Manhattan Beach, CA is a beautiful coastal community located just outside of Los Angeles. While many houses in this town sit closer to the street, this one has the luxury of being in an area called the Tree Section. “This property is unique in that the house set back on a large lot behind an enormous, gorgeous sycamore tree,” designer Rita Chan Donahoe says. “Behind the house they still have a big yard with a new pool, gardens, fire pit, entertainment deck, outdoor kitchen and even a putting green… it’s truly a dream house for any family.”

Donahoe’s clients, a family of 5 (soon to be 6!), moved to the property with the intention of embarking on a complete renovation to the home. “We were brought on in the very beginning and were able to help guide every detail of the project,” Donahoe recalls. “Fortunately, the bones of the home were good, but we still made a few tweaks to help with the flow for an active family.” Aesthetically, the original style of the house was Cape Cod with a mix of traditional and more nautical coastal accents throughout. “While they are only few minutes from the beach, the character of their particular neighborhood felt like it was calling for more of an honoring of the old growth trees, so our goal was to try to bring that natural essence indoors. Ultimately this translated to a light rustic, traditional aesthetic, but done in a clean way, with an occasional modern moment here and there,” she says.

Beyond wanting to align more with the feeling of the natural surroundings and the old growth trees, one of the things Donahoe and her design team did love about the house was the use of wall paneling and this moment in old the dining room that had sort of a fresh, wine country feeling. “That got us to talking about wine and vineyard, ranch style and turns out the couple are wine enthusiasts and loved the idea of weaving that into the home,” she explains. “As it evolved the vision of this fresh and bright, but organic and warm feeling, coastal, vineyard ranch style came to life. It may seem like the meshing of a lot, but I think we pulled it off!”

Donahoe was able to achieve the look with ease due to her commitment to include vintage finds: art, accessories, family heirlooms. “I always recommend either using or repurposing pieces the clients already have (especially the family heirlooms) or trying to purchase vintage first,” she shares. “I’m pretty passionate about this and talk more about it on my new blog Good Ancestor Co.”

The project, which Donahoe walks us through in the slideshow, took roughly two years to complete. “It was quite a process, but fortunately clients loved the way everything came out and were so grateful and kind! And of course, it has been a total haven during Covid Quarantine, so I think they are most grateful that they have had such a wonderful home to retreat in,” Donahoe concludes. “And believe it or not we are still working with them, now helping to dial out the furnishings for their outdoor space, so you may want to keep an eye out for phase 2 of their incredible backyard!”