The story starts in Atlanta—nowhere near excellent waves—nearly two decades ago on a day so hot that then-NFL Flacon reserve quarterback Perry Klein was negotiating his six-foot-three-inch frame into an inflatable kiddie pool. "What are we doing here?" the Malibu-raised surfer joked to his Orange Country-born wife, Cari. After Perry spent two years playing for the Falcons, the Kleins returned to their roots. Once back in Souther California, they began looking for a house with views of the ocean. Now home is a Hawaii-inspired beach bungalow with stop-and-breathe views of the cliffs of Pacific Palisades.
The Kleins called on a family friend—designer Michele Trout of local design firm Bonesteel Trout Hall—to make their dreams of a sunny, open and well-fitted home a reality. The house didn't need to be sprawling; it just needed to work for the couple and their two children, as well as the frequent, spontaneous and often sandy-footed visitors: surf buddies, teammates and friends. The team built a smaller, three-bedroom house based on a traditional two-story Hawaiian plantation model, with a central hallway, front porches upstairs and down, and a wide-pitched green tile roof.
Downstairs, the kitchen and family room have an open floor plan banked by wide windows framing the pool. Trout's biggest challenge was to succesfully blend Cari's traditional taste with Perry's contemporary style. She also need to customize everything for her clients' lifestyle: Every room needed to be able to withstand wear from wet feet and swimsuits, sand, salt and sun. "Perry has a passion for design, and he didn't want anything fussy or fancy," says Trout. "He described his concept as 'modern Hawaii but funky,' a place where everyone would be comfortable hanging out.
Whether one enters the house from the pool or from the beach, the bursts of color and an abundance of natural light offer a crisp first impression. Glass doors throughout the interior take full advantage of the light and create bright airy rooms that capitalize on the views out to the horizon. "Everywher you look, you see how the ocean and sky are part of the design," says Trout. In the name of practicality, the bench seating in the breakfast nook was upholstered in stain-resistant Sunbrella fabric.