Lilla and Steve Nash assemble a dream team for their Manhattan Beach home
Pulling inspiration from around the globe, Lilla and Steve Nash worked with a dream team of experts to achieve a new kind of beach-house style.
- WRITTEN BYAMBER KLINCK
- PHOTOGRAPHED BYRYAN GARVIN
As baby Luca—the newest addition to the Nash family—naps comfortably in the master suite, Lilla and Steve Nash quietly point out that this is where they’ve been spending most of their time. As parents of a newborn, they’re only half kidding. But with sweeping views of the Pacific from their bedroom windows, it could be worse.
The family’s newly finished home sits on a corner lot facing a charming Manhattan Beach walk street. Originally from Huntington Beach, Lilla has lived in the community for two years. Originally from Canada, Steve has been here for five.
“I always wanted to live in Southern California,” he says. “And I love that still has a beach feel but is right next to L.A.”
The four-level home “began as a Cape Cod-style house,” explains interior designer and family friend Rini Kundu. Lilla and Steve, however, were looking for something different. “We wanted something that felt a little more our own,” Steve shares.
Shortly after Rini got to work helping Lilla and Steve identify what that was, Anthony Laney—architect and partner at Laney LA—was introduced to the project. “We were brought in after the initial floor plans were done,” Anthony notes. “When they presented us with mood boards, we knew right away they were going for a style that was different—with influences from all over the world. It was a deeper, darker, moodier palette with a lot of rich natural materials.”
Commissioned to redesign the entire exterior of the home, Anthony and his team produced several digital 3-D models for consideration. “Ultimately the design that everyone enjoyed the most had this very aggressive, cantilevered, gabled roof that faced the walk street and sheltered a very large, outdoor living room,” Anthony says. “Props to the construction team for being able to pull it off.”
The outdoor space, located on the fourth level of the house, merges with the main living area—creating an indoor/outdoor hub that brilliantly maintains a level of privacy while permitting an incredible amount of natural light and broad, unobstructed ocean views. “It’s a living space you want to spend time in,” Steve notes.
“It’s interesting to know how people live, how they’re going to use the space and where they’re going to spend the most time,” Rini explains. “We wanted the outside to be as interesting and as comfortable as the interior.”
With inspiration pulled from international and East Coast designs and with both modern and traditional elements at play, it was necessary to create a fusion that felt organic. “Our emphasis was on really strong, robust raw materials such as limestone, marble, concrete tile, metal windows and reclaimed, hand-sanded oak floors,” says Rini. “All work in harmony to achieve the modern undercurrent were after. But on top of that, we layered in more traditional, colonial details in really nice, understated tones to add warmth without too much gregarious pattern and color.”
For Anthony, the merger was between an “old-world, traditional approach” and contemporary design. “The windows are steel with super-slim sight lines—it feels timeless, in a way,” he says. “But other elements of the home are decidedly contemporary—like the minimal siding, the reduced material palette, the very strong roof overhang and the slots on the roof to let in the light.”
The challenge to successfully juxtapose these architectural styles was a welcomed one for Anthony. “It was a privilege to work on a project with a client that was so adventurous,” he says.
The sentiment was similar for the professional partnership. “Rini was such a delight to collaborate with,” Anthony continues. “We were both trying to be sensitive to how the exterior and the interior could both have a lot of personality but still blend in a seamless way. She brought such a fresh approach to the [project].”
Having such a hands-on team with such a high level of expertise made the experience that much smoother for Lilla and Steve. “ is really good at what she does. And she knew what we didn’t like—that made things easier,” Lilla notes. “She did a ton of research and gave us a lot of options,” Steve adds.
And it shows. From the sport court to the beach room—even the entryway of the home—it’s clear that the needs of an active family of six were taken into consideration. With all the artistic vision to create such a beautiful home, the importance of family functionality was never forgotten.
“The entire process has been a collaborative journey,” Rini says. And the result is stunning. The modern yet rustic Scandinavian-barn-meets-beach hut does not disappoint. Every risk, every decision to step outside the norm has served as an opportunity to create something that is both innovative and timeless.