Dana Point Love Story


Beach Artifacts Bring Personality to Dana Point Beach Home

The dramatic transformation of a Dana Point beach house becomes a surprise gift from a husband to his wife.

This Hallway Brings the Beach Indoors, Boat Included

In keeping with the Dana Point home’s beachfront locale, designer Kelly Ferm placed a vintage fishing boat fashioned from barnwood, a pair of weathered oars and a seascape by Sharon Hutchison in a hallway. Pillows wearing Ralph Lauren Home fabrics top a bench from Elizabeth Benefield.

Beachside Veranda with Bar

Painted a creamy Ralph Lauren hue, the veranda functions as an extension of the living room. The Taylor Scott Collection chairs are upholstered in a Kravet matelassé, and the coffee table is from RH. New hardware and a countertop from Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery refresh the bar. The sink and faucet are from Pirch.

Ocean-Inspired Living Room Filled With Treasures

The living room’s existing shelving now holds a collection of treasures. Here, and throughout the home, porcelain tile floors, from Famosa, with a wood-like appearance offer texture and durability. Both sofas are from the Taylor Scott Collection. The round side table is from Eloquence; the drum table is from Legend of Asia.

Beach-Inspired Vignettes Throughout Dana Point Home

A close-up view of the rustic coffee table on the veranda shows off a trove of shells gathered during the homeowners’ travels. Throughout the home, the designer included finds that emphasize the home’s connection to the ocean just steps away.

Sparkling Details Give Beach House Kitchen A Beachy Vibe

Sea pearl quartzite on the kitchen counters and backsplash from Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery sparkle like the colors of the ocean. The crisp white cabinets sport pulls and handles from Jacqueline Nicolas Architectural Hardware. Somerset Bay Home counter stools with seats in a Ralph Lauren Home stripe pull up to the island. All appliances are from Pirch.

Wainscoting Adds Elegance to Beach House Staircase

Bright white wainscoting lines the staircase, which features wood treads by WC Hardwood Floors that match the surrounding porcelain tile floor. Artwork depicting sea urchins, from Bassman Blaine at the Laguna Design Center, hangs above a neoclassical-style Eloquence bench.

Beautiful Things Come in Threes In This Dana Point Dining Room

A trio of Visual Comfort & Co. pendants is centered in the dining room, and the hue of the Bausman & Company console references the sea. Chairs from Eloquence surround the dining table from RH, which also supplied the artwork. Superior Roman Shades fabricated the draperies in a Vervain material. The rug is from Stark.

Beach House Master Bedroom Decorated for Daydreaming

Above the tufted RH bed, a Currey & Company chandelier lends a touch of glamour to a master suite. Lamps from Bliss Studio top the custom bedside tables. The chaise is from the Taylor Scott Collection.

Dreamy Nook in Dana Point Bedroom With Ocean View

In a corner of one of the master suites—an ideal spot for watching the waves—Beacon Hill fabric makes up draperies by Superior Roman Shades and covers an Eloquence bench. The rug is from Stark.

Charming Vignette in Dana Point Beach House

A mirror from Made Goods hangs above a Theodore Alexander console in a master suite.

Ethereal, White Master Bathroom in Dana Point Beach House

Flooring from Famosa makes an elegant statement in one of the master bathrooms. The tub and hardware are from Pirch, as are the sink and faucets. The chair is from the Taylor Scott Collection; the shade fabric is by Highland Court.

​If you’re a romantic at heart, then get out your handkerchief. This is a story about a husband who restores a house for his wife for the sheer pleasure of basking in the look of total joy on her face when he makes the big reveal. Together for 26 years, the couple shared a vision of one day “having a home that is literally on the sand,” says the husband. So in 2014, when the wife fell hard for a 15-year-old Cape Cod home just steps from the ocean in Dana Point—“a little dated but full of potential,” she recalls—the couple didn’t hesitate to purchase it.

By her own account, the wife developed “analysis paralysis” fairly early in the process. “I had a clear vision of what I wanted, but when it came time to actually pick the fixtures, couch color and carpets, I froze,” she says. So, the husband volunteered to take over the project with one caveat: She couldn’t set foot in the house until the project was complete. “I really wanted this to be a magical experience for her,” he says, “and it was clear early on that the process was ruining the joy.” The wife concurred, and so the husband soon began working with designer Kelly Ferm, who reports she was “excited and inspired” to tackle the project.

Before Ferm could start, the existing country French décor with its emerald green carpets and floral print draperies had to go. The initial plan for a largely cosmetic redo, however, was soon thwarted by some underlying challenges and a desire on the husband’s part to expand the scope of the project. Once those issues and requests were addressed, it wasn’t long before Ferm began transforming the interiors into the light and airy retreat the owners envisioned. Central to the beach chic motif was a palette inspired by the locale. “I looked out to the jade blue ocean and imagined this back-and-forth play with soft greens and blues inside,” says Ferm, who hunted for fabrics in those hues to complement the coastal theme.

“Textiles are a very important part of the process, and I won’t settle until I find something that’s perfect,” says Ferm, pointing to linen with a vintage vibe she used for the balloon shades in the living room and again for the dining room draperies. “Their old-world, relaxed nature added that hint of jade that is indicative of the ocean right outside. Once I found it, I built the palette around it.” A quintessential spa tone appears around the home, from the accent pillows and armchairs in the living room to the sea pearl quartzite counters and backsplash in the kitchen. Creamy hues on the walls further enhance the calm aura, while fabrics on the living room sofas are practical and durable. “We wanted the house to be formal enough for dinner parties but also be bulletproof for kids, dogs, sand, water and friends,” says the husband.

Throughout the project, Ferm worked tirelessly to answer the husband’s detailed desires. As part of the expanded program, the husband requested two master retreats with completely different designs. For one of the suites, he wanted large-scale reclaimed beams that resembled driftwood, and in the other, the siding had to look like weathered barnwood. Meanwhile, the husband supplied special mementos to make each space emblematic of his love for his family, paying extra attention to his wife’s suite. There, a photograph of white stones spelling out the word “love” on a white sandy beach greets her, and handblown crystal starfish are suspended from the ceiling in her bathroom. “They toured a house on a vacation to the Turks and Caicos, and the wife saw these starfish and fell in love with them,” says the designer. “The husband tracked down the glassblower and had dozens made.”

Nine months after they began the project, Ferm and her team worked around the clock preparing for the big reveal. “This was extra special, as the wife had not seen any progress on the house for months,” Ferm recalls. With pillows plumped, vases brimming with fresh flowers, candles lit and mood music playing, she and her crew retreated so the couple could be alone. “From the driveway, I could see my husband standing in front with a smile on his face,” says the wife. When he finally opened the door, her reaction said it all. “She has been my best friend for 26 years,” he says, “and seeing her so surprised and happy as she walked through the house was like magic.”

— Mandy Pantiel

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