Midwestern values and ocean-oriented aesthetics create understated elegance in Redondo Beach.
Summers in the Midwest revolve around lakeside living when the days are longer, the pace of life is slower, and family and friends gather together for relaxed vacations. Lake cottages feature tongue-and-groove paneling, beamed ceilings and big porches that foster environments as inviting and down-to-earth as the residents who occupy them. Outdoor fire pits offer warmth on cool summer evenings when children catch fireflies by the lake before roasting marshmallows.
Although the South Bay is far more congested than the Midwestern lake region, the two areas are united in an outdoor-oriented lifestyle. The surfboards and piers of the South Bay are replaced in the Midwest with canoes and personal boat docks on the lakes.
When Melonee and Jim Patterson moved to Southern California, neither was certain it would be a permanent move. However, business opportunities and the warm Southern California climate were easy transitions for this Midwestern-raised couple.
Jim received his MBA from USC and ultimately became a writer and producer of the phenomenally successful show Two and a Half Men. Melonee has had a long career in auto design, so both have professions that tap into their respective creativity.
After living in the South Bay for years, the Pattersons determined that Redondo Beach was the right place for their family, which includes their children and dogs. Deciding to build their own home was a visionary endeavor they could share because they agreed that the house would be a merging of the best of the Midwest and the beach.
“We love everything about being at the lake, and we wanted our house to remind us of where we spent our summers growing up,” says Melonee.
In 2013 the couple hired Gary Lane to help them design and build their home that Melonee describes as “coastal farmhouse style.” Horizontal tongue-and-groove paneling and sliding barn doors hide Melonee’s office and the mudroom while creating a clean visual line from the front door through to the back deck.
Bleached oak floors are as beautiful as they are utilitarian, while “the newel post on the stairs is reminiscent of a lighthouse tower at the lake,” says Melonee. The architectural features are rich in quality and warm in aesthetics.
A subtle but sophisticated, beach-oriented color palette runs throughout the house. Sea glass greens, soft taupe and an earthy aqua tone are framed by crisp, white trim. Beautiful woods, river rock, stone and tiles add texture to the natural palette and are as soothing as the sounds of a rippling lake. Roman shades are not only practical; they add a distinctly refined element to the interior design. Every room has several textures that blend seamlessly for an understatedly elegant environment.
Melonee and Jim devoted significant thought to every area of the house. Although it has a fluid, casual feeling, there are carefully considered spaces that accommodate everyone.
Multiple living areas, offices, a separate guest suite for visiting relatives and a second kitchen on the ground floor near the pool ensure that every amenity is available to make the house function well for the entire family.
“Gary was tremendous, and he understood what we wanted aesthetically in the house as well as how we wanted it to work,” says Melonee.
The main floor includes a large kitchen, breakfast room and a huge family living room with a fabulous deck that runs the width of the house and overlooks the spectacular pool. The large center island can accommodate a crowd, but the family dines on the zinc dining table tucked under a window with views of the backyard.
Outdoor upholstery fabric resembles beautiful linen but provides incredible durability on the contemporary, overscaled sofa. “Kids and dogs cannot hurt this furniture,” laughs Melonee.
The master bedroom suite is an oasis that includes the bedroom, bathroom and a large private deck. “Jim and I spent a lot of time designing the master bathroom so that it would feel like a spa,” says Melonee.
The double Jacuzzi tub has a small fireplace in one of the surrounding walls so the elements of fire, water and air are present in a truly soothing and harmonious environment. Another imaginative solution in the bathroom includes the undulating shower bench, which provides individual seats for enjoying the steam shower.
Much thought and creativity went into the house, while much ingenuity went into the outdoor living area. The pool is not only stunning, but it’s an engineering feat. “We saw something similar in Vegas and asked our pool contractor to help us design it,” says Melonee.
One end of the pool is below ground, while the opposite end is above ground. The above-ground portion features a stacked stone pool surround with a massive acrylic, see-through panel that links both portions. It provides a focal point as well as a clear view to the opposite end of the pool.
The ground floor of the house opens to the pool terrace to create a huge living area, and a guesthouse ensures that there’s plenty of space for overflow entertaining. “One of the great benefits of living in Redondo Beach is that the lots are larger and provide more opportunities for outdoor living,” says Melonee.
As classic as the aesthetics are in the Patterson home, the house is technologically advanced. It’s a “smart home” wherein all of the lighting, sound and cameras are controlled from three iPads. Whether monitoring electrical use or controlling lighting when not at home, smart homes have the capacity to conserve energy, cut costs and ensure safety.
Although the Pattersons continue to visit family in the Midwest, they’ve created their own version of lakeside living at the beach. “Your own house is the most difficult to design, but it’s also incredibly rewarding,” says Melonee.
Finding the home interior design process so fulfilling, Melonee recently launched her own firm, Zing Design. While Melonee’s and Jim’s roots might be in the Midwest, it’s certain that this Michigan-born designer will have tremendous success in her new South Bay career.