an infinity edge pool with a view toward Malibu
The infinity edge pool seems as one with the Pacific Ocean and its view towards Malibu.

Classic and Classy: KAA Design’s SoCal Home Renovation

Grant Kirkpatrick, founding partner of KAA Design, says it best. “Warm modern” is the architect’s description of the Los Angeles-based firm’s work, most of it residential. That goes for new-builds and renovations alike with this recent project in Palos Verdes in the latter category. Dating to the 1980s, the ranch with low-slung roof came with built-in assets that, well, were not built. To wit: panoramas of the Santa Monica Bay stretching into the Pacific Ocean, a sighting of Malibu, and, to the east, Downtown Los Angeles’s cityscape. Meanwhile, the owners had lived nearby “in a classic, two-story Italianate revival residence with dark brick walls,” while raising their family,” Kirkpatrick begins. Empty nesters now, they were ready for a change.

Change meant transforming their new purchase from one with a Spanish vibe, including carved beams and a heavy plaster fireplace in the middle of the living room, to a breezy, contemporary setting with a pale monochrome palette. Aside from the views, “the house was laid out beautifully,” it’s L-configuration creating a courtyard setting around one large lawn with another at back to accommodate a new pool and terrace that were part of Michael McGowan’s elaborate landscape scheme. “Gardens everywhere,” Kirkpatrick continues. Maybe the best part? It all comes as a surprise upon entering the new anodized metal gate and descending a half-dozen concrete pavers leading to the outdoor entry gallery hugging the front lawn and culminating at the entry door.

A Contemporary Home Renovation With Ocean Views

white columns line the entry to a Palos Verdes home
The entry arcade is updated with paint and slimmed-down plaster columns.

This first introduction to Kirkpatrick’s contemporary vision, the allée now has slimmed down plaster columns where heavier originals once stood. Just inside, updating the living room entailed demolishing that obtrusive center wall. Obviously, new bracing was needed, and Kirkpatrick opted to leave the steel beams, finished with automotive paint, exposed. Building, not just razing, was a good part of the renovation. KAA Design created a ground-up indoor-outdoor dining extension running perpendicular to that al fresco entry passage and serviced by a Bulthaup kitchen. Sliders let it be conjoined with the adjacent living room. Black-painted aluminum louvers spanning the opposite face suggest a sense of summer while allowing shaded views of the lawn and gardens. Even in SoCal evenings turn chilly so Kirkpatrick installed heat lamps and a radiant-heated floor to ensure the couple’s frequent dinner guests are comfy.

A new wing with three bedrooms and a “bunk” room for the owners’ extended family constituted the other big construction move, increasing the home’s area from 6,000 to 7,500 square feet. A gap in roof lines between this new piece and the existing house proved an asset. Kirkpatrick turned the interstitial space into “the olive courtyard,” so named for its massive tree.

Inside, the pervasive creamy coloring is achieved chiefly via the seamless bond resurfacing treatment, Semco. It covers walls and floors, while tongue-and-groove ceilings with their existing beams were painted white. While the main bathroom with its limestone flooring and ash cabinetry came under Kirkpatrick’s aegis, most of the furnishings were selected by the owners.

KAA Design Creates a Home for Indoor-Outdoor Living 

a metal gate lines the exterior of a Palos Verdes home
Renovation of the 1980s Palos Verdes residence starts with a new anodized metal gate.
concrete slabs form stairs in the landscaping of a Palos Verdes home
Concrete slabs and extensive landscaping mark the entry procession.
an olive tree courtyard at a California home
The olive courtyard sits between the existing house (right) and the added indoor-outdoor dining room at left.

The Renovated Home Features a Neutral Palette

a dining room with a long mahogany table and a fireplace
KAA Design gave the new dining room its mahogany table for 20 commissioned by the owners, which sits near a fireplace with reclaimed wood mantel.
a dining room with views of an olive courtyard in this SoCal home
The indoor dining room features a custom table by the owners and seats eight.
a sleek and modern kitchen of a SoCal home
Walnut, slate, and stainless steel compose the Bulthaup kitchen centered on a new skylight shaft.
a modern living room with steel beams across the ceiling
Steel beams were added for bracing in the living room after a central wall was removed.
the primary bedroom of a SoCal home with a wall of windows overlooking the scenery
The primary bedroom, in its existing location, has newly finished walls and a whitewashed ceiling.
a freestanding tub is across from ash cabinetry in the primary bathroom of a Palos Verdes home
Ash cabinetry and honed limestone compose the primary bath’s vanity.
bunk beds line the wall across from a staircase in a SoCal home
KAA Design made custom bunkbeds and a library unit in the bunk room for the owners’ grandchildren.

Outdoor Space Designed With Modern Pizazz

a covered terrace overlooking Southern California
At rear, a covered terrace forms an outdoor room.
an infinity edge pool with a view toward Malibu
The infinity edge pool seems as one with the Pacific Ocean and its view towards Malibu.

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