An Eclectic Cape Cod-Style Malibu Home


Upon approach, the home of Amanda and Chris Shumow, a young couple with four children, two dogs, a turtle, several chickens and a self-proclaimed proclivity for the offbeat, appears to be anything but edgy. With its cedar shingle siding and bright white trim it’s about as New England in style as you can get—except it’s in Malibu. And despite its traditional look, which architect Doug Burdge opted to accentuate with a wide front porch, that first impression is deceiving. “This is not your grandmother’s East Hampton home,” says Burdge, who collaborated with project designer Jeanette Tang. “This place is way more hip.”

With items such as a barbed-wire light fixture and wallpaper with raised velvet skulls factored into the interiors executed by designer Brooke Wagner, and a half-pipe working its way into the landscape, it would be hard to argue Burdge’s point. But despite their affection for artwork with chain link frames and vintage skateboard decks, the Shumows, who run a substance abuse treatment center for adolescents, always knew the bones of their home would be classic Cape Cod. “Growing up it just felt like the most comfortable style of house,” says Amanda.

Burdge delivered on that comfortable feel by “creating a house with no hallways, so the main rooms can all flow from one to the other,” says the architect, who, at the request of the owners, placed all of the bedrooms on the upper level to keep the first floor wide-open and kid-friendly. The resulting plan allows for an uninterrupted view from the entry, through the house to the backyard. “And because, unlike the East Coast, there are no bugs to contend with here, we included bifold doors that open the house to the landscape,” says Burdge, who also added pocket doors throughout the house to further its expansive feel. Wayne Fraser of Fraser Construction completed the build of the structure and handled the finish work.

Although the homeowners wanted a casual ease in their day-to-day living, they admittedly relied on Wagner to, says Amanda, “keep our wilder side from dominating our domestic comfort.” To find that balance, Wagner collaborated with Burdge on creating clean-lined millwork and then painted walls with a neutral gray. “The owners love all things vintage and funky,” says Wagner. “So we wanted to create an eclectic mix by bringing in unexpected pieces that contrasted with the clean lines of the architecture.”

In the living room, Wagner juxtaposed textured linen-covered sofas and a pair of contemporary wingback chairs with draperies made from a bold chevron pattern. “The owners are incredibly free-spirited but they also wanted some spaces to be a little more sophisticated,” says Wagner.

A similar chevron pattern in bright blues and yellows repeats on the chairs in the breakfast nook, and, in the adjacent family room, the designer introduced a graphic vintage rug and used soft gray-and-white stripe draperies to temper the space. Wagner laminated the chairs, making them impervious to spills and selected distressed wide-plank hickory pecan floors throughout to stand up to the Shumows’ rule of, as Chris says, “no skateboarding in the house without a helmet.”

Wagner upholstered chairs with charcoal gray wool to encircle a sheet metal table lined with rivets in the dining room. Above, a coffered ceiling she designed with Burdge supports a trio of refurbished ship lights. “They are super heavy and the ceiling had to be reinforced to hold them,” says Wagner. For a final touch, the designer crowned a custom cabinet with green-painted letters spelling “lucky,” which she purchased from a St. Patrick’s Day display. “It brings a sense of whimsy to what would otherwise be a formal dining room,” she notes.

Outside, landscape designer Marny Randall let the Shumows’ active life take the lead. “This place is all about a family’s heavy use of the yard and the need for a large lawn,” says Randall, who helped place the Shumows’ half-pipe, trampoline and play set, and planted smaller scale trees on one side of the property to screen a neighboring house. At Amanda’s request, she also worked cool hues into the landscape design with lavender and sage.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the design team the Shumows enjoy living in a funky meets-traditional-style home that suits their eclectic tastes while honoring its Cape Cod envelope. “It’s traditional on the outside and quirky on the inside,” says Amanda. “Just like us.”