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C At Home

Bold Moves

In Del Mar, a neglected ’70s BUNGALOW becomes a contemporary family dwelling filled with bright punches anchored by natural woods and endless ocean views.

In early 2014, en route to a weekend getaway in Palm Springs, Jennifer and Jason Davis, then of Rancho Santa Fe, took a rainy detour to see a pre-market 1970s house in Del Mar, hoping it would be the family home they had been searching for. At first glance, it wasn’t. But somewhere between the dilapidated exterior and the dense, overgrown landscaping, they still managed to envision, says Jennifer, “a spectacular, personality-packed house” that even their three teenage daughters would find cool. “We walked through the forgotten, tree-house-like space and felt something,” says Jennifer, a creative consultant. Three hours later when the couple pulled into their desert hotel, they were in escrow.

Jennifer’s longtime friend, interior designer Kelly Hinchman of San Diego-based Studio H Design Group, readily grasped what she calls “the potential of such a funky, run-down disaster of a house.” A lengthy gut and remodel resulted in a midcentury-inspired exterior of cedar cladding with a sophisticated matte-black steel fascia—a quiet facade that belies the home’s gutsy interiors.

A black, life-size pig by Moooi greets visitors to the den, a playful space where Jennifer and Jason, a real-estate investor, watch reality competition shows on matching Eames lounges covered in richly hued Jim Thompson Malachite fabric. In the living room, a gold Hand chair by Pedro Friedeberg occupies a quiet corner, its palm open as if to receive the chrysalis-shaped Hervé Van der Straeten pendant suspended above. To echo the netlike composition of the bronze light fixture, the draperies in the space are made from the wide-open weave of Cat’s Cradle by Donghia.

In a modestly sized 2,400-square-foot house, such a heavy dose of design could have been overpowering, were it not for a few savvy maneuvers: Several outdoor decks, complete with panoramas of the Pacific, increase the square footage by nearly half and disperse the home’s eccentricity. And much of the upstairs decor, down to the dramatic blue marbled wall-paper in the master suite, is inspired by the ocean, providing a natural counterpoint to the more lighthearted pieces. Finally, Hinchman smartly set the fearless tableau within a neutral envelope of white-oak chevron floors and white tongue-and-groove ceilings. “This keeps the house fresh,” says the designer. “And the punchy parts punchy.” 

Photography by KARYN MILLET.

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