A Look Inside a Newly Renovated Home on the California Coast
Alexis Manfer is the founder of Alexis Manfer, Inc., a full-service national design firm specializing in residential and office interiors. With a degree in interior architecture from UCLA, Manfer brings more than 12 years of experience to her firm and has worked under some of design's biggest names, including Kelly Wearstler, Juan Pablo Molyneux, and Amanda Nisbet. Here, Manfer gives us a tour of her latest renovation: a coastal home in Southern California.
Our latest renovation took place at a four-bed, three-bath 2500-square-foot residence in Laguna Niguel, California. It’s 10 minutes from the beach and has an amazing pool in the backyard. My clients are a vivacious and busy family of four with two boys under 4 years old. The home was built in 1987 and was originally done in a Mediterranean style. Upon renovating it, we decided to transform it into a light, bright coastal home. My goal for the project was to reflect my client’s lifestyle and unique aesthetic. The family enjoys swimming in their backyard pool and spending time at the beach, so we used shades of blues and greens to inspire the feeling of being near the water. We also mixed in lots of neutrals to mimic the color of sand. The inspiration for the home was coastal and colorful while still incorporating some softer elements. Keep reading for images of the completed renovation and learn about our process for redesigning each room.
In this project, we started with a neutral color palette of light wood floors and pale gray or white walls, later adding in pops of color with the furniture, art, and accessories. The art adds vibrancy and really brings that coastal, breezy style to life in this home. The image of the lifeguard tower in the living room is a nod to the husband’s childhood job as a lifeguard.
The most dramatic transformation was the kitchen, which we completely flipped. We rearranged the layout thoughtfully, placing the sink under the windows to ensure a view of the spectacular green hills. We also opened up the kitchen walls to the family room after the mom requested a space where she could prepare meals while keeping an eye on her little ones. We made sure to give her lots of storage by adding massive cabinets under the grand central island. The three-dimensional tiles in the kitchen were another favorite find. They have a fantastic texture and bring depth and interest to the space.
The wood floors were the first thing we bought for the house. In order to transform the original Mediterranean style, we had to tear out the dark, dated flooring throughout. We went with a light-colored oak plank–style wood flooring. I knew the lighter wood color would be the perfect complement to the rest of the coastal design. The way the colors came together is my favorite aspect of the space. Even though there are some dark-colored items, the overall feeling is not too bold, and the overall aesthetic has a softness.
We knew we wanted darker-colored upholstered sofas and chairs so that the fabric would hide any accidental dirt or stains. We also made sure the coffee tables and dining table were made of materials that are easy to wipe clean without sacrificing style. We were able to achieve this by keeping the wall paint colors pale and mixing in the brighter hues through the furniture and art. The two pieces above the turquoise sofa tie the space together and draw your eye to the playful colors and patterns throughout the family room.
The master bedroom was designed to be a sanctuary for the couple with a large, comfortable, polished chrome bed, and beautiful, luxurious bedding. We knew we wanted to evoke a breezy vibe to this home, so we looked to the natural colors at the beach and in the ocean. The color of sand is exemplified in the bedding and the carpet we installed. Much of the art also showcases soft colors found in sunsets or images of the seashore.
The master bathroom has a big soaking tub located next to several windows, which makes it the perfect place to unwind with a stunning view at the end of a day. To ensure all the surface materials were virtually indestructible, we went with quartz countertops for the bathrooms throughout and the kitchen. Even though the counters are white, quartz countertops are stain-, acid-, scratch-, heat-, and impact-resistantt—perfect for a family with small children, plus it went beautifully with the overall aesthetic.
The clients really wanted to brighten up the space because the original Mediterranean style was very heavy and filled with colors. However, we also knew it had to be kid-friendly and low-maintenance for a family with two active boys. Particularly with the kids' spaces, we had to find a balance between light colors and materials that hide dirt and are durable.
Up next, delve into a stunning beach house renovation completed by Manfer in Los Angeles.