When Lucy and Chris, a young family with two active boys and two cats, moved west, they wanted to bring their love of traditional East Coast style to their new home in Manhattan Beach, CA. “They wanted the home to feel warm and soft,” designer Ashley Ausland of Ausland Interiors shares. “When Lucy first reached out, she had the intention of keeping the remodel on a smaller scale. She thought she would simply leave the layout as is and do a cosmetic facelift throughout. I had a completely different plan after seeing the space!” The designer was confident that with a few key changes (and a few walls moved around), they could achieve something really special — and she was right.
The 2,200-square-foot house faces south and had a beautiful skylight in the dining room, an element that would set the tone for the entire renovation. Ashley tapped into the natural light and kept majority of the home bright and neutral. As she first walked the space, it was clear that the kitchen, dining, and downstairs bathroom had all been planned poorly. “The guest bath was a huge 6×8 room with a tub and large vanity,” she recalls. “It took up valuable square footage, which I immediately realized we could give back to the kitchen. There was also a doorway from the kitchen to the dining room which was taking away crucial space in the kitchen.” They closed up the door and reoriented the layout, creating a larger and more functional space. Another element that helped streamline the design of this area was the skylights: “There was a beam running through the middle of the skylights , with the electrical pendants hanging from them. We removed that and ran new beams parallel with the skylights- visually lifting the space and increasing the light flow,” she says.
Upstairs also received the same treatment, with the primary suite being the only room on that floor. “It had a tiny, outdated bathroom and a completely awkward layout with tons of potential,” the designer tells us. “We removed walls and closets and started from scratch. We increased the size of the bathroom, created a proper walk in closet, and still had enough room for a king size bed, a sitting area AND room for their Peloton.” This room has a beam running through the ceiling, and they sanded it down to its raw finish to match the rest of the home’s aesthetic. “It immediately added warmth to the space,” Ashley quips.
For furnishings, the designer was savvy in her selections, making sure they could hold up against both the tween boys and pets that live there. “We used furniture pieces that would be able to take a beating and still look good,” she explains. “For example, the Anthropologie dining room table has a reclaimed light stain with imperfections right from the start. We paired it with black chairs that easily wipe down and a vintage 10’ bench that I scored from the Long Beach Flea market — one of my greatest scores to date!”
Lucy was very involved with the management of the project, and Ashley credits the quick 4 month timeline to her help. As for what she loves most about the finished project? “Truthfully, the way the family lives in it. They use every square inch of the home. Nothing is redundant. Every space has a purpose and is used hard! They eat dinner and sit on my favorite vintage bench every night, they host parties and always receive compliments on how charming and soothing the home is. It doesn’t feel like all the other typical ‘big new build’ homes that Manhattan Beach is known for. It’s small, intentional, very charming, and perfect for my clients and their family. Truly, that is why I love what I do! Actually changing the way a family lives and creating their perfect space is what my job is all about!