A 1927 Manhattan Beach property gets a major revamp with stunning results.
Despite growing up in Manhattan Beach and being raised in a family of ocean enthusiasts, Jennifer fell in love with and married Chicago native Marc Roskin. Not before Marc passed one very essential test, however. “The ocean has always been important to our family, with my dad and grandfather both being lifelong lifeguards,” Jennifer explains. For her father, having a son-in-law who could surf was a big priority. “Once he learned from my dad and brothers, he passed the test,” she says of her now-husband, with a smile.
With so much history in the South Bay, Jennifer was grateful to be starting her own family in the Beach City she loves. “This is such an amazing community, and I’m so happy my husband fell in love with it and wanted to raise our family here,” she notes. “The town has definitely changed since I was a kid, but the basic, good elements are the same.”
Similar to how Manhattan Beach has changed but maintained its strong foundation, the Roskins found a house in a prime spot that was ready for its own evolution. What began as a dark box on a long and skinny lot nestled near Grand View Elementary has now completely transformed into a sun-drenched sanctuary chock-full of surprises.
Originally built in 1927, the renovation of the property took nearly two years, including “design, city approvals and construction,” explains Robert Sweet of ras-a, inc., the Los Angeles-based design/build firm responsible for the remodel. Other contributors include general contractor Dave Valenzuela and structural engineer Eric McCullum.
Rather than scrape the existing structure, Robert and the Roskins opted to work with what they had. “Recycling portions of the original house back into the new design is a more sustainable approach than simply bulldozing what once existed,” Robert explains. “Their original house had a very simple footprint that sat appropriately on the site, so it didn’t make any sense to completely scrape it. We recycled its foundation and some perimeter framing back into the new design. It saved a little money, is better for the environment, and it continues the lineage and history of the property.”
The results of the property’s transformation are absolutely incredible. White with clean lines and a warm yet minimalistic charm, the home sets itself apart from its beach-inspired counterparts at first glance. But it’s not until you walk through the front door that the house reveals its first surprise. Behind the home’s simple, slender entry is an open, airy floor plan with accents of patterned tile and wood for added warmth.
Flooded with natural light pouring in from large windows and cleverly placed skylights, the home’s base color is white with pops of personality scattered throughout. Mid-century modern furniture occupies the living spaces, and an impressive collection of art is displayed on the walls. The floors are primarily concrete, with maple stairs and hemlock ceilings.
The main level of the home has a slightly formal seating area, with a large piano and fireplace serving as the focal points. Above the fireplace is a photograph titled Saturday Night Fish Fry by New Orleans photographer Keith Calhoun. “I’m a big blues fan,” Marc says, “and we love to entertain, so that image always makes me smile.”
Mirroring the space is a large home office with a hidden Murphy bed concealed as built-in cabinetry to accommodate the occasional overnight houseguest. Photos of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers films hang behind the desk—“films that Jen’s grandfather Joseph Kane directed,” Marc notes. “As a director it’s inspiring, as he directed almost 80 films, and for Jen it’s a tribute and reminder of someone so special to her and her family.”
The kitchen is built around a long center island with ample seating. Rather than relying on overhead storage, plates, bowls and glasses are neatly and conveniently tucked away in drawers. One of the first hints of an indoor/outdoor living space is a massive kitchen window opening to the courtyard only steps below.
Lending to the communal feel of the home, the formal dining area boasts a large, round, marble table that invites an open conversation between the two spaces. Near the table hangs New York LA, a piece by southern California artist Richard Shelton. “That was the first piece of artwork we’ve ever purchased,” Marc explains, adding his appreciation that “Richard personally hung the piece in our house before and after the renovation.”
Just a few maple steps lead down to the home’s family room, with an entire wall that opens to the courtyard—the line between indoors and outdoors now completely blurred. Ample seating for both lounging and dining make the space a perfect extension of the family room. The fireplace and grill make it an ideal spot for entertaining.
Before heading up another few steps to the master suite, the home reveals its next surprise: the sauna. Because, why not? Like the rest of the home, the sauna has its own source of natural light with large yet private windows that open, letting in a breath of fresh air when needed.
The master suite plays with textures and patterns merging: concrete flooring, the warmth of wood, clean and seamless built-ins. A floating wall separates the bedroom and the bath with even more natural light pouring in from the skylights above.
Take one of the two full-sized stairways to the second level of the home, and you’ll find an office/study zone, the kids’ rooms and even more outdoor space. The massive sliding doors to the outside patio make for larger-than-life hallways, only further accentuating the indoor/outdoor feel of the home.
With so many open-air solutions making the most of coastal breezes, there’s no need for an A/C unit. In the colder months “a hydronic radiant floor system provides clean heat for the house, including the outdoor patio—allowing for year-round use of the courtyard,” explains Robert.
With so many elements in the home that complement the essence of beach living, it’s nice to see this 1927 property revamped and thoroughly enjoyed today by a true-blue Manhattan Beach girl and her family.
THE COLLABORATORS | ROBERT SWEET, DESIGN/BUILD, RAS-A INC.
DAVE VALENZUELA, GENERAL CONTRACTOR | ERIC MCCULLUM, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER