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Island Air

With hypnotic views and private olive groves, a Coronado couple’s dream house emerges from the sand.

Among the Nantucket-like cottages of Coronado Island, one contemporary residence feels worlds apart. Its owners—a California couple with grown children—desired a mature yet low-key setting for their dream home. Before they leveled their narrow sliver of land, they’d contacted
interior designers Jeffrey Alan Marks and Ross Cassidy.

Over a two-and-a-half-year build, together with Drex Patterson of Island Architects, Smith Brothers Construction and landscape designer Scott Shrader, the team fashioned an airy structure flowing around an azure pool. “We wanted it to feel like it was coming out of the sand,” says Shrader of the exterior’s crushed oyster stucco with seashell. To avoid an evening “fishbowl” effect and to engage a private garden view from the inside, Shrader planted a silvery grove of olive trees as a shield from the street. During the day, sunshine pours in through floor-to-ceiling glass
windows, while Shrader’s signature outdoor rooms seamlessly extend living space outside. Though their clients were fearless, Marks confesses he held back from his distinguishing “jolty” feel, “to keep that transition to the landscape.”

Indeed, much of the ingenious design reflects the natural ease of living. Downstairs, a turntable car garage means simple entry and exit. “For the all-seeing modern house, you have to be perfect. You don’t get a moment to burn anything. Here”—Marks points to the open kitchen, which still keeps major appliances hidden, “you have space to screw up a little bit.” The ground-floor powder room offers three points of entry—front hall, poolside cabana, and the back decking, where there’s an outdoor shower. Post-surf or motorcycle ride, the husband can find plush towels, a bench and dual leather-lined bins without traipsing sand inside. (Just in case, there’s neutral French limestone flooring throughout.)

Hewn woods and cool stone, luxe velvets and sophisticated Italian pieces—says Cassidy, “The juxtaposition of natural and glam is all about high and low in textures.” A Christian Liaigre dining table with a chic bench, for example, adds quiet beauty without visual clutter. Still, the aesthetic grows more playful as time passes and the couple’s art collection expands. “This is their forever house,” adds Marks, “to be together.”

By Alison Clare Steingold.
Photographed by Roger Davies.

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