The Feeling You Have When You’re on Vacation—That Was the Inspiration Behind This Manhattan Beach Home

Staycation house.

  • Category
    Homes
  • Written by
    Amber Klinck
  • Photographed by
    Lauren Taylor

Cassidy and Ryan McCarthy lived in their home for roughly four years before they decided to remodel. “We were going to tear it down; we had plans for both,” Cassidy notes. “But that would have taken a lot longer, and we just wanted to be back in because our kids are getting older.” 

The project was extensive—taken down to the studs. But Cassidy and Ryan had a good grasp of what they wanted to achieve and what they wanted to avoid. “I had interviewed a few designers, and I didn’t want to get pressured into things I didn’t want,” Cassidy explains. “I wanted to have my hand in it too. So when I met with Anne, it just seemed like we were a good match.”

Walking through her home, Cassidy uses words like cheerful, relaxed and casual to describe the space. “When we first met Ryan and Cassidy, both said they wanted a coastal farmhouse with a little New York lofty feel to it,” notes Anne Collard of Anne Collard Designs.

“We also wanted it to feel how you feel on vacation—to be relaxed,” Cassidy adds. “We wanted open living spaces. We wanted to be able to see the kids. Nothing stuffy and no formal dining room. Just open and casual.”

Walking into the home, your focus is immediately drawn to a large communal space with sky-high ceilings and bifold doors that open to the yard. “My husband—he’s not a visual person usually,” Cassidy notes. “But when [he initially] walked through the space, he was like, ‘I feel like we can make [the doors] taller.’ So we did another walkthrough with the architect, and they were able to raise them. We wanted maximum light.”

It was also important to the family that there be direct visibility from the front to the back of the house. Helping them design an open, airy living space was architect Michael Eserts of Eserts Studio. Lombardi Construction brought the vision to life, and Details Tile & Stone Studio contributed to the project.

“All the rooms need to speak to each other, and all  the spaces need to flow into each other effortlessly.”

Outside the nearly 10,000-square-foot lot are a pool, a pool house perfect for entertaining and a lush green landscape that only adds to the home’s vacation vibe. The Jones Landscapes team worked their magic to create the oasis.

The inside of the home seamlessly blends hints of color, custom tile patterns and rooms adorned with a playful curation of wallpaper—all while keeping a cohesive feel throughout. “I think it is very important to keep some continuity in a house like this, especially because there is an open floor plan,” Anne says. “All the rooms need to speak to each other, and all the spaces need to flow into each other effortlessly. Tile and wallpaper are two parts of the process that I embrace and love to have fun with.”

From the beginning, Cassidy and Anne collaborated on the design. “Anne and I chose all the colors together,” Cassidy notes.

“Cassidy was wonderful to work with,” Anne adds. “Keeping in mind that we went into lockdown shortly after the project got going, things were intense and a little scary. Cassidy was incredibly thoughtful to me and all the workers. Together, Cassidy and I took our time making most decisions, in the hopes we would not need to make any edits after the project was complete.”

Even Cassidy and Ryan’s daughters played an important role during the design phase. “We let the girls decide what they wanted for their rooms, what colors they liked,” Cassidy says. “We showed them a lot of stuff, and they were specific [with what they wanted]. It’s funny how they gravitated to different colors and patterns.”

Initially the project was scheduled to take 12 months, though no one could have anticipated the delays or the amount of uncertainty that would follow the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown. Supplies were limited, fewer contractors were allowed on-site, and in the end, the project took almost two years.

With a few final touch-ups still needed and nowhere near all their furniture placed in the house due to shipping delays, the McCarthy family made it a point to spend Christmas in their new home—even though that meant sleeping on mattresses laid out on the floor.

Cassidy smiles as she shares this story. It will, no doubt, be a Christmas the family will never forget. And just another reminder that there’s no place like home.

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