Greg Strangman credits the sage advice of his realtor with saving the integrity of the midcentury home that he and his wife, Christina, share in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood. “My agent suggested that I live in the house for an entire year before making any changes,” says Greg. “I’m happy I listened, because I definitely would have screwed it up.”
It’s not that Greg didn’t appreciate the post-and-beam house when he first laid eyes on it in 2004. As a real estate developer for more than 18 years and the son of a real estate agent, he knows a hot property when he sees one. Built in 1962 by architect Loch Crane (an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright at both Taliesin and Taliesin West), the home is a classic midcentury mix of glass, redwood, travertine and volcanic rock, located a mere 20 feet from the beach.
Greg swallowed his developer’s instinct to renovate and instead set out to decorate the space entirely in period-specific pieces. “I owned a few reproductions from Design Within Reach, but they looked out of place in the house,” says Greg. “So I decided to sell everything and start from scratch.” What began as a simple plan to fill an empty house has grown into a passionate pursuit of preservation—one that Christina has shared since meeting Greg in 2009. “The house won me over immediately,” she says. “I grew up in a quintessential suburban home where each room was closed off from the next. This home provides an entirely different and open way of living.”
In the living room, the conversation pit’s built-in sofa is covered in its original blue fabric, described by the homeowners as “bullet-proof,” which is fortunate because the space is the most frequently used in the house. “We like to start a fire, turn on some music and hang out with friends,” says Christina. “It’s on the second floor, so it provides the best views of the ocean.”
With its wall of sliding doors, the dining room offers a virtual alfresco experience for the Strangmans. The couple also uses the room to display items that celebrate the best of California craftsmanship: Bay Area ironsmith Carl Jennings designed the vintage chandelier over the table, and the intricately carved door hanging on the wall is the work of San Diego sculptor Svetozar Radakovich.