Eastern Exposure

Balinese materials and handcrafted elements create a spa-like environment in Hermosa.

  • Category
    Homes
  • Written by
    Suzanna Cullen

Travel can have such a profound impact on people that it ultimately influences the aesthetics and decoration of their homes. In
the case of Jenny and Michael Gregoire, travel throughout the Indian Ocean islands inspired them to create a home from the materials and styles of that region. 

After purchasing their Hermosa Beach home in 2001, Jenny and Michael lived in the beach cottage while contemplating how they might one day renovate the house. Realizing that the large lot afforded amazing views from Palos Verdes to Point Mugu, they ultimately decided to tear down the original house and build the house of their dreams. 

 

 

When Jenny and Michael went on vacation to Maui, they stayed in a home that had been furnished with furniture and fixtures from Bali. Also on that trip, they visited an art market where they fell in love with the work of Hawaiian ceramic artist Albert Molina. His bowls and sinks combine the colors of the ocean with metallic glazes for an organic effect.

 

THE COLLABORATORS

Doug Leach, architect

LuAnn Fabian, contractor

 

Falling in love with a beautiful sink by Molina, Jenny and Michael brought it back from Hawaii. “As crazy as it sounds, the genesis of this house was a sink, and it made us realize that we wanted to shift from a formal, tight, Cape Cod-style home to a more natural and organically inspired house,” says Jenny. 

 

“We flew to Bali and worked with an agent who directed us to various craftsmen and artists, then helped us ship the container back. And in a matter of weeks we had handcrafted pieces for our home.”

 

Working with architect Doug Leach and contractor LuAnn Fabian, Jenny and Michael created a home with large, open spaces reminiscent of the homes on many of the islands they’ve visited. Like the plantation style homes of Hawaii and the Caribbean, the house features soaring ceilings, Bahamian-inspired shuttered windows, and wood and stone floors that are all well-suited to keeping a house cool while maximizing trade winds. 

 

“As crazy as it sounds, the genesis of this house was a sink, and it made us realize that we wanted to shift from a formal, tight, Cape cod-style home to a more natural and organically inspired home.”

 

 

 

Taking the ultimate challenge, Jenny and Michael flew to Bali to procure many of the architectural and design features of the home. From the massive teak doors to the stone floors to the bathroom cabinets and master bed frame, the couple picked out most of the aesthetic features of the home. 

“We flew to Bali and worked with an agent who directed us to various craftsmen and artists, then helped us ship the container back. And in a matter of weeks we had handcrafted pieces for our home,” says Michael. 

 

    

 

While Jenny and Michael make it sound easy, traveling to Bali is a series of exhausting flights. Once there, procuring elements for a home can be a frenetic search. “LuAnn was great to work with us, because it was a huge leap of faith that these products would all work,” says Jenny. 

Indonesian river stone is used throughout the house. From the bathrooms to the front entrance, the smooth round stones create a spa-like floor. The custom-built Balinese cabinets in the bathrooms are elegant in both their simplicity and the beautiful teak wood used. Even the master bathroom tub was shipped from Bali. 

Like most homes of the Beach Cities, the upstairs of the house is the main living area. Jenny and Michael created a massive, open living area complete with a gourmet kitchen, living and dining spaces. 

 

  

 

Because their previous home was a bungalow, Jenny and Michael were thrilled when they finally saw the view their newly constructed second-floor porch afforded them. Sweeping views from one end of the South Bay to the other greet them from the massive outdoor living area. 

“LuAnn and Doug did a tremendous job guiding us, but we added one final design element after the house was finished,” says Michael. In an act that could either be defined as intense therapy or grounds for divorce, they spent five long weekends creating custom, inlaid acacia wood inserts in the cased openings. 

 

From traveling in Indonesia to actually re-creating the time-honored, handcrafted products of the area, Jenny and Michael have truly created the home of island dreams.

 

Having purchased hundreds of pieces of round-cut acacia wood pieces, the couple pieced them together like a jigsaw puzzle onto wood slabs and then mounted the slabs into the cased openings for a remarkable architectural design element. Any home that is designed and built by the homeowners has a uniquely personal stamp. However, by physically creating the acacia wood insert panels, the Gregoire home was, in part, actually built by Jenny and Michael. 

From traveling in Indonesia to actually re-creating the time-honored, handcrafted products of the area, Jenny and Michael have truly created the home of island dreams. 

More Stories
People

One Step at a Time

Cancer changes everything. Nick Arquette learned this reality at the age of ten when his mother, Sally, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Social Scene

Shark's Tale

Readers gathered for a book signing reception at Pages to celebrate the launch of Shark Sense: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Shark, written by the South Bay’s Sharkie Zartman.

COMRADES

You may know them as “Falcon” and “The Snowman,” the lead characters in both book and film in the ‘80s, but local writer Chris Ridges remembers them as Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee, two kids from Palos Verdes who shared the same school hallway and football field with him. Chris looks back at the moment former classmates became infamous Russian spies and instant headline news.

Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
JOIN THE SOUTHBAY COMMUNITY
ErrorHere