Before & After: This spacious California beach house was once a weather-beaten seaside cottage


The property

The first thing you notice about this modern house? There are two. A pair of houses designed to function as one. “Fraternal twins”, as the interior designer of the beach house Lucas puts it perfectly.

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

This huge, seven-bedroom property in Del Mar, Calif., Started out as a tiny beachfront cottage that the owner bought because the location reminded them of New Zealand’s surf beaches.

It was a pretty single storey house clad in wooden planks, which had all the charm one expects from a seaside house. But as the family began to grow, the owners wanted a space where they could all spend time together during vacations and weekends. So when the house across the street went up for sale, they bought it with the plan to completely rethink the two houses and bring them together. Create two totally separate spaces that could also function as one.

Front photo of the chalet by the sea

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Entrance

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

This property was built to be a vacation home, and heavily used, so the owners didn’t want to be picky or feel overly organized, the design and decor had to be classic, sturdy and stand the test of time.

Lots of natural materials have been used in both houses giving it a lovely earthy organic feel. The idea was that the house would stand up to time beautifully.

Food

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

In the beautiful light wood kitchen, there is elegance in the space but you also feel almost cocooning with the wooden cladding on the walls too. These warm tones are found throughout the house, the idea was that the subtle and calming colors would provide a feeling of protection from the sea which is on the doorstep.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Adjoining the kitchen, with a window to merge the two spaces, is a barbecue terrace.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Living spaces

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

There is so much living space on both sides of the house, both inside and out, but this main living space or The Great Room, as it is also called, is used as main family room.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Again lots of lovely warm tones, it feels relaxed and laid back. Traditional artwork has been kept to a minimum in the home, but the owners have seen the space as an opportunity to showcase their own personal collection of Maori objects and contemporary New Zealand art. Chris Charteris’ beautiful “Meeting Place” hanging necklace is just one example.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

This living room is on the other side of the house, and you can tell there is a contrast here with all those light neutrals happening on the beach side of the house.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

The colors are deep, darker and the stained wood walls and a coziness you don’t get in the airy open rooms across the house. The idea was that these rooms would look more like a shelter from the sea.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

There is still the same relaxed feeling here, the same style, low furniture and lots of texture too.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Master bedroom

There are seven bedrooms in total. This is the master bedroom of the beach house.

Modern beach house in New Zealand

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

There are a lot of Japanese influences throughout the house, both in the architecture and in the decor. In the master bedroom, this nod to Japanese design is found in the bedroom both in the hand-woven throw and in the custom headboard designed by Japanese textile artist Hiroko Takeda.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Guest rooms

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

A terrace connects the top two floors of each house, with guest bedrooms located on either side. There is a real blur between the exterior and the interior, which was the key to the design of the whole house. The architect didn’t want spaces for each function separately, the idea was that all the outdoor spaces feel like a simple extension of the indoor rooms.

Modern beach house in New Zealand

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Inside, the bedrooms once again have that lovely light, seaside color scheme. Warm creams, white and just touches of dark wood to found the look.

Modern beach house in New Zealand

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Bathrooms

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

There are ten bathrooms in both houses. Each has their own unique feel. This dark wood clad bathroom is filled with beautiful textures that despite the dramatic colors still have a relaxed beach feel.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Again, in order to create that seamless feeling between indoors and outdoors, there is an outdoor shower. Filled with lush greenery, a floating bench, and smooth pebble flooring, it has the distinct feel of a Japanese garden.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

The en-suite bathrooms in the guest bedrooms combine the warm wood cladding with elegant gray marble to give the bedrooms a soft yet contemporary feel.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Covered terrace

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

There are as many outdoor living and dining spaces as there are. A covered terrace, on the ground and first floors, is located on the beach side of the property. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors separate it from the interior, but there’s still that feeling that you can seamlessly switch between them.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

A dining room takes up half of the terrace, the other half is an informal outdoor lounge, with an outdoor fireplace for cooler nights.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)

On the second floor, a smaller and more intimate outdoor lounge overlooks the sea. Again, there is a fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere.

Ryosha New Zealand Beach House

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman)


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