What Does It Look Like When A Home Is Built Around Modern Art?


A glass-sided entry welcomes guests...

Architect Richard Beard sourced a mix of plaster, wood siding and regional stone for this contemporary home’s neutral palette. Double-height Blomberg windows and a Sun Mountain door frame the entry’s floating staircase and the garden beyond.

living room with modern sectional,...

Rounded edges and ultra-soft fabrics, as seen in the Dmitriy & Co sectional and Holly Hunt leather-upholstered coffee table, make the elegant living room ideal for relaxation. The artwork above the fireplace is by Julian Lethbridge.

living room with large stone...

In the living room, a pair of iconic Vladimir Kagan Wysiwyg swivel chairs—upholstered with Jiun Ho’s Uyuni fabric in Lichen—sit atop a custom Jean Larette area rug of a similar green hue. The textured oil painting is by famed British artist Julian Lethbridge.

A shaded outdoor patio has...

The outdoor room is a popular gathering space for guests. A sculptural Giati sofa and chairs mingle with a custom coffee table, Dedon side table and a much-beloved Ketall swing chair.

dining room with glass-topped table,...

The Agrippa dining table and chairs—the former featuring elliptical glass inserts—were sourced from Coup D’Etat. A molten-glass Hersh Design light fixture keeps sight lines to the views clear. Underfoot, a bespoke Larette Design rug draws inspiration from nature.

living room with bold modern...

A wall between the living room and kitchen was designed to fit a painting by San Francisco-based artist Clare Rojas. The Coup Studio club chair’s geometric throw pillow complements the artwork. Atop the ottoman are black vases from Anthem.

On this glass staircase, a...

During the pandemic, the homeowner worked over Zoom with Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser to commission the ceramic tilework piece adjacent to the entry’s showstopping staircase. The steel-and-glass sculpture overhead is by Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno.

The owners of this newly constructed contemporary residence just off the scenic 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach spent the first chapter of their marriage living in a very handsome, traditional Atherton abode. That home was composed of classic details, including tassel adornments and large-scale oil landscapes. But as their children grew up and moved away, and their tastes morphed to a clean-lined, modern aesthetic (thanks in part to the wife’s growing interest in contemporary art), the couple resolved to start fresh.

They purchased a gently sloping lot with knockout views of both the rocky coastline and verdant Santa Lucia Range to the southeast. The location, populated with old-growth oaks native to the Monterey Peninsula’s Del Monte Forest, is within walking distance of The Lodge at Pebble Beach—a bonus for the golf devotees. With an idyllic location secured, they hired architect Richard Beard, interior designer Jean Larette, and general contractors Bob Ingram and David Stocker to create a residence with two clear goals: embrace the natural setting and complement the artworks they’d amassed over the past 15 years.

Beard came up with the concept for the structure’s inventive, modern form. Two distinct buildings are linked by a transparent, glassy volume that also houses a sculptural floating staircase and custom artwork by German tile artist Claudia Wieser. Both the exterior and interior are finished with a neutral palette of warm-toned regional stone and plaster, a mix of light and dark wood, plus windows that intentionally frame views of nature at every turn. There is also plenty of wall space to hang pieces by celebrated artists like Julian Lethbridge and Clare Rojas. “It’s always essential in contemporary architecture to keep an appropriate balance of wall and glass,” Beard says. “But it was especially so with this home, given the owners’ handsome art collection.”

The resulting dwelling is neither a sterile fishbowl nor a boxy gallery, which can sometimes be the default with contemporary architecture. “I’ve worked in Japan for years,” Beard continues, “and the Japanese aesthetic of achieving warmth and elegance in modern settings is one I have always loved. How the light changes with the seasons is very important to the overall composition.” The owner agrees: “It feels as though we are living in the middle of a nature preserve,” she says. “The natural light and coastal fog are always changing, which is really magical.”

For Larette, starting from near scratch was the best kind of challenge. “It’s a rare treat for a designer to begin with a blank canvas,” she says. “We did use a few of the clients’ paintings and reupholstered a headboard, but, other than that, we began anew.” With this complete aesthetic reboot, she was able to create what she describes as a unified “modern iconic” theme, starting with the furniture. “I was thrilled to be able to specify pieces by Vladimir Kagan and Henry Rosengren Hansen and mix them seamlessly with present-day offerings.”

But for all its modernity, the home is also approachable. “There is a sculptural thread that extends from the chosen materials through the furniture to the art,” Larette says. This is on display in the elegant-yet-relaxed living room. “The soft curves of the sofa, smooth velvet fabric on the swivel chair, butter-soft leather on the tailored coffee table, and furry texture topping the ottoman invite guests to cozy up and feel at ease,” she says. Over the fireplace, artwork by Julian Lethbridge adds even more tactility.

For the color palette, Larette and the owner selected “neutral and green.” This scheme, says the designer, does triple duty: It invites nature indoors, avoids an all-white gallery feel and creates a warmer, more approachable version of contemporary decor. In the showstopping dining room, shades of green found in the bespoke rug and leather-upholstered, hand-turned Spanish chairs mimic the oak trees framed by the window. Meanwhile, neutral draperies and an airy, molten- glass light fixture allow the geometric Gonzalo Lebrija oil painting to take center stage.

The finished abode is not a showpiece but rather a space meant for living—including all the golf, entertaining, art collecting and nature appreciation the couple can muster. “Jean has created a beautiful, inviting interior,” the owner says. “Our vision from the outset was to have a sophisticated California feel, and she achieved that. I love that the home echoes the surrounding environment.”