When it came time to remodel his Redondo Beach home, South Bay native Misa Zaker had a very clear vision. “Once I got the house and took a look at it, I knew the potential,” says Misa of the house built in 1979. “It wasn’t bad, but it was layered into three levels so that the front door was on the second floor. It was definitely livable, but once I decided to go contemporary, everything had to change.”
To make the 3,500-square-foot residence his own and create a modern oasis distinguished from other homes in the neighborhood, he knew he needed help from a pro. Luckily, he already knew the person for the job and enlisted the expertise of his longtime friend and designer Sage Gracie Allard, founder of her eponymous Los Angeles interior design firm.
“I wanted modern, but I was afraid of making it too modern and cold,” recalls Misa, a medical industry professional. “I had seen Sage’s work, and obviously we knew each other. And even though I already knew what I wanted, she allowed me to create a formula and not just piecemeal a bunch of stuff together. I trusted the process.”
For Sage, whose projects include Hermosa Beach establishments Fox & Farrow and Underground Pub & Grill, it was about adding cohesion and functionality while creating a warm but modern interior in tones of grey, white and black. “There was a step-up into the kitchen, which split the kitchen and made both spaces not functional,” she explains. “The fireplace was there, and that was it. And we had to redo the ceiling frame. It was a big undertaking.”
“I wanted modern, but I was afraid of making it too modern and cold.”
Wanting to create a flawless design for her friend, Sage carefully incorporated Misa’s design goals and made deliberate decisions on the palette and finishes. “The inspiration was really him,” she says. “He was so specific about his likes and dislikes. I thought, if we are going to do black, white and grey, we need to add as much texture as possible to make it not feel cold.”
To achieve this, they opted for materials like fluted glass, black marble and white plaster for the interior, and iron cladding, ipe wood and white plaster for the exterior. “Wood can easily make it look like a cabin, and you want the right type of stain,” explains Misa. “I didn’t want it to look like a cabin.”
Misa championed the “centerpiece” of the house: a 24-by-14-foot sliding glass door in the living room to accentuate the ocean view. “What we envisioned was a long glass door, and the whole thing kind of centered around that,” says Misa of the custom piece made by Styline Door & Window Systems. “It feels like you’re pretty much on top of the ocean, and now my living room literally turns into an outside patio. It really came together.”
He also searched extensively to source other major design elements throughout the home including the garage door with aluminum panels, manufactured by a company in Australia; the lighting; and the custom, floating staircase manufactured in China. For the custom front door, he tapped Swing Door Company in Austin, Texas, to construct a pivot door made of oak with a strip of raw steel in a gunmetal blue finish in the middle.
The living room is anchored by a 10-foot olive tree; a fireplace surround made of black ribbed marble; and a soft velvety sofa, a coffee table, lounge chairs and a side table from RH Modern. The adjacent kitchen is outfitted with Neolith stone (Estatuario EO5) for the backsplash, countertop and hood; Wolf appliances; and Cannele pendant lamps and Oviedo leather barstools from RH Modern.
The serene primary bedroom is appointed with a back wall layered with wooden dowels that double as a focal point against the bed. Additional accents include a pair of Edge Capsule mirrors from Crate & Barrel, and Striae ribbed glass pendant lamps and a Victor gunmetal leather wall mirror from CB2.
“What I love most is how much it’s so perfect for him,” says Sage of the finished result. “I was so honored he asked me to help. I don’t know that it would have come out as well if it wasn’t for him, and he took bold risks which I appreciate. It’s all so neutral and calm, and when you see the green trees and mountains, the view is just one big art piece.”
Following the two-year-long project, Misa feels right at home in the custom space he intended. The new design has even inspired others in the area.
“Once a month on Fridays, we have neighborhood parties,” explains Misa. “I’ve had two or three neighbors say they want to remodel because of me. Sage and I went against the grain. It’s more of a custom home and so comfortable.”