Photo by Tessa Neustadt
Moving from New York City to Laguna Beach can be a culture shock. From the food to the weather, the atmosphere, the people or the size of the city, everything is different. But young couple Alexis and Joel jumped at the chance to experiment with a more relaxed way of life. For their move, they trusted Homepolish interior designer Casey DeBois to make their dream come true with an express—yet perfectly achieved—makeover of a breezy 1,400-squarefoot bungalow overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“I think design is always a mix of high and low.” – Casey DeBois
“Alexis and I had both only seen a video of the space when she signed the lease,” says Casey Debois, who has become a close friend of the couple since she renovated Alexis and Joel’s previous New York apartment in the West Village. “It wasn’t hard for Alexis and I to get on the same page. We practically read each other’s minds. As an example, when I showed up for the photo shoot of this home, she and I happened to be wearing the exact same outfit.” Along with the geographical shift, DeBois reimagined her clients’ art-deco urban style for Southern California living. Materials and decorative elements such as bamboo and sisal rugs, as well as a white-on-white palette, were used as a backdrop and the starting points to transform this Laguna Beach home into a fresh and cozy beach bungalow.
“The cultures on the East and the West coasts are so different,” DeBois says. “I’ve lived and worked on both coasts, and I find that people tend to take on qualities of their environment.”
Instead of urban sophistication, this home epitomizes a laid-back aesthetic, which references the local surf culture. Structurally, no changes were made, which allowed the homeowners to focus on the interior design and decoration.
“Alexis wanted the space to be light and airy, with only a thin dividing line between inside and outside,” DeBois explains. “The entire space including the kitchen cabinetry was painted Benjamin Moore Simply White. The white background makes some of the pieces like the colorful vintage arrows above the spiral staircase really pop. But most of the accents like the sofa, chairs and rugs are natural colors, which blend nicely into the surroundings so that you focus on the spectacular view of the ocean.”
While highlighting the beauty of the natural environment was clearly the objective, DeBois ensured the home would reflect Alexis’ personal style. The whole space not only evokes the cosmopolitan and artistic influences of New York and Miami— where the couple has great memories—but also captures an open feel in every nook.
In the living room, which is lined with windows, a geometric sarape (a long, brightly colored shawl, often featuring fringe) atop a textured rug, reclaimed wood and whitewashed frames, and a bamboo bar cart shape an eclectic space where natural light abounds.
“I think design is always a mix of high and low,” DeBois says. “We kept several of the storage or heavier pieces very minimalistic and inexpensive and splurged on nicer textiles, pillows and throws.”
Both in the main bedroom and in the corner above the staircase, which is adorned with a Panton table and a pair of Eames chairs, an overall feeling of brightness and pureness stands out though the use of pristine white pieces of furniture and accessories.
On the upper level, the covered outdoor deck was of utmost importance. “It was my favorite part of the redesign,” DeBois says. “Personal outdoor space is hard to come by in New York, and I really enjoyed designing this area where you can relax and eat your meals year-round while taking in breathtaking sunsets.”
And for the icing on the cake, there is another outdoor space in the yard where a table and seats with colorful cushions invite Alexis, Joel and their guests to adopt he true Southern California way of life.
Photos by Tessa Neustadt, Interior design by Casey DeBoiskarine, Homepolish
Design OC | Fall/Winter 2016