Beautiful living indoors and out – here's how one Santa Monica home gets the balance right

Striking a balance between outdoor living and indoor comforts, this Southern Californian home looks good inside and out

kitchen with red range cooker white cabinets and open shelves large island with bar stools and round breakfast table
(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Until recently, all this home had to recommend it were its exterior walls, raw support beams and a concrete sub floor. Oh, and its breathtaking location – five minutes' walk from Southern California's Pacific Pallisades beaches one way, five minutes from the Santa Monica hiking trails in the other direction.  

One year on, and that same property is unrecognizable. Bought from a real estate developer in its shell state, it is now a beautifully finished and thoughtfully designed home, packed with luxurious touches, natural colors and textures, and surprising highlights here and there that stop you in your tracks. 

The outside space here in sunny Southern California is just as important. Landscaped gardens are set around the pool and planted in a series of terraces. And even when you're inside the home the huge picture windows and retractable glass doors give the illusion of being outside. This perfect synthesis between indoor and outdoor spaces, and the harmonious designs of both, make this one of the world's best homes

The person responsible for the dramatic change in the property's appearance is designer Lindsay Chambers, of Lindsay Chambers Design Studio (opens in new tab). This is Lindsay's own home and its transformation, she says, gave her the opportunity to take some of her favorite design elements she's used through the years and bring them into her personal project. 

The importance of outside space

exterior of white rendered home with blue sky and planted garden with swimming pools

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

'In a location like this,' explains Lindsay, 'where the weather is so nice year round, it was important to make the home feel connected to the outdoors because I spend a lot of time outside on the property. I also like to play sports with my friends and garden, so I added a bocce court, lap pool, and garden beds.' 

The garden was landscaped and planted from scratch, working with and around the plot's only existing features – several mature native fruit trees dotted about the garden.

As the planting begins to fill out, the outdoor space is really coming into its own, garden landscaping ideas  include a series of stepped terrace areas, winding paths around bent olive and fruit trees and the star feature, an enticing lap pool that reflects the sunny Santa Monica skies. 

sun loungers on a raised area in garden with flowerbeds and steps overlooking pool and flower borders

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

The front entry – a transitional space 

entry hall with wood paneling stone floor and widedoors open to garden

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

The front entry hall is full of inspiring entryway ideas. Lindsay says she wanted to bring in 'that feeling of being in a transitional farmhouse that was tied to the outside. I continued the limestone flooring from the patio inside and wrapped the walls in reclaimed wood,' she explains.   

Kitchen open to the garden

kitchen with red range cooker and round breakfast tabledoors open to garden

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

It was important for the kitchen to feel connected to the outdoors since indoor/outdoor living is such a major part of Southern California life – this was Lindsay's starting point for kitchen ideas here. Originally the kitchen was enclosed, but Lindsay opened up the back wall with floor to ceiling Anderson wood glass sliders, and continued the French limestone flooring in the kitchen to a new outside patio to further connect the two spaces. 

Lindsay says she was inspired by French transitional farmhouse design and sourced the range cooker – along with the oak beams and limestone flooring – directly from France.

'The apothecary-inspired island and handmade backsplash and ceiling tiles also reference European design elements,' says Lindsay. 'And even though I like relatively neutral color kitchens, I wanted to have some fun and so I put in the French Burgundy-colored stove. Providing a neutral backdrop helped showcase how pretty the stove is.' 

white kitchen with open shelves

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

As Lindsay considered her kitchen storage ideas she opted for a mix of fitted cabinets with some smart open display shelves. 'I love a pretty kitchen with clean lines and earthy materials,' she says. 'I also love to cook and wanted to design a space that was practical with surfaces that could handle citrus, red wine and the like, so that is why I selected a black torch finished granite on the side cabinets surrounding the stove and sinks, while using calacatta marble on the island only for design interest and contrast in the space.'

Breakfast – indoors and out

round breakfast table in kitchen with doors open to garden

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

The end walls in the kitchen open up completely with floor-to-ceiling glass pocket doors. Meanwhile, the French limestone used on the back patio has been continued into the kitchen so that when the windows are open, the indoor and outdoor spaces feel seamless and when you're sitting at the round table it's hard to tell whether breakfast is indoors or outdoors! 

Living room for all seasons

high ceilinged open plan living room with kitchen in background white sofa and armchairs round coffee table and tiled fireplace with wall hung tv and wooden white upholstered wingback chair

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Although the emphasis in this home is very much on the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, the living room gets special treatment. For anyone looking for living room ideas this space showcases exactly how to balance cozy for evenings and cooler weather and airy and open plan for summer living. 

Seating is grouped around a tiled fireplace, but with its high ceilings, tall windows and open plan views of the other main rooms in the home, it becomes a room for all seasons. Lindsay adds: 'My goal was to make the home feel warm, cozy and comfortable in a way that felt connected to the outdoors.' We think she's achieved it in style. 

Bedroom with a view

contemporary four poster double bed in high ceilinged room with huge window and views to garden and trees

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Anyone looking for bedroom ideas  could pick up some style tips from this dreamy room. With its all-natural finishes, it blurs the boundaries between what's outside that magnificent window and what's on the inside. It really could be a treetop sanctuary. 

Primary en suite

master bathroom with two separate basins and bath with marble edged floor and details with rug

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

This primary en suite is one of designer Lindsay's favourite spaces. Her key bathroom ideas here were to create a spa like bathroom. 'Luxurious, special and warm, but not too over the top,' she explains. 'It was important for me and my partner to have our own truly separated sink space as well, so countertop items did not get cluttered together.' Indeed, the two sink areas are at opposite ends of the room - no morning bathroom congestion here. 

The pool house and a space for entertaining

pool house with open sides and outdoor kitchen and seating area with swimming pool in front

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

If you're going to entertain outdoors, do it in style – Californian style. This pool house with a dedicated outdoor kitchen and comfortable seating area ensures that every last drop of sunshine and fresh air is enjoyed to the max. It's the ultimate blend of indoor and outdoor living. 

Karen is the houses editor for homesandgardens.com and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.