Tour a California Home That’s Beachy But Not Cliché

You’ll want to copy the floral mural ASAP.

Baskets, World Market Photography by Amy Bartlam

At first, hearing that a home's biggest challenge is that it’s too big sounds like a non-problem. Especially if, like many people, you live in a tiny home and are currently trying to figure out how your dresser can act as a closet, dining table, and desk all at the same time. But when you’re upgrading to a home four times the size of your last one, adjusting to scale can be a very real challenge. 

Photography by Amy Bartlam
Chandelier, Arteriors Photography by Amy Bartlam

“This was a very big house with high ceilings, and when it comes to modern retail furniture and accessories, most options are for a much smaller scale,” explains designer Genna Margolis of Shapeside, who designed this breezy Brentwood home for a family of five. “It was hard to find the right pieces that would fit, but still came off “beachy cool,” I had to custom-make a lot of pieces to give it the ultimate feel of what we were going for.”

Photography by Amy Bartlam

Starting completely from scratch, Margolis worked with her clients (a young couple with three kids ranging in age from two to seven years old) to create their dream space. The home, which Margolis describes as “very East Coast Cape Cod—traditional and a bit stuffy,” essentially did a 180 and is now the epitome of contemporary California cool.

Leather Pillows, Spartan Shop Photography by Amy Bartlam

“My inspiration for the design was a lot of Australian designs. Modern Australian designs are minimal but beachy; lots of neutrals and rattan, lots of textures, [and] not a lot of furniture,” says Margolis.

Wall Pulls, Alice Tacheny Photography by Amy Bartlam

Designing a space that was young and modern but not too young, beachy but not cliché, on trend but not trendy, and chic but not cold is no easy feat. But with elements like mudcloth textiles, lighter woods, and muted neutral hues (warm tones only!) present in every part of the house, Margolis made it work.  

Photography by Amy Bartlam
Photography by Amy Bartlam

It also helps that the clients had a clear starting point: Restoration Hardware’s Cloud Modular Sofa, which offers tons of seating space in a classic design. According to Margolis, the sofa was number one on their wishlist: “The RH Cloud Sofa was a must—no questions asked!”

Sofa, Restoration Hardware Photography by Amy Bartlam

Aside from having a specific vision in mind, another thing Margolis says helped the flow of the renovation was keeping the majority of the walls a crisp, simple white. “I decided to keep all of the downstairs whitewashed so it was cohesive and the most open. It also allows us to have more opportunity to do different designs in each room since it was a completely open floor plan downstairs,” shares the designer. “Ultimately, we focused on [the] upstairs bedrooms being more individualized with painting and wallpaper.”

Speaking of the upstairs bedroom, an obvious standout design moment in the home is the gorgeous floral accent wall in the nursery. Juxtaposed with sweet yet simple furniture, it brings in whimsy and livens up the room.

Mural, Anthropologie Photography by Amy Bartlam

“The floral accent wall is a mural from Anthropologie comprised of wallpaper panels; it’s a combination of two murals since the wall was too big to only fit one. We searched a lot for a standout mural but it was hard. A lot of the options were too busy or too dark,” says Margolis. “when I found [this] option, it was absolutely perfect. It has a white background (so it leaves the room bright) and big scale florals (so it’s not busy), and the perfect color scheme. It’s a win-win.”

Photography by Amy Bartlam

That nursery, along with two other equally stylish kids’ rooms, is a great example of how to create a space for your little ones without having it feel like a departure from the rest of the home. “The biggest compromise is finding a design the kids will like but will also be seamless with the design of the house. I definitely wanted the kids’ bedrooms to be much more individualized than the common areas of the house, so each child can feel like their bedroom was made just for them,” says Margolis.

Curtains, Anthropologie Photography by Amy Bartlam

Bright, breezy, and bursting with texture, this home is every bit the sunny California retreat. And while Margolis does have a favorite part (the master bedroom nightstand vignettes), the entire house is full of design-forward yet attainable moments any West Coast style fans should take note of.


“It reminds me of a luxe hotel in Tulum, but it’s located in Brentwood,” says Margolis. “It makes me so happy to see a cool take on beachy modern.”

Published on July 09, 2018 - 2:00pm EDT

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