1A 50’s-style beach house gets an ocean-inspired makeover in this design-build collaboration between the homeowners and Talmadge Construction.

The owners of this Aptos vacation getaway have always loved its proximity to the beach – stepping out the front door to sink their feet in the sand and enjoying brilliant sunsets from the living room. But years of salt and sea air had taken their toll on the home, which was in need of some serious maintenance. “We wanted to keep the charm and character of the ‘50’s contemporary style, but make it more fun and modernized,” said the owner.

They set out do undertake a complete beach house makeover, completely remaking the kitchen to open it up into the living room, creating one large room looking out to the sea. They also wanted to freshen up the bedrooms and bathrooms as well as to upgrade all the wiring, plumbing, and windows, and finishes. The result is an elegant collaboration between the homeowners and the design-build team of Talmadge Construction.

The stunning new kitchen is the focal point of the great room, where the family enjoys the ocean view. White oak cabinets were fashioned with a technique to give them a contemporary straight grain. A beach-glass inspired backsplash sets off richly colored honed granite countertops. Lighting, designed and made locally, and captures the movement of the sea. The oversized butcher-block topped island provides an excellent place for family and friends to gather to prepare meals.

Beach cottage charm is evident in the painted vertical wood plank siding on the staircase and second story walls; each board was laid individually to create a seemingly random pattern of wide and think panels. And a private oasis out back adds some fun – complete with hot tub, custom copper fountain, and granite-topped bar featuring a sink, mini-fridge, wine storage, and ice maker.

Building green

Green building techniques were taken into account every step of the way, beginning with enhancements designed to increase the home’s energy efficiency. The house was fully insulated and the defunct radiant heating system replaced. A new, tankless water heater provides plenty of hot water instantly as needed – plus, it saves money for the owners by eliminating standby heat loss when they are not in residence. Custom crafted wooden windows replaced drafty aluminum originals.

Another green building choice was the extensive use of natural stone, chosen with care to echo all the shades of the sea and the sand. An antique travertine stone floor replaced worn blue carpeting. The fireplace sports an Old Spruce Mountain stone mantle instead of its original brick – a stone also used outdoors as a patio wall, and as an accent on an exterior wall.

Building relationships

The owners of this home looked forward to being very involved in the design process, working closely as a team with architect Danielle Grenier for what became a nine-month collaboration. “They were really fun people,” recalls Danielle. “There were lots of decisions to make, and we made lots of 3-D drawings. We picked out everything before construction started, right down to the doorknobs.” Building on their relationship, Danielle let the homeowners’ ideas and personality to shine through in every detail.

“When you can work with someone, narrate your thoughts and visions, and have it come out better than what we expected – that’s what Danielle and Jeff and their team is just great at. There’s not a week that goes by when we don’t talk about how much we absolutely love it.”


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