Looking downstairs to the spectacular Pacific beyond, interior seating leaves room for entertaining with a seamless connection to the exterior living spaces.

Laurie Morrison

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Pacific Jewel In the studio: Unique Vision

Eric Figge

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Pacific Jewel From the Ashes

A SHORT DRIVE FROM LOS ANGELES, Laguna Beach is one of many lovely stops along the California Coast. Artists, actors and celebrities are among the environmentally minded residents living in this stunning seaside town, its streets named for tangible bits of beauty: Agate, Pearl, Ruby and Diamond. Located in a small area called Woods Cove, a beachfront home sits on a narrow winding roadway. Looking as if it grew organically from the surrounding soil, this home is nothing if not beautiful.

The lines of the house are softly contemporary: simple, clean, easy to live with and easy to live in. The 1950s home was remodeled by Newport Beach architect Brion Jeannette. Jeannette created the plans that formed the bones and structure of this 7,200-square-foot dwelling, incorporating signature energy efficient principles throughout.

The fireplace, made of split-face limestone, holds a dramatic Abstract work of oxidized steel by Yoachim Belanger; the vibrant blues and bits of yellow in this piece can be found in designer accessories throughout the lower floor.

The home's exterior at dusk.

When visitors open the oversize front door and enter the small vestibule, they are met with glass doors and adjacent pieces of art. But what draws the eyes is the shimmering water beyond. “You get the unexpected power of that ocean view as soon as you walk in,” says Jeannette. “And you experience the spectacular beauty in every room. We sought to capture that magnificent view from as many places as possible.” 

Throughout the home’s three levels are soft furnishings in sandy colors, well-placed art and sculpture. Small points of detail — the texture of the stone walls, the design on the rugs and undulating silhouettes of bright glass bottles — all mimic the organic patterns found outdoors.

Interior designer Courtney Lawrence Ziething expertly designed and specified every interior detail, all with simple beauty in mind. “I chose a combination of textures and colors that would ensure that the ocean, sand and rocks felt like they were part of the interior,” she says, and on every side is a seamless reflection of those choices. Most of the furniture was custom made: Local artists were called upon for glass pieces, rugs, bedding and window treatments. The stone floor, walls and countertops have simple matte finishes. “I especially like the juxtaposition between the matte surfaces and the reflective qualities found in the stainless pieces and the glass ... those feel like pieces of jewelry,” says Lawrence Ziething. Beyond that interior glimmer, the water glistens — nothing detracts from the views of the water. 

Your eyes are drawn repeatedly to the handcrafted stainless steel tub, by Neometro, in the center of the room, opposite the large shower. From anywhere in the bathroom you can glance to the water. Pocket doors are hidden from view and soft apricot curtains from Steven Drapery ensure privacy if desired. The sink is fully integrated custom stone, fabricated out of white natural quartz.

The foyer showcases the rich wood of the ceiling, a Philippine mahogany found in most of the rooms. A large Abstract work by America Martin hangs facing a custom-made bench by Lawrence Zeithing, and the blue limestone floor is carried throughout the home.

General contractor Chris Gallo, along with numerous craftsmen, completed the creative team. “I am personally involved in every job we do,” says Gallo. “And I enjoy the challenges that come from each project. I think the specific details add up to give you something phenomenal, and I love adding those touches.”

There is a wonderful flow to this house, from room to room, says the architect with a smile. “You want to kick off your shoes and walk around barefoot; that’s one of the most important features of this house — its style is clean and contemporary, with an aspect of comfort that is truly inviting.”

The architecture and design of this home appeal to all the senses. The ocean sounds are muted until you open one of the many doors leading outside. With doors open, sounds alternate between soft whispers and fantastic crashes as the waves hit both the sand and the many rocks rising from the cove. “There is something definitely special that comes with the sound of the waves and the smells that come from the ocean,” says Lawrence Ziething. 

In room after room, the outdoors is joyously brought inside. “What we were trying to do was create a space that beckons you to stay, linger and return, and to give you an environment of peace,” says Jeannette.

Easy and comfortable yet quietly elegant; this home is a true jewel ensconced in the perfect setting. This Woods Cove house would beckon anyone home. 

The game room, located on the lower level, has glass walls on two sides and extends the open ambiance of the home. A custom-designed sofa, upholstered in Holly Hunt fabric, works alongside chairs, an ottoman and walnut tripod floor lamp, all by Twentieth. The space includes a pool room, steam room and laundry room in addition to the bar against the wall facing the water.

The master bedroom has the same limestone flooring and mahogany ceiling as the rest of the home. In addition, an entire wall of glass highlights the beauty and proximity of the ocean. Twin chaise lounges offer the homeowners a unique space in which to relax. Along with custom-designed bedding and pillows by Canfield Custom Bedding, there are hand-blown glass lights on either side of the bed by Alison Berger Glassworks. The rug, a wool and silk blend, mirrors the soft shades of the bedding and pillows.

The infinity pool is surrounded by by Lagos blue limestone with a mahogany ceiling.