CURB AP­PEAL

A 1925 Cape-Cod-in­spired beach home is up­dated with his­tor­i­cal sen­si­tiv­ity.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY JICKIE TOR­RES AND MERYL SCHOENBAUM PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY BRET GUM FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION ON IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER MELISSA BOLINGER, VISIT THEROOMSTYLIST.COM.

It can take months, or even years, for a new house to feel like home to its oc­cu­pants.

But that was not the case for in­te­rior de­signer Melissa Bolinger and her hus­band, Jon. “We fell in love with our home be­fore we walked in the front door,” she says. “This was home from the first time I saw a tiny black-and-white pic­ture of it on a re­al­tor’s web­site.”

And to hear Melissa de­scribe it, it’s easy to un­der­stand why. The Cape-Cod-style house with wood shin­gles, lo­cated in a his­toric beach­side community in La­guna Beach, had seven rooms and two bath­rooms. But more im­por­tantly for Melissa and Jon, it had char­ac­ter.

“It was built in 1925 and had only two pre­vi­ous own­ers, who have cher­ished this home,” she says of the struc­ture, which had most of its orig­i­nal fea­tures in­tact. “It has wood win­dows, a two-story rock chim­ney and a rock front porch to match.”

WELL-EDITED CHANGES

The cou­ple spent the next seven years metic­u­lously restor­ing the home. Their aim was to up­date and re­store func­tion­al­ity, while en­sur­ing the changes blended in per­fectly with the orig­i­nal de­sign. “One of the first things to be re­placed was the foun­da­tion. We had a sto­ry­book river-rock foun­da­tion, but the mor­tar hold­ing it to­gether was made with sand from the beach, and the salt had caused the bond to break—which wasn’t a good thing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia,” she says.

To­day the home touts re­freshed shake sid­ing and roof­ing. The shakes, ba­sic wooden shin­gles made from split logs, pre­serve the hand-hewn look. The Bolingers re­painted the home a clas­sic Cape Cod red, which comes from the rusty col­ored barns com­mon in that re­gion. White trim, win­dow cas­ings, gable vents and ver­ti­cal sid­ing in the front por­tico punc­tu­ate the façade and add di­men­sion. A port­hole win­dow adds that fi­nal sea­side touch.

“We love the way ar­chi­tects and builders of days gone by trusted their in­stincts and built from the heart. They were of­ten artists who had a gift for un­der­stand­ing pro­por­tion and charm,” Melissa says with a de­signer’s eye. “In cer­tain new de­vel­op­ments to­day, you see faux ev­ery­thing. There are nooks and cran­nies and arch­ways that add noth­ing but vis­ual chaos, and doors that are too tall for the struc­ture. I don’t think the av­er­age builder or ar­chi­tect works from the same place of heart that they did in yes­ter­year.”

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