Life’s a BeachAuthor:Abigail Stone
Nicole Gordon Studio imagines a graceful, restful retreat by the ocean for her well-traveled clients by the ocean for her well-traveled clients
It was dark with upholstered walls, prints and heavy woods,” recalls interior designer Nicole Gordon on the overhaul of a massive Malibu dwelling she was tasked with converting into a beach home with architect Mathieu Ribaut. Adhering to the city’s strict guidelines required the duo’s ingenuity to conjure up change within the home’s original footprint. “How do we open it up and make it feel connected to the outside?” Ribaut questioned from the start.
The renovation began by removing a central circular staircase that bisected the living room. The upstairs entry, which funneled visitors through the private quarters, was ban- ished. They turned dark to light with the placement of white oak floors, doors and cabinetry, while Rammed earth walls brought the variegated pale colors of the sand inside and Riviera Bronze doors fully opened the back of the house. To emphasize the interiors merging with the landscape, Ribaut designed a deck that protrudes toward the Pacific Ocean.
Acutely aware of how salt and sun can wreak havoc on mate- rials, Gordon populated the outdoor spaces with stylish pieces from Harbour Outdoor, Janus et Cie, Room & Board and John Himmel that are designed to withstand the harsh elements. “Working out here has different rules,” she notes. “Things will corrode, oxidize, weather and fade.” She pauses. “That has to be dealt with up front.” Inside, that meant installing polished chrome fixtures throughout that sparkle in the kitchen and bath spaces that have direct access to the outdoor conditions.
To highlighting the air of casual chic that pervades this coastal enclave, Gordon and her colleagues, Daniela Schmetzer and Amy Michael, sourced vintage and antique finds from around the globe, mixing them with custom pieces and select work from celebrated craftspeople that integrated with the family’s art collec- tion. “Designing a home is a group effort,” says Gordon. The result is an inviting, eclectic mix that is at once relaxing and elegant. “It’s my client’s favorite house,” Gordon beams. “They use it, they love it and they’re so grateful for it.”