A Contemporary Gem Shines In Corona Del Mar


modern living room white and...

Interior designer Michael Fullen employed a palette of grays and whites for a home in Corona del Mar. Kravet fabric covers the custom sectional, which joins a coffee table and club chairs by J. Alexander in the living room. Beneath is a J.D. Staron carpet. Adjacent is the kitchen by Flashman Design.

modern staircase glass railing

Designed by architect John Henderson and built by general contractor Tim Grady, the residence has an airy, open plan. A staircase, with stringers fabricated by Smart Metals, connects the structure's three floors. Visible through the Loewen windows from Window Visions is a stylish garden by landscape architect Michael Dilley.

modern white dining room

A three-tier chandelier by Ron Dier Design from Thomas Lavin hangs above the RH table in the dining area. Surrounding it are J. Alexander chairs dressed in Garrett Leather sourced from Harsey & Harsey.

modern dining room white palette

A series of prints offers a subtle nod to the home's waterside locale. Throughout, polished elements play against more organic flourishes, with the honed Gohara limestone flooring from Solistone contributing to the aesthetic.

modern bar in media room...

Fullen extended the glamorous feel to the top-floor media room where custom bar chairs in crocodile-patterned leather pull up to the bar top of quartzite from Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery--also the supplier of the onyx on the back wall. The cabinetry is rift-cut white oak by Prestige Cabinetry. At the back is a Dornbracht faucet.

modern neutral living area pool...

Creating a cohesive design across the home's multiple levels was a key concern for Fullen, so he wove a consistent palette throughout. The gray hues he used for the finish and top on the billiards table continue the shade found around the residence.

modern office black theme Chanel...

Even the compact office received a healthy dose of glamour, complete with a bold hide rug with metallic notes, a Chanel surfboard and a director's chair covered in a plush material.

modern white bathroom marble floor...

Calacatta marble from Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery tops the vanity and covers the floor in the master bath, yielding a seamless look. The plumbing fixtures are by Dornbracht; the tub is by BainUltra from Pirch.

modern bedroom gold bold backdrop...

Wallpaper from Kravet provides a bold backdrop in one of the guest bedrooms. The bed's headboard is upholstered in Fabricut fabric from Harsey & Harsey. Underfoot is an intricate J.D. Staron hide carpet and below is flooring from Exquisite Surfaces.

A successful renovation often requires spending some quality time in a house before critical design decisions are made. That’s exactly what Jay and Kim Gaskill did–with one curveball. After five years in their Corona del Mar home, anticipating a warm, contemporary-style renovation, the Gaskills gained a deep understanding of their property’s nuances and ultimately concluded a different style would better suit the picturesque setting. “The clients developed their taste, their thoughts on the finishes and things they were comfortable with,” says architect John Henderson. The couple’s stylistic about-face, prioritizing drama over coziness, led to revising “all the materials,” says interior designer Michael Fullen, “including flooring, bath tile and stone, fireplace designs, cabinetry, lighting, furniture style, fabric and window treatments.”

The alteration of elements had a positive result: sumptuous spaces. Because the clients wanted “a little bit of bling,” says Fullen, he included pockets of glamour throughout the interior. A metallic crocodile-patterned wallcovering, for instance, transforms the elevator into a jewel box, while mirrored drawer insets and hammered metal in Kim’s closet provide a gleaming backdrop for her clothes and shoes. At the bar, a gently illuminated crystalline quartzite countertop casts a soft glow that adds an inviting ambience at parties. Furnishings, too, such as the clear Lucite stools in the kitchen and the white lacquer cocktail table in the main living room, and hits of metal emphasize a plush, yet airy, vibe. “Glamour is one of those things that when done well looks effortless,” notes Fullen. To ensure the interiors struck just the right balance, he mixed the highly reflective metals and lacquer with more neutral upholstered pieces, like a soft white sectional in the main living room, as well as with distressed finishes, including clubby gray leather chairs in the game room, and a pared-back palette, dominated by white, gray, silver and gold.

While the Gaskills yearned for a spectacular, striking home, they also wanted it to be a haven for their young adult children and for their frequent guests. The couple’s love of boating and being outside also called for a nearly indiscernible link between interior living areas and the outdoors. So, says Henderson, “The team spent a great deal of time studying the attributes of the site, such as the sun patterns, direction of the breeze, views, privacy, noise and topography.” Those factors as well as the magnificent, harbor-front location prompted the open-plan layout that allows views from multiple locations within the home while maintaining privacy. The terraced site also set the stage for many living areas across three levels–including one on the third floor that opens onto a roof deck overlooking the bay.

“Getting the home out of the ground was the biggest challenge,” says general contractor Tim Grady, recalling the close collaboration required among team members from the very beginning to ensure that all the elements coalesced seamlessly. Along with the home’s steeply stepped site and the area’s restrictive building codes, the waterfront setting provided perhaps the most significant challenge when it came to planning. “Prepping for and timing the tides was required for grading and foundation work below sea level, which kept our team on their toes,” notes Grady. “Creating the foundation alone was a year-long process.”

The bay-facing locale proved inspirational for the architect. “Our goal was to create a home that would draw from the environment and to express it through the architecture,” says Henderson. Landscape architect Michael Dilley complemented the resulting exterior–clad with limestone and smooth Venetian plaster–with a screen of delicate palm trees in the front. “We wanted to make it feel like a wonderful resort,” says Dilley. “When you hear the wind blowing through the palm fronds, it feels like you’re in a faraway land.” To shore up the sense of privacy, more palms were placed on the north side of the house and dense ficus hedges were planted along the property line to shield the home’s lower level and dock area.

Given the complexities of the setting and the space, conceiving, creating and completing the home required years, not months. “It takes patience, good character, objective thinking and communication to get through all that,” says Grady. “But Jay and Kim are super-cool owners.” Fullen concurs: “There are so many details to bring together along the way and you can only appreciate it all at the end. And, ultimately, the clients were thrilled.”