The Crown of the Sea: Coastal Contemporary Curvilinear Elegance at Water’s Edge

The Ultimate O.C. Home Tour

Photograph by David Heath

The chef’s kitchen has an island of Brazilian granite with leather finish.

Photograph by Brian Heath

FOR SALE! Asking $35 million

Corona del Mar

BedroomsBaths 6

Amenities Lighted sushi bar counter and tequila tasting room

Postscript Owners Jim and Monica Sexton—he’s founder of Z-Line Designs home office and home entertainment furniture—spent millions to update, remodel, and redecorate. 

An informal dining area opens to an outside terrace.

Photograph by David Heath

crown of the sea
Outdoor decks project over the ocean.

Photograph by David Heath

Built into a cliff next to a footpath that leads to Little Corona Beach, the house called Crown of the Sea is nearly invisible from the street. Such modesty only amplifies the jaw-dropping effect of stepping inside the front door—a 270-degree ocean panorama through floor-to-ceiling windows. The house, which appears to float over the water, also is pretty terrific. Noted Laguna architect Brion Jeannette (see below) designed a curving shape for the three-story, 7,000-square-foot home, built in 2000, that matches the cliff’s irregular site. This undulating flow is a Jeannette design signature, and emulates both the motion of the waves and the rocky face. Every room has a view (There’s Palos Verdes!), including the ensuite bedrooms, office, and the lower-floor media room. Outdoor decks cantilever over the waves and tide pools. Inside and out, there’s a feeling of unfettered freedom.


Renowned South County Architect BRION JEANETTE Talks Amenities, Design, and O.C.’s Appeal

Brion jeanette

What kind of luxuries are today’s clients seeking?

Home theaters and wine cellars are pretty commonplace. We’ve done bowling alleys, pistol ranges, indoor pools, spa treatment rooms, wine cellar dining, and model train rooms. But the most common desire is for
a home that’s comfortable and informal, but also entertains well. Kitchens—both inside and outside—are bigger, and more and more the central core of life.

What do you consider when coming up with a design? 

The client’s desires—then the site, views, solar access, and the project objectives. These vary from small homes of 2,000 square feet to multigenerational
estates of 62,000 square feet.

Do you have a signature design feature? 

The first 10 years of my career I put a large round window in the front elevation [exterior wall] of every home I designed. Eventually, I began designing contemporary homes with gentle curves. They offer a connection with the Earth and feel more organic than angles.   

Why is O.C., specifically South County, such a desirable address?

It’s the Gold Coast of Southern California, far less dense than the fashionable L.A. communities, and far less formal. And our oceanfront is pretty accessible with lots of older homes just waiting to be reimagined.

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