Worth Its SaltAuthor:Abigail Stone
Sara Simon of Handsome Salt shakes out inspiration in a home in Encinatas
Sara Simon of Handsome Salt and her husband, Sven, discovered an overgrown property in Encinitas. They decided to build a large four bedroom home and convert the existing two bedroom structure into a guest house.
“I love to travel,” shares Simon. “It’s definitely where I pull the most inspiration from.” Here, she looked to Moroccan riads, traditionally associated with the country’s palace architecture, where graceful archways lead to contemplative courtyard gardens. “One of my all time favorite places I’ve traveled is Marrakech and I just fell in love with the riads,” she says. “The unexpected beauty, the tiles, the feeling is so refreshing. I wanted people to come here and feel they were transported to another place, a place they didn’t want to leave.”
Plus she notes, “Being that the house is in California, it absolutely had to have an amazing outdoor space and a seamless flow from indoors to out.” And, she adds, “I also wanted to make sure the kitchen was set up for entertaining!” The result channels the sophistication of a swanky hide-away hotel. “I wanted to make this house feel like a vacation,” says Simon. “With the goal of bringing hospitality home.”
Inside, clean lines and soothing colors nod to the simplicity of Scandinavian farmhouses. The open plan living and dining rooms play on a palette of sunrise hues rendered in a cornucopia of tactile textures and natural materials. This is carried through to the large home office where peach walls offer a soothing setting for work and a flattering backdrop for Zoom calls. A hammock is the perfect place for off-camera siestas.
The expansive kitchen, which showcases a pass-thru, takes a vacation from the expected. Birch cabinets painted a dramatic matte black and black-framed windows dance with pendants and bar stools with woven details made in Mexico City made by Leon Leon Design Studio.
But it’s the exterior, cast in black with minimal ornamentation, where Simon cranks up the drama. For the landscaping, the desert was her muse. Brush and scrub were swapped out. In their place were planted sculptural palm trees, spiky mother-in-law tongues and cacti, with an above-ground pool serving as the fabled watery oasis. There’s a fire-pit and an outdoor dining area.
“I had this vision of the plants surrounding the water, the sun setting, and the dramatic shadows they would cast,” she says. “When I witnessed the first sunset, I completely lost it. Nothing is more satisfying than when your exact vision comes to life”.