Raising the Roof


Michael Guzman grew up in Redondo Beach, so when it was time to raise his own children, he knew exactly where he wanted to be: back home. An avid surfer and paddleboarder, Michael wanted to be steps from the beach so his children could experience the great lifestyle afforded by living near the ocean.

Michael’s first job was as a screenwriter, but he eventually left Hollywood and gravitated toward a career in finance. Having purchased an older home in the Redondo Beach Riviera, Michael thought building a new home would be an incredible opportunity to unleash his suppressed creativity. However, the laborious process involved in constructing a new, two-story home in the Riviera surprised him.
After a three-year battle with the Torrance Planning Commission over the Hillside Overlay, Michael now owns one of the most interesting and beguiling homes on the beach. It is a perfect fusion of Napa and New York: rustic, hand-hewn woods and bountiful herbs mixed with clean lines, huge plate-glass windows and an open, loft-like floor plan. Industrial materials and construction meld seamlessly with exquisite Brazilian woods and soft furnishings.

James Meyer of Lean Arch drew the plans, and “he knew exactly what I wanted,” notes Michael. The bedrooms are on the ground floor with all common living areas on the second floor. The master bedroom is at the rear of the house, and it opens fully to a beautifully landscaped backyard and seating area.

“One of the reasons I bought this property was because of the deep lot. I knew we could have both a front and back yard, and that has been great for the kids,” says Michael.

Upon climbing the stairs to the second floor, one is greeted with expansive views from Palos Verdes to Malibu to the San Bernardino Mountains. It is essentially one huge living area that accommodates the kitchen, dining room and living room. With huge, plate-glass windows and retracting doors, light and air abound. When the doors are open, a great porch extends toward the ocean, providing unobstructed views.

Michael loves to cook, so the kitchen has every amenity, yet it is understated and elegant in its simplicity. Clean lines and light marble blend seamlessly into the large windows. The ovens and pantry are tucked behind a corner so no view is obstructed.

The house is very contemporary, and with so many hard surfaces, it could have come across as cold. However, the pièce de résistance of the house is the use of hand-hewn, aged, reclaimed wood from Utah. Used both inside and out, the boards translate age, quality and substance. They also offer a feeling of rustic simplicity that mixes beautifully with the sophisticated timelessness of marble, glass and the warm Brazilian walnut wood floors.

Outside the house, James worked with landscape architect Rob Jones to blend house surfaces and plantings. Concrete is brilliantly constructed to look like aged, corrugated siding that might be found on an old Napa barn. A pea gravel front yard provides space for a large table and chairs surrounded by herbs and trees that convey a true Napa feel. In the backyard, a huge grass area is perfect for playing, and the large lot allows for another seating area and an outdoor fire pit.

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