Family Affair


When the term “green construction” was coined, most people associated it with bland-looking materials that were expensive to install in return for a small environmental savings. However, the home recently built by Andrea and Lee Hutter in Manhattan Beach has just redefined “green construction.” Beautifully executed, the house blends perfectly into the Manhattan Beach landscape, appearing to be another brightly-colored, Caribbean-inspired beach home.

Andrea and her brother, Daniel Salzman, grew up in Westlake Village, but both have made Manhattan Beach their adult homes. Daniel is the owner of Salzman Design/Build and South Bay Green. When Andrea and Lee decided to build, they turned to Daniel to guide them through the process of building a green home.

“Working with a sibling could have been difficult, but doing this house with Daniel was absolutely perfect. It was a joy,” says Andrea.

Like many recently constructed South Bay homes, the Hutters decided to dig below ground to create an additional level. The home theatre, playroom, guest bedroom and huge storage room now occupy the bottom level.

The main floor has the feeling of a Caribbean house, with dark floors, white trim and an open floor plan with dining room, library and kitchen that open to the family room and outside play area. The family bedrooms comprise the upper floor, and though none are too large, all were carefully designed to maximize light and space.

Bright colors and bold patterns are found throughout the interiors because, Andrea notes, “I like color and light.”  Graphic wallpapers from Walnut in Los Angeles define many rooms, while colors pop from upholstery and pillows.

“We have a huge extended family, and we love to entertain, so it was important to us to have a dining room large enough to accommodate everyone,” notes Andrea. Indeed, the dining room runs half the length of the main floor, and it has a table that can expand should more guests arrive. Bright orange chairs, palm trees and dark woods lend a Miami vibe to the room.

Hot pops of color jump from the walls in the family room, where lithographs of The Beatles by Richard Avedon command attention. “I absolutely love The Beatles, so these are among my favorite pieces in the house,” says Andrea.

A bright blue seating area in the family room and key lime green in the open kitchen further infuse a happy, modern feeling. With glass doors that retract, the entire kitchen and family room open to a grassy backyard that’s used every day by this growing family. A garage has a guest apartment above that’s perfect when out-of-town guests arrive for an extended stay. 

Using many green building products throughout the house, Andrea and Lee created a beautiful canvas. Non-VOC paints and stains were used, and the fabrics are made of all-natural fibers for a toxin-free environment. Exquisite bamboo sinks float in the master bathroom, while slender tile was installed to resemble bamboo floors. A cork floor in the playroom provides sound insulation and offers a low-maintenance and long-term solution to a very highly-used room. Solar panels on the roof are hidden from view but provide valuable energy savings.

In every facet, the Hutter’s home is both beautiful and eco-friendly. By taking the time to make conscientious decisions about materials and products, Andrea and Lee created a home that stands up to the wear of a busy and entertaining family and looks sophisticated and refined in the process.

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