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A Diplomatic Desire

A jet-setting couple comes to rest within the internationally inspired walls of their Southern California home.

Kira Coplin
  • Photo credit: John Ellis
    Point of Entry
    Designed by Craig Schultz, Laidlaw Schultz Architects

    Colin and Carolina Cormac have traveled the globe exploring historic chateaus, royal palaces and modern masterpieces. But when it came time for the family—which includes daughter Ana and son Dylan—to unpack their bags for a more extended stay, they unexpectedly opted for a crumbling tract house in Corona del Mar. When the couple first settled in Southern California, they were taking the tourist approach to house hunting—curiously wandering open houses but not seriously looking—when Colin chanced upon a property. "It was a total teardown, but the lot just felt right," he says.

  • Photo credit: John Ellis
    A Place in the Sun
    Designed by Craig Schultz, Laidlaw Schultz Architects

    Because the neighborhood has strict design guidelines, the couple thought it best to use an architect who had worked successfully within the rules of the area. When they came upon a house in the style they liked, they wrote a letter and popped it into the home's mailbox, hoping they would find their architect in the reply. And they did: The house was designed by Craig Schultz of Laidlaw Schultz Architects. Together, they sought to create a modern home that embraced the outdoors and lead its inhabitants from wide-open public spaces into deeper, more intimate private areas.

  • Photo credit: John Ellis
    Easy Come, Easy Go
    Designed by Craig Schultz, Laidlaw Schultz Architects

    But soon, the Cormacs realized that their own visions were not singularly aligned. Colin tended toward a stark version of modernism (white walls and sparse ornamentation), while Carolina wanted a warmer interpretation (richly grained woods and pops of color in the furnishings). In the end, the dual views made the project better. "I think that those varied perspectives worked well with my own thoughts and allowed us to creatively bring together opposing materials and ideas," Schultz says.

  • Photo credit: John Ellis
    Seamless Transition
    Designed by Craig Schultz, Laidlaw Schultz Architects

    The open kitchen, living and dining areas are intrinsically linked to the outdoors. "When all the sliders are open, it feels like one space," says Colin. In order to make the exterior feel like a continuation of the interior, the same stone flooring was used inside and on the pool deck.

Laidlaw Schultz Architects

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