They reminisce about their family’s happy times vacationing in Balboa and Newport, and the role the west coast played in their home’s aesthetic: the littoral color palette; beach-inspired materials (bleached oak floors, grasscloth wallpaper, marble counters, and the varied reflective qualities of their mixed metal finishes); and the gorgeous, and more importantly meaningful, beachside art adorning their walls.
They recall carefree afternoons driving through their favorite California neighborhoods, looking for design inspiration. They discuss the often unnoticed fact that coastal homes are as beautiful in the back as the front—something they took cue from.
When asked about the construction process, they’re quick to dismiss the time it took, or the glitches that arose, and sincere about the fluidity of their decision making process. Elisabeth gives a nod to Jesse as the driving force in the particulars of the design and construction process (everything from hand-drafting layouts to sketching millwork) and Jesse jokes that the contractor, two months into the process, was shocked he’d never met Elisabeth.
“I’m more relaxed,” Elisabeth good-naturedly teases Jesse, “Not as picky.” When asked what she loves most about her home, Elisabeth quickly responds, “The kitchen, the laundry, the mudroom–what every woman wants to love!” Then pauses, “And I do love looking at the light over my kitchen table. The stars on it, and in the mudroom, they just make me happy.”
Jesse admires the quality of interior light streaming through their windows and the fact that he can sit in his family room, or work from the dining room table, and see the front and backyard at the same time. That his front porch, which came at the cost of a grander entrance and dining room space, allows him to sit on the veranda and chat with neighbors. That his basement has an arcade; a throwback to his childhood in Sugarhouse, where he and his brothers would walk with their paper route money to spend their earnings.
Most fascinating in their design/build process was their decision to forego a two-story cape cod for a shingle-style cottage. Their original plan was to have a second story with family living on the second story. The main floor was to have a more formal kitchen, dining, office, mudroom, and living room.
“After sitting with the plans for a while, we realized,” Jesse explains, ”that if we went with one-story, not only did we gain efficiency in how we used our square footage, but it forced us into an open floor plan that was better for entertaining friends and family…And if there’s one thing that I strongly believe, is that you can’t give up function for aesthetics. Function always comes first.”
A one-story home also made sense from a long-term perspective. In Jesse’s experience as a mortgage lender, he knew twenty years, thirty years, would come faster than they thought; and a one-story made sense for their empty-nester years.
What also made sense for those years: creating a space in the basement that could host a family. “We have lived with our parents…twice,” Elizabeth admits, “so we wanted to have a space that one of our kids could live comfortably with their family.”
As Jesse self-deprecatingly quips, “We sound like we over thought this, and we did. But, you know, we had some time.”
Thank you Elisabeth and Jesse for welcoming us into your home! Not only did we enjoy your hospitality, your discerning good taste, but also your home in all its Christmas splendor. It was a lovely escape from the doldrums of a cold-winter morning and we appreciate you sharing your time with us this busy holiday season.
Photography: Sara Bateman Photography
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