Three years ago, John and Marcie Lindvall moved four miles from the San Luis Obispo Country Club to Edna Valley. But the ambience of their new home makes them feel as if they took a 2,000-mile journey across the Pacific.
The couple frequently vacationed in Hawaii and “hoped to create the same restful feeling here,” said Marcie. They hired architect Ernie Kim and general contractor Bob Cantrell of Cantrell Construction to design and build their new custom home.
The design incorporates the couple’s favorite elements of Hawaiian architecture: the hipped roof, open floor plan, and exterior walls that slide out of sight to join indoor and outdoor spaces. Asian motifs and decor reinforce the Hawaiian theme.
The Lindvalls also like contemporary design. They believe the home’s clean lines, lack of ornamentation and uncluttered surfaces enhance its serene Hawaiian vibe, and make the house easier to maintain, according to Marcie.
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They chose simple and sleek materials. Maple floors run throughout most of the house as a single, unbroken surface. Area rugs are only minimally used, but exotic wood inlays create subtle pattern in select spaces. Nearly all cabinetry is walnut with flat panels and minimalist hardware. Windows are either uncovered or sheathed in simple, neutral shades.
Marcie took the clean aesthetic a step further and worked with Kim to strategically place built-in storage to keep most of their belongings out of sight. One of Marcie’s biggest pet peeves is having “things sitting out on the kitchen counter.” So she asked for an oversize pantry that functions like an extension of the kitchen. This is where the couple keeps their coffee maker, toaster and tea kettle on a special countertop. The pantry also made it possible for the couple to have a large window in the kitchen, instead of a row of upper cabinets.
Natural materials and nature motifs, also inspired by Hawaii, bring warmth to the sleek and spare home. Wood is used liberally for floors, cabinetry and ceiling paneling. The kitchen’s granite countertops echo the home’s wall colors in muted shades of green and beige. “The pattern in it looks like the hills we see outside our kitchen window,” said Marcie.
Water is a motif that repeats throughout the house and landscaping — a subtle way to introduce a nautical theme. Landscape architect Debbie Black designed a large pond for the front courtyard, filled with koi and dappled with water lilies. The pond is bisected by the front walkway and topped with contemporary slate “stepping stones.” The front doors are made of cast glass in a dramatic wave motif. A similar glass window, located in a hallway between the master bathroom and bedroom, is inset with jewel-like dichroic glass “bubbles.” The couple chose paintings depicting waves for the master bedroom and living room. Even the brushed stainless steel fireplace in the master bedroom has wavelike undulations.
The Lindvalls purchased simple, functional contemporary furniture and kept accessories to a minimum. Although they have a collection of art, including pieces by local artists Carol Astaire, Carol Paulsen and Tracy Taylor, most walls are occupied by large windows that the couple took great care to orient to best take advantage of views.
The Lindvalls, who are now retired, planned the house to function well for many years. Everything in the main house is on one level. Doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
Their 5,100-square-foot home includes an attached guest house that may someday be used for a caretaker.
Marcie and John don’t make as many trips to Hawaii now, she said. And though their view is of hillsides and vineyards, rather than palm-studded beaches, she insists, “We never get tired of looking at it.”
DESIGN TIPS FROM THE LINDVALLS
PANTRY PERKS If you have the space, incorporate a large pantry in the kitchen with as much counter space as possible. You can use it to keep small appliances, canisters, and other items that create visual clutter in the kitchen. When you entertain, it’s a great place to keep messy pots and pans out of sight, leaving plenty of room for guests to congregate.
STORAGE SOLUTION The Lindvalls asked for numerous drawers in their kitchen, which are easier to access than cabinets. They are strategically located to keep clutter at bay. For instance, a large drawer directly below the cooktop eliminates the need for keeping cooking utensils out on the countertop.
THE NEW NAUTICAL Creating a nautical feel doesn’t require sailboat prints and seashells. The Lindvalls bring an ocean vibe to their house with subtle references to waves and water.