Some retirees find comfort in the familiar, while others crave a fresh start. When Mike and Marie Preach retired from their careers as educators, their choice fell somewhere in between.
The couple was living and working in Ventura County when their daughter and her family moved to Los Osos.
“We would visit them on weekends and liked it so much, we thought someday we might move here,” said Mike.
In 2003, they purchased a spacious lot with a bird’s-eye ocean view. While they obtained permits and waited out the lengthy environmental review process, they worked on house plans with Los Osos designer Dana Belmonte, and their son-in-law, general contractor Rick Fenske. They began with an idea for a small, one-story home, but plans evolved.
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“We thought we should go to two stories because of the view,” said Marie. “Then, when we looked at our possessions and what we wanted, we kept expanding.”
The final plans detailed a 2,900-square-foot home with the great room and master bedroom on the upper level to take full advantage of the view. Downstairs would be a guest bedroom and den.
The Preaches had many goals for the home. They wanted a Mediterranean architectural style. Craving abundant natural light, they asked for numerous windows as well as solar tube skylights in the laundry room, master bedroom closet and garage workshop. They also oriented the house so that the master bedroom and kitchen would have southern exposures.
The couple hopes to enjoy the house for many years, so they incorporated accessibility features such as an elevator, wide doorways and a walk-in shower. They located the laundry room upstairs to minimize the distance between closet and washing machine.
Low-maintenance materials were another priority. The house is clad in Sto stucco that is said to be resistant to mold and dirt. Wood windows are vinylclad so that they never need painting. Exterior doors are fiberglass with the look of wood. Low-E4 windows are not only energy-efficient, they show fewer water spots and minimize dirt build-up.
They chose durable slate flooring for the downstairs where their young grandkids often play. For the upstairs great room, they selected mediumtoned maple.
“We didn’t want anything dark that shows a lot of dust, and we wanted it distressed so that you aren’t able to see every little dent,” said Marie.
During the planning process, the Preaches moved into a small home in Los Osos. Doing so required letting go of many of their old possessions. They kept only their favorite pieces and, in some cases, tailored the house to accommodate them. For instance, they designed their new master bedroom around the bedroom set they’ve had for more than 30 years.
“We realized at one point that the dresser was too long, so we had to extend the wall a foot, which meant the whole house had to go out a foot. That sort of thing happened a couple of times,” Mike explained.
The Preaches tend to purchase high-quality furnishings in a simple, casual design.
“We’re not the type of people to buy something and when a new fad comes out, to shed the old and buy new,” said Mike. “We wanted to buy furniture that we would keep forever.”
Many of their decadesold furnishings fit well with their new contemporary coastal style, including the dining set they’ve had since the 1970s. They had extra leaves built for it as their family grew, and reupholstered the chairs to match their changing décor.
“When we have guests, people don’t want to get up because the chairs are so comfortable,” remarked Mike.
Both Mike and Marie have lived near the ocean for most of their lives. Mike enjoys fishing, longboarding, scuba diving, and wind surfing. They both like snorkeling, hiking and beach combing. To reflect their lifestyle, they have collected nautical art and accessories for decades. Their collection of glass fishing floats from Oregon and Alaska now decorate the hearth, along with a scrimshaw purchased in Hawaii. Their Polynesianstyle kitchen stools were carved in the 1970s by Ventura county firefighters who moonlighted as woodworkers.
Other subtle references to the sea include kitchen pendant lights that evoke the look of seashells. Limestone in the master bathroom contains actual fossilized shells and is accented with glass tiles that resemble sea glass.
Construction took one year, wrapping up in August 2008. Since then, they have made other adjustments based on how they used the space. One major change was enclosing their second story barbecue deck. Once it was sheltered from biting winds, they used it much more frequently.
Although Marie loves to peruse issues of Coastal Living, she is content that her home isn’t lifted from its pages. Rather, it is a blend of their past and present that is utterly original.
“I don’t mind the eclectic approach,” she said. “A home should reflect your style and who you are.”
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