Images: Manolo Langis
Builder: Brandon Architects
Designer: Errol Dejager
Constraints often lead to creative resourcefulness. Such is the case at the home on Lido Isle in Newport Beach that Brandon Architects designed in collaboration with interior designer Errol Dejager. That said, the team started with a good challenge that nonethe- less required navigating HOA regulations and design guidelines. The approximately 60-foot-wide lot “is one of the larger lots on the island,” explains Brandon Architects project manager Caitlin Smith, who worked closely with firm founder Christopher Brandon on the project. So, the designers set out to devise an alternative to the side-oriented entrances typically seen in the neighborhood that would bring a degree of intrigue and enhance the welcoming feeling at this waterfront oasis.
The resulting landscaped serene entry courtyard allows the layout to “to get that indoor-outdoor flow,” Smith says. Costa Mesa-based Brandon Architects, who have built multiple residences on Lido Isle and are well versed with its HOA regulations, also sought “to maximize that water frontage,” she adds. The 5,600-square-foot house is firmly anchored on its site yet has a lightness that echoes the symbolism of the waterfront setting. To support the client and his family’s passion for boating and entertaining in their weekend home, water is always in view. This main draw starts from the courtyard approach where Euroline steel and glass pocketing doors bring the outside in, and vice versa.
“The gist of it is everything has to be kid-friendly and as user-friendly as we could make it,” Dejager explains. The home is envisioned as a relatively quiet retreat from Los Angeles, so the furniture is comfortable, calm, and neutral, with soft gray and blue accents to reference the most notable natural feature situated just outside the walls. With five bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms, Dejager’s touch dials the spacious interior volumes down into a human scale. Interior paneling in the foyer, for instance, helps achieve this goal.
“I always like to have a sense that the interior relates to the exterior,” says the designer, who maintains studios in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills. “Hopefully there’s a flow between the interior and exterior with finishes, and in terms of color and tone.” The street-facing elevation contains a three-car garage and stone cladding to add earthy texture to the contemporary updating of a traditional beach house aesthetic, and landscaping to soften the interface with the street.
Inside at the ground level, the brief included providing the family with the ability to entertain as many people as possible. A graciously hospitable gesture begins in the foyer, where a wine cellar and wet bar stand opposite the entrance and help establish a very inviting setting, Smith notes. This ethos continues throughout the downstairs great room, which extends the width of the parcel and embraces the channel views. A custom white sectional sofa upholstered in Perennials Fabrics is sized for the large room, and two families can easily fit around the Altura dining table in the center of the space that’s warmly accented with contrasting wood beamed ceilings. “The paneling unifies the whole space,” Dejager says. The open kitchen and roomy Taj Mahal quartzite-topped island means many cooks can be in the kitchen, plus a butler’s pantry tucked behind the wine cellar adds to the efficiency. The owners’ pets even have their own domains, with a nook integrated beneath the stairwell and a dedicated dog run.
Natural light is a constant presence throughout thanks to the large skylight above the stairwell. A paneled sliding door camouflaged into the wall at the top of the stairs conceals the dramatic primary suite, which holds separate zones and ample privacy while allowing for family warmth and comfort. A fireplace separates the bedroom from the lounge area beneath a vaulted ceiling, which opens up to a balcony boasting stunning views. His-and-her bathrooms designed in contrasting styles are situated on either side of the suite, and the channel vista from the gym’s slightly projecting bay window makes exercise far more pleasurable.
Lido Isle has its own unique type of relaxed waterfront density, so it’s fitting that the clients wanted to maintain that casual feel, “so friends and family can use the house without it feeling overly done,” Smith says. In lieu of a conventional yard, outdoor waterfront areas are furnished and outfitted to gather at all times of day and seasons, complete with cooking amenities, a dining table, and fire pit. The dock is a mere stone’s throw from the house, too, so a boat ride is always a distinct possibility. Figuring out whether to watch the sunset while cruising out to Newport Bay or sitting on the home’s patio is an enviably tough choice with only right answers.