Comfortable, timeless style abound in Newport Beach home


Agents of Change in Newport Beach

Textural wallcoverings and a sophisticated palette transform a Newport Beach home into a warm and serene retreat chock-full of wow moments.

Geometric Mirror Entryway with Console and Patterned Wallpaper

Designers Robin Strickler and Jessica Nutt used a wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries resembling gold leaf to punctuate the formal entry of a Newport Beach home. They furnished the space with a Julian Chichester console and a Made Goods mirror; the 7-inch-plank French oak flooring is from Warren Christopher.

Gray Custom Cabinetry Great Room with Television and Fireplace

The great room’s painted custom cabinetry by Timbercraft, accented with a collection of books and objects, introduces a warm gray hue that complements the home’s light-colored walls. The armless Oly lounge chair rests on a Rosecore carpet. Stone from Materials Marketing clads the fireplace.

Nesting Side Tables Gray Master Suite Close Up

Strickler and Nutt carried the gray-toned palette throughout the home, choosing a Hickory Chair wing chair covered in fabric with silver undertones by Ralph Lauren Home and a set of metal-and-wood nesting side tables by Interlude Home for the master suite. The arrangement offers a peaceful spot for relaxation.

Magnifying Glass and Tray Great Room Close Up

A tray, book and magnifying glass top the Oly coffee table in the great room.

All Gray Dining Room with Statement Chandelier and Large Window

A dramatic Fine Art Lamps chandelier and chairs by Hickory Chair hold their own against the whitewashed-oak table from CFC in the formal dining area. Custom draperies by National Window Coverings frame the views without obstructing the natural light; the adjacent console is a find from Noir.

Wine Rack White Kitchen with Pendants

Hickory Chair counter seats pull up to the kitchen island outfitted with a Kohler faucet; globe pendant lights by Ralph Lauren Home illuminate the setting. Surfaces include Caesarstone countertops and a statuario marble backsplash from Jeffrey Court. The refrigerator and wine storage unit are Sub-Zero, and the range with a Pro Hood is by Wolf.

Circle Flower Light Fixture White Bedroom with Striped Curtains

A rug by Barbara Barry from Kravet creates a neutral backdrop for the master bedroom’s tufted Hickory Chair headboard and Precedent chaise, while the CFC bedside tables with a chevron pattern add character and interest. The custom draperies are in a Jane Churchill stripe, and the light fixture is by Oly.

Change is something of a constant in the lives of designers Robin Strickler and Jessica Nutt’s clients. Through the years, they have called a high-rise apartment in New York City, a retreat in Colorado and a Beverly Hills abode home. Most recently, the empty nesters traded a Tuscan-style house in Shady Canyon for a modern two-story dwelling on a rolling green golf course in Newport Beach. “This is such a gorgeous setting,” says Strickler, pointing to the beautifully landscaped grounds featuring swaying palm trees and native succulents around a swimming pool. “It’s like staying in a resort.” 

Strickler was no stranger to the area where her clients now reside, having worked on several of the homes, ranging from a minimalist vision with sculptural, low-slung Italian furnishings for one resident to another, glitzier a air for an international executive. “All the homes are unique, but this one feels so much different,” Strickler says. “These clients wanted a very comfortable, timeless and understated interior.” 

Although the home’s existing rift-sawn oak flooring and crisp white-lacquer kitchen evoked a casual sensibility that was apropos for the sunny coastal setting, the house also came with gray walls and ceilings that rose to 25 feet in some places. One of Strickler’s solutions to soften and warm up the interiors was to employ a variety of eye-catching wallcoverings. In the entry, she chose an abstract design that resembles squares of gold leaf, which she combined with a metal-and-shagreen console and a mirror composed of stacked beveled-edge glass panels in a brass-tone frame; it creates a dramatic introduction to the residence. “We wanted something really different and special for this space. The wallcovering adds texture, and it has a little bit of a shimmer,” Strickler says, noting that the pairing also creates a more formal feeling. 

Another wallcovering, grass cloth this time, lines the shelves of the bespoke cabinetry in the great room, where Strickler designed the system to go around a newly incorporated gel-burning fireplace. “The cabinetry grounds the space,” she says. The fireplace, set in a stone-faced surround that runs all the way to the ceiling, serves the same purpose. Covered with a gray glazed finish, the cabinetry’s restrained antiqued hue is something of an aesthetic departure for the clients. “It’s very soothing and elegant,” Strickler says. “The owners came from a house that had a Tuscan style, so we decided to make the palette here much more light and airy.” The shade makes an ideal backdrop for an occasional chair covered in an overscale floral fabric with a natural-wood base and a pair of oatmeal linen-covered sofas, which the wife loved from the get-go after seeing them on the designers’ website. “They’re formal, elegant and classic,” says Strickler. A modern waterfall-style cocktail table with a clear-silvered finish and a rustic stump-form side table—a found object—yield unexpected layers to shake things up. 

In the great room’s dining area, yet another wallcovering, this one a lustrous metallic version made of shimmery squares, distinguishes the space while softly reflecting the light cast by the massive chandelier. “It gave the dining room a feeling of separation from the living room and made the wall feel less bare,” Strickler says. “It’s not a grass cloth, but it has a little bit of texture that’s really pretty.” Surrounding the whitewashed-oak pedestal table, the tall wing chairs with pared-down modern silhouettes— upholstered in silky cotton-velvet on the guest chairs and an embroidered design on the host chairs—ensure comfort during dinner parties. 

Tactile materials also bring depth to the second-floor family room, which Strickler and Nutt outfitted with custom white-oak cabinetry and a sectional in another neutral hue. A rich wallcovering again appears behind the plush tufted headboard in the master bedroom. Although the suite is adorned in a palette of neutral shades, a sculptural pendant light fixture, draperies with wide stripes and a pair of oversize bedside tables with a chevron pattern add visual interest. “The patterns and textures sort of mix up the serene palette,” Strickler says. “They make it look so much more interesting.” Finally, the designers employed grass-cloth accent walls in the rest of the bedrooms, opting for varying neutrals in each to differentiate the spaces. 

Strickler and Nutt’s clients, who designed and built several of the residences they have called home, allowed the designers great latitude when it came to crafting their newest residence. “Our aesthetics meshed well from the beginning, and the design process was a collaboration of ideas between us and the homeowners,” Strickler says. The result is an understated dwelling that brims with subtle character thanks to the team’s thoughtful use of texture, pattern and color. 

–Tate Gunnerson