Inspired craftsmanship and fun fixtures transform a former ranch house in the Redondo Riviera into a slice of country chic.
Farmhouses have been gracing the Midwest since the 19th century, but it’s a rare architectural style for the South Bay. For Redondo Riviera residents Tracy and Maury Gentile, finding an original ranch-style home near the beach provided the perfect spot to create a modern take on the Midwestern style.
“We had been researching homes and interiors on Houzz.com, and we kept gravitating toward farmhouses,” says Maury.
Tracy and Maury have spent their careers in South Bay real estate. During the course of raising three children and working in the South Bay, they’ve lived in numerous houses of varying styles. However when the nest became empty, they decided it was time to downsize and create a simpler life.
“We just happened to see this house on the day it was reduced on the market, and we put in an offer,” says Maury. The house built in the early 1950s was in original condition and in dire need of a massive remodel, so it had not attracted any buyers. Given the Gentiles’ experience in real estate, they immediately recognized the good bones of the house and the sterling location.
Although the Gentiles have vast contacts in the home sector, it was a tremendous undertaking to remodel the Riviera home. While the couple created a floor plan that preserved the original footprint of the house, they also added a master suite to one side of the house and a huge wrap-around deck with spectacular ocean views.
David Powers Construction handled the consuming renovation project in a miraculous six months. “We took the house apart and went down to the studs, and then we had to reinforce the footings,” says Tracy.
They also made a major change to the living area by altering the pitch of the roof in order to gain significantly more light. Fortunately the pitch change did not alter the roof height, so it was within the remodeling permits of the Riviera.
The exterior of the Gentile home is reminiscent of American Midwestern farmhouses—with a metal roof, bright red board-and-batten walls, and crisp white trim. A water pump from 1920 found in El Segundo has been repainted glossy black and installed near the front door. It’s a bit of nostalgia both for the area and for the utilitarian purposes originally required for a farmhouse.
TOP: The wide patio was designed both for convenient outdoor entertaining and to take advantage of the panoramic coastal views. BOTTOM LEFT: Metallic details with a vintage edge at the home’s front entrance. BOTTOM RIGHT: In the wall-to-wall tiled bathroom.
Once inside the beamed ceiling of the main living area, the house expands in all directions. The 2,200-square-foot, single-level home has an open floor plan that makes it completely comfortable for the entire family. The 4,000-square-foot deck with a partial roof drastically increases the overall living space of the house, and the barn theme continues outside.
The open concept living area incorporates various elements of farmhouse style in a modern way. Sliding barn doors have been used for centuries in farmhouses for ease of moving cattle, and they’ve been used for decades in lofts on the East Coast where space is tight. Alder wood barn doors were the perfect solution in the Gentile home for a modern take on a time-honored classic.
Board-and-batten walls are used inside and outside the house. Vivid walls with sharp white trim highlight the quality craftsmanship of the construction. Abundant windows and huge fans in every room ensure daylight and constant breezes.
Wood floors are typical in farmhouses, but Tracy and Maury opted for a porcelain tile that resembles wood. It’s easy to keep clean at the beach, and it stays cool even when temperatures rise. Additionally, it’s generally less expensive and requires far less maintenance than hardwood floors. “It’s now one of our favorite features of the home,” says Maury.
Changing the roof pitch permitted Tracy and Maury to completely change the ceiling in the main living area. “They were ready to paint the wood-beamed ceiling bright white, but I said leave the wood,” says Tracy.
The solid wood ceiling now grabs the attention of anyone who enters the house. The ceiling fan resembles a wind turbine, and it’s highly efficient at cooling the large space.
The kitchen is modest in size but big on style. “We spent hours searching home styles and details, and we fell in love with Big Chill appliances,” says Tracy.
They’re not easy to source, but the appliances pack a powerful punch of retro style. Rachael Ray has used Big Chill appliances in light blue, but Tracy opted for classic black because it worked so well with the red used throughout the house.
The master suite addition is truly a room with a view. Situated on the side and facing the rear of the house, the entire suite opens onto the spacious deck with expansive ocean views. Additionally, there’s plenty of natural light throughout the space but no need for window coverings due to the careful placement of the windows.
Most couples would balk at sharing a bathroom sink, but Tracy and Maury now share a huge farmhouse trough sink in the bathroom. Additionally, the shower is open with no need for a curtain or glass. “It’s so nice not to have to clean glass shower walls,” smiles Tracy. A cast iron tub, vintage-style lighting and a classic, black-and-white color scheme complete the 1930s look of the bathroom.
While some would presume that a 10’ x 10’ room might be too small to be a guest bedroom, this house proves that it’s ample and comfortable. Flooded with sunlight and decorated in bright colors, the guest bedrooms in the Gentile house are warm and welcoming. Pops of colors from penny tiles in the guest bathrooms provide whimsy and give life to the small spaces.
Every room in the Gentile home has an ocean view, including the laundry room and office. The home office has one wall of doors that open to the deck, while another wall shows the exposed brick of the original house. “It was important to us to keep a part of the house so that the children of the original owner as well as future generations would know that we preserved the history of the house in this huge renovation,” says Tracy.
The showstopper of the house is the covered deck. With a pitched metal roof that echoes the main room, it is truly a living area that happens to be outside. Wrapping around half of the house, the deck is a whopping 4,000 square feet. Barrel tables and bar stools continue the farmhouse theme with multiple seating and dining areas.
“We downsized in this house, but the space is so open and light and efficient that it actually works better than our previous house,” says Maury. Most people find themselves simplifying later in life. For Tracy and Maury, that downsizing actually opened up their lifestyle.