While East Coast and West Coast decor have distinct differences, that doesn't mean the two can't ever meet in harmony. This house does just that, bringing a touch of quintessential New England coastal style to a stylish home in the laid-back South Bay setting of Manhattan Beach, Southern California.
We spoke to the designer to find out how she got the balance right.
East Coast meets West Coast
As East Coast natives who own a second Cape Cod house, these clients have a special appreciation for traditional architecture and wanted classic coastal decor ideas incorporated into their Southern California home.
The challenge? While their home had some of the best views in Manhattan Beach, the interior leaned heavily very 'Mediterranean', having been built in 2002, with lots of brown travertine, yellow paint, and a kitchen that was closed off from the main living spaces.
They called in the help of interior designer Mary Beth Christopher, from MBC Interior Design (opens in new tab), to execute a comprehensive renovation to the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home. Today, the home is a lighter, more open, and more user-friendly version of its former self.
The best part? It captures the clients’ most beloved aspects of both East and West coast design.
Setting the stage
Just like her clients for this project, interior designer Mary Beth Christopher draws inspiration from her Southern California lifestyle and East Coast roots. She uses both influences to design beautiful, welcoming spaces that look desirably lived in.
'We first laid the foundation for this home by replacing the floors with a beautiful wide-planked oak,' says Mary Beth, describing the journey of the project. 'We then covered virtually every inch in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, and added all new decorative lighting. Accents of navy and brass are purposefully infused throughout the home, providing the nautical sensibility the clients desired, but in a more contemporary, West Coast way.'
'We touched virtually every interior inch of the home, but the biggest transformation was in the kitchen, where there had been a long wall closing it off from the other living spaces.
'Removing the wall made the kitchen feel so much larger, allowed in tons of natural light, and the view of the Pacific can now be enjoyed from every angle.'
'By relocating the entrance to the pantry, we were able to put in a wet bar with a built-in Sub-Zero (opens in new tab) wine refrigerator, and cabinets to house glasswear.
'The new pantry “hidden” door moved inside the kitchen and was designed to blend in so the cabinetry looked continuous.
'The finishing touch is the amazing Ilve (opens in new tab) range in midnight blue and brass that looks almost too pretty to cook on, and provides just the right contrast in this all-white kitchen.
'The clients had recently put in a new pool and needed a drop-zone area just inside for easy access to towels and toys – a great option when you're looking for pool ideas.
'We took an unused built-in desk that was original to the home and made the area into a mudroom with tall built-in cabinets that allow for tons of extra storage, a bench for putting on and taking off shoes, and plenty of hooks for hanging towels.'
'The master bathroom was fully re-imagined and designed to be timeless: marble now covers the floors instead of travertine, the built-in tub was swapped out for freestanding, and all new custom cabinetry installed.'
Take a look at more master bathroom ideas for more expert inspiration on color, surfaces, sanitaryware and design.
Powder room ideas were never going to be overlooked in this seven-bathroom project.
'In the powder room, we chose a Zak & Fox (opens in new tab) cobalt and white printed wallpaper for this small space. While white and blue stripes may be the expected, here we decided to play with the color combination in a more global and energetic way than what one might typically expect,' Mary Beth explains.
Second powder room
'The second powder room is on the main floor just off the home office. Inspired by a pair of navy leather and brass sconces the clients fell in love with, we decided to run with the menswear, old-school look and wallpapered the entire space in a textured herringbone wall covering for a “Ralph Lauren meets Soho House” effect.'
If you're looking to choose a wallpaper for your small bathroom, this feature on powder room wall decor is full of inspiration.
'In the secondary bathrooms, we replaced outdated built-in bathtubs for walk-in showers, and selected all new tile, mirrors, and plumbing fixtures,' Mary Beth says. 'We were able to save in these spaces by re-using the existing cabinetry but made it feel new with fresh paint and hardware.;
The designer looked to a typical coastal color for her blue bathroom ideas.
'While navy blue is a dominant color in both boys’ bathrooms, the finishes all together give each space a more sleek and modern interpretation of “coastal”.
Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.
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