Design for a Coastal Family


The sound of laughter spills from the family room onto the front patio of the McNamara home in Manhattan Beach. Children scamper about, going to and from the house, toting toys and food in a constant parade. From the collection of wagons and tricycles strewn about the patio to the seashell wreath on the front door, any passerby would know that this home is filled with a busy, happy family.  

Rosie and Joe McNamara are young, hip and incredibly joyous about their life in their new Manhattan Beach home. They purchased the original home in 2005 and lived in it for four years. However, the arrival of three children within five years drastically changed their lifestyle; the small, cramped, 40-year old house was in need of a better floor plan to accommodate their growing family. 

By nature, Rosie McNamara is a cheerful soul. She wanted a house that reflected her easy demeanor and relaxed family lifestyle. After meeting Suzanne Ascher of Waterleaf Interiors, Rosie was ready to proceed with the renovation.  Within the first few meetings, Suzanne’s vision was one of open spaces decorated in a relaxed beach style with traditional overtones. 

Suzanne conceived an entirely new floor plan, so the McNamara family moved out for two years while the house was renovated from top to bottom. The original hardwood floors were salvaged, as were the doors, staircase and upstairs bathroom tiles. But otherwise, the contractors went back to the studs in order to complete the new design. 

Today, the first floor is one long, open space combining the living room, kitchen and dining room. On warm summer evenings, the doors open to the vast expanse of patio that serves to create a huge family living area. Color schemes and fabrics are reminiscent of the beach but friendly enough for kid breakfasts. 

The beautiful kitchen has the Waterleaf trademarks of countertops made from 3-inch slabs of Carrere marble and color-washed tones of slate blue and grey. With a massive stove and a long breakfast bar, the area is an invitation to dine. Rosie pretends that she cannot cook, but as soon as her daughter arrives home from her dance class, she begs for a piece of homemade banana bread. 

The family bedrooms comprise thesecond floor, and though none are large, they are comfortable, inviting and charming. Beautiful fabrics embellish every room, for a  soft and cozy feeling. Family photos and children’s artwork serve as decorations for every room. A cozy nook by the staircase has been turned into a play area, where more toys and books invite creativity. 

The third floor is a reprieve from the bustle of life below. Two additional bedrooms layered in China Seas fabrics and Hermes blankets await visiting guests, while Joe’s study is hidden at the end of the hall. With a private patio and a crisp color scheme of blue, white and chocolate brown, it is inviting but sedate. Photos of Joe paddle boarding line the wall and were taken by good friend and Hermosa Beach resident Bo Bridges.  

The McNamaras entertain frequently, but with their busy household, every day feels like a special event. Having recently moved into the house, the McNamaras are excited about summer. With the end of the school year and long beach days ahead, it is certain that the McNamara house will be overflowing with giggles from children as they settle into life in their new Manhattan Beach home.


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