A Gut Renovation Creates a Serene Southern California Family Beach House
The San Clemente mid-century modern home was gut renovated to suit its modern-minded homeowners.
Tucked away in a sleepy beach community in southern Orange County, a mid-century modern home was in need of a complete overhaul. The walls were textured and crumbling, the floors were covered in shag carpet, and the windows were so small, only a sliver of the ocean across the street was visible. But, when Homepolish’s West Coast Creative Director Orlando Soria saw the dated pad for the first time, he knew that with a little elbow-grease and a lot of imagination, the un-loved ranch would eventually turn heads.
Soria’s clients, along with their two young children, desperately needed a respite away from the urban stresses of Los Angeles city living, and charming San Clemente was their answer. “They were comforted by the vibe of the town. It’s a place where they really can relax and forget about work and responsibilities and just have fun,” says Soria.
But before the family could move in, Soria had a little fun of his own in the guise of a gut renovation. “The entire home needed to be opened up to create a bright and breezy space,” says Soria, who has worked with the homeowners on their previous homes. “My goals were to create a mid-century and beach-inspired sanctuary without it feeling too cheesy. My clients, on the other hand, wanted a bright, white, modern yet casual beach home.” Soria’s challenge was to deliver on all fronts, while making his client’s needs and dreams a priority.
Although the renovation was to be a complete gut, Soria didn’t have a difficult time convincing them that some of the original features should be preserved and even highlighted. “There were a few awkward mid-century accents we ripped out, but I wanted to make sure that the home wasn’t devoid of character,” he says. To maintain the mid-century appeal, Soria kept the original red brick fireplace and a long hallway of narrow but necessary closets. However, he ended up replacing nearly all of the windows in the home, some with floor-to-ceiling accordion doors that allowed more natural light to flood the space, while at the same time creating the modern edge his clients were looking for. “By adding the accordion doors, the home is completely open to the outside. They offer a seamless flow from the back of the house to the front,” he says.
With the renovation complete, Soria was able to focus on the design. Style requests from the homeowners were simple and predictably chic: all white walls, beach-inspired pops of color, and hard-wearing, affordable furnishings. Soria’s interpretation of the homeowner’s list started in the custom kitchen. “We wanted it to be totally integrated and streamlined without being boring, so we sourced recycled glass tiles and used them as the backsplash,” he says. “We let those be our pop, kept everything else white, and then concentrated on colorful accessories that give the space the character it needed to feel complete.”
Because the renovation touched nearly every room in the house, Soria’s furniture budget was modest. By implementing a dynamic mix of furnishings from Crate & Barrel and West Elm, coupled with vintage finds from Lawson Fenning and a few artful DIY projects, Soria achieved an understated modern look that doesn’t lean too mid-century or too beach home. It’s a natural combination of the two that is weighted in history and elevated with design.