A Beach House Discovers Modernity
The Client was looking to move to the ocean front walk streets in Manhattan Beach and settled on an existing duplex built in the 1940s. The couple approached the AA design team to convert the property into a single-family residence and transform the outdated stucco box into their modern dream home. With its close proximity to neighbors and pedestrian zones, the trick was to bring in abundant natural light while preserving intimacy.
The front facade was redesigned with large openings that create a connection to the ocean views. Accordion style glass doors were installed on the lower floor to form an indoor-outdoor space with the front garden. The exterior palette is a subtle mix of smooth trowel stucco and honed limestone, emboldened with dark stained mahogany siding.
The public entry sequence pulls you through the front garden, leading to the main entry which sits on the side of the home. A custom designed walnut and stainless steel door opens into a two-story foyer. Inside, a ledge above the door holds an antique water wheel, a notable piece belonging to the Client. This wheel is backlit with a large window adjacent to it. Top floor skylights add dramatic light which filters down a multi-tiered staircase.
By combining the existing two units, the new home now has increased length in the living spaces on the main floor. The central two-story kitchen is washed with light from multiple skylights, which also filter into the adjoining living and dining rooms. Custom white and walnut cabinetry in the kitchen create both expanse and composition.
Accordion style glass doors were installed on the lower floor that open up to form an indoor-outdoor space with the garden.
On the third floor, the master bedroom occupies the ocean view corner, while an open passage leads through the master bath with intricate architectural detail. This path continues across the bridge, looking into the living spaces below, and finally ending at the access to the roof deck. As a necessity to any modern beach home, a sprawling roof deck was designed with panoramic ocean views.