher, Architect, completed the design and construction administration for a new 2,000-square-foot custom home located just blocks from the beach in the idyllic town of Del Mar, Calif.
Married couple Paul Wayne and Janice Myck-Wayne contracted Laurie Fisher, Architect, for the $1 million project, which included concept design, Del Mar Review Board process and approval, construction documents, permitting and construction administration. Fisher also performed the interior design in collaboration with Myck-Wayne.
The primary challenge was to create a home that would easily accommodate their two grown sons and their friends when they came to stay with them, and lend itself to entertaining, yet fit on the tight 5,212-square-foot lot. Moreover, the lot lies within the flood plain, so the home needed to be built seven feet over the existing grade and not exceed 27 feet in height.
Given those restrictions, Fisher steered the Waynes toward a single-story design that made the most use of the height they had.
The end result is a modern interpretation of Southern California vernacular that lives much larger than its relatively small size. With 1,500 square feet of livable space plus a two-car garage, the home encompasses two bedrooms and two baths plus an office mezzanine and can easily sleep up to six people. Outdoor front and back decks provide an additional 800 square feet of space where family members and guests can gather, eat and lounge without feeling cramped.
The Waynes had purchased the small lot with a 780-square-foot 50s style bungalow back in 1997 and used it as a summer rental and getaway from their career-driven lives in Los Angeles. They had always dreamed of building a new home and, when their sons left the nest, they felt the time was right.
“In the beginning, we thought we wanted a two-story conventional beach cottage,” said Myck-Wayne. “Laurie had asked me to forward images of home design I liked, and noticed I kept sending her cool, contemporary design ideas. That led us to a much less traditional design concept.”
High vaulted ceilings with wood rafters are the crowning glory of this home, lending to the home’s feeling of majesty, airiness and spaciousness. Recreating the open beamed ceiling and insulating the roof to current building code requirements posed construction challenges, but the solution was to use deeper beams and closed-cell polyurethane foam insulation.
A section of the roof is cantilevered over the front entry, drawing the eye up and giving the exterior dramatic impact and the appearance of greater volume. Trespa panels in a rich wood tone add warmth and modern sleekness to the exterior’s front and side. Opaque, textured glass front doors with vivid coral frames accentuate the entry, while floor tiles create a welcoming path leading up to them.
Concrete block retaining wall and planters, along with low-water landscape by landscape architect Debora Carl, add to the home’s clean, modern exterior.
Since the tight lot has no real views to take advantage of, getting light into the living space was of paramount importance. The answer was continuous, operable, clerestory windows that let in maximum light and take advantage of westerly and northerly winds to cool the home in summer. The home has several zones for air conditioning, but will rarely require any due to its purposeful design.
Capitalizing on its height and use of clerestory windows also enabled the design to take full advantage of interior wall space, while lending extreme privacy from adjoining neighbors.
The indoor/outdoor great room has a built-in banquette, with storage next to a small bar. A pullout couch can sleep two or more guests. The kitchen, with the strong vertical lines of the cabinetry contrasted with the horizontal lines of the tiled backsplash, is connected to the great room for easy entertaining and casual dining.
Wood-patterned tile flooring throughout the great room extends out to the back deck that, with the bi-fold doors completely open, creates the feeling of one large living space, complete with a barbecue, another casual dining area, built-in bench seating, fire pit and outdoor heating.
A second, lower deck provides additional lounge space and a transition to the yard. Shrubs will eventually grow higher than the fence for privacy. Below, Fisher added a “California mud room,” an enclosed outdoor shower with space for surfboards and wetsuits.
A lot of space-saving design techniques were incorporated into the master bedroom that, while not big, offers it all. A partition consisting of a custom-upholstered headboard and frosted glass forms a “walk-in closet” behind the bed. Next to the bedroom, a full-height cabinet has a pullout ironing board and hamper. Recessed fixtures in the ceiling over the bed provide light for reading.
A stripe of Iris Ceramica tiles with funky, mismatched black-and-white patterns across the floor and up the walls of the shower add playfulness to the master bathroom. An overhead skylight captures sunlight and the sense of showering outdoors.
Off to the right and three steps up as you first enter the home is mezzanine space that serves primarily as a home office. A Murphy bed and built-in storage allows it to be used as a second guest bedroom. A wraparound deck that can be used as another lounge area and ideal place to view Fourth of July fireworks is accessed from this room. Acrylic 3-Form panels between the mezzanine office space and front entry provide both aesthetic interest and privacy.
Forever looking for “unique launching points” on projects, Fisher definitely found one when Myck-Wayne, when they first met to discuss the design theme, spread a pile of beach pebbles on the kitchen table and said, “All of these colors need to be in my home.”
“The playful palette drove the design,” said Fisher. “We consciously created elements in the design that would showcase the colors and have them play off of one another.”
Myck-Wayne had been collecting those pebbles along Del Mar City Beach, a three-mile stretch of Pacific coastline, for many years. The thread of those pebbles set the color palette for each room and, since the house is small and you essentially see all the colors at once, the whole palette needed to work together. Fisher made sure that both cool and warm colors coordinated, and had the right neutral to back it up.
A warm putty tone flows through the house as a base neutral. Accent walls pop with bright colors such as the rich coral used on the front door frames and wall of the stairwell connecting to the garage. Beach blues were used in the mezzanine, guestroom and great room. A teal color is pulled into pendant lights in the kitchen, an accent wall, tiling and a refurbished dress-turned-vanity in the guest bathroom, and the bedspread in the master bedroom. An eggplant shade was used in the master bath.
Through smart design, light streams through the house and bounces off the colors, connecting the Waynes to the ocean, the cliffs and those inspiring pebbles that continue to wash ashore just down the street.
Evolving from its earliest concept as a conventional beach cottage to its final form of a contemporary SoCal beach dwelling, the home is anything but conventional.
“It exemplifies living comfortably in a small space, with custom design touches that create the beach vibe we wanted from the beginning,” said Myck-Wayne. “Laurie managed to deliver the space, amenities and feel we wanted – without putting seashells everywhere.”
About Laurie C Fisher, Architect
Laurie C Fisher, Architect, provides full-service architectural design, from start to finish, for ground-up custom homes, existing home transformations, as well as assisted-living facilities, restaurants and bars, and other commercial projects. Laurie Fisher is a California-registered architect with 23 years of architectural design experience abroad in Paris and in San Diego.
In 2009, she was the recipient of the Distinguished Service in Sustainability award from the American Institute of Architects, San Diego chapter. Laurie Fisher served as a founding officer and board of director for the U.S. Green Building Council, and has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2003. She earned her LEED BD+C (Building, Design and Construction) specialty credential in 2011. Laurie C Fisher, Architect, is based in the San Diego community of South Park.