A family of four seeks the perfect lot for a home that caters to their active lifestyle.
Photographed by Siri Berting
Ryan and Susan Wiley open the door to their custom plantation-style home with a smile and a welcoming disposition. Like the Wileys, the home is warm and cheerful, filled with tons of natural light and soft breezes cool enough to make you forget the scorching summer temps outside.
A hanging fixture over the dining room table located in the communal ground-floor living space doubles as a makeshift wind chime—adding to the relaxed, beachy vibe of the home. The sound is really quite lovely.
Walking through the expansive, 3,800-square-foot house, it’s hard to ignore how open the home feels—something you sense immediately after entering the front door and stepping into the two-story foyer. Just as quickly as you’re introduced to the spacious design elements of the home, however, unique hints of the Wiley family are equally present.
The high ceilings and stunning staircase with contrasts of white accents and richly stained hardwood are impressive, but it’s the tiny library hidden just off the entryway that really starts to tell the story of who lives here. “This is one of my favorites,” Susan explains.
A small, concealed door hidden under the stairway opens to reveal a child’s reading area, making use of an otherwise unused space. “My daughter loves it,” she adds.
Walk through the foyer and into the main living space, and you’ll find a large, open seating area with views of the fireplace, double doors that open to the outside, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Beautifully coffered ceilings span from the kitchen to the family area, adding texture and dimension to the space.
The kitchen is separated from the great room by a long, rectangular island lined with additional seating. Tucked away in the side of the island is a pullout drawer with food bowls for the Wileys’ furriest family member—an equally discrete and convenient amenity for when it’s time to feed the pup.
Adding ample storage and ridding the Wiley family of any unnecessary mess is a laundry/mud room built to envy. Like the rest of the home, it’s flooded with natural light pouring in from the window-lined walls and the glass door leading outside. With direct access from the driveway, it’s easy to neatly put away backpacks and shoes before walking through the rest of the house. Built-in drawers, hooks and cabinetry ensure that everything has its place; the countertop and sink make for easy, on-the-go cleanup.
For game-day celebrations the Wileys have another area to congregate—off the main living space, featuring a massive, big-screen television that allows for multiple sporting events to play at the same time. For guests who aren’t into sports, the Wileys’ gorgeous backyard is a comfortable place to relax, with more than enough open space for their daughter—and soon enough their new baby boy—to run around. The yard is indeed a happy haven for growing little ones.
The family’s organic garden encourages participation from all the Wiley residents while providing healthy plates for dinners alfresco.
Wanting to build their home on a property that catered to their active family’s love of the outdoors, the discovery of their current 10,000-square-foot lot was a big win for the Wileys. Of course it wasn’t an instant find. In addition to overseeing the interior and exterior construction of the project from beginning to end, Nuné Nitsiotis, principal of the design firm Studio Synergy, assisted the Wileys in finding the perfect lot on which to build their dream home.
“Apart from my services, I help owners identify properties that suit the needs of the project they want to do,” Nuné explains. “I’m very familiar with the area and with what’s on the market throughout the year. With the Wileys, we looked at properties for several months prior to them purchasing.”
Site selection aside, Nuné was also responsible for all the project approvals as well as the overall design of the home, landscape, interior finishes and construction observation. Of course Susan and Ryan were also incredibly involved in the design process.
“They were great clients who really listened to my recommendations and fully utilized my professional experience,” Nuné notes, “while still being very hands-on. You can see their personality throughout the home.”
On the second level of the house, Dutch doors lead into both of the children’s bedrooms—a decision that presents many convenient options for a family with two young children, including keeping out unwanted pet traffic while maintaining air circulation. At the top of the stairs, in between the kids’ rooms and the master suite, is a bonus room with no door that serves as a playroom for now. Susan and Ryan are already thinking ahead, envisioning the space as a study zone in the years to come.
The master suite continues the trend of making the most of every inch while catering to the needs of all the Wiley residents. A built-in dog crate miraculously becomes aesthetically pleasing with the right planning. Windows line the master bath, while hands-free shades provide privacy when needed.
From site selection to the completion of construction, the entire project took the Wileys roughly two years … two years to put together a home their family can grow into and make a multitude of memories on a property large enough to cater to their outdoor lifestyles, in a community they love. Sounds like the ultimate home-sweet-home scenario.
Designer | Nuné Nitsiotis | Studio Synergy
Famed quarterback and Manhattan Beach local Matt Leinart has been busy. Since retiring from the NFL, he has built a successful career as a studio analyst at FOX Sports and FS1. He runs an eponymous foundation for underprivileged youth. He coaches youth baseball and football and is active in the Manhattan Beach community. With all he is doing, it was a surprise to learn that Matt recently earned his real estate license and joined Schneider Properties South Bay Real Estate Team. We sat down with Matt for a candid conversation where the former football phenom turned broadcaster and philanthropist opened up about his life on and off the gridiron, his triumphs and disappointments, love and loss, fatherhood and the importance of family.