The Unexpected Revealed
As the Palos Verdes Home Tour celebrates 30 years, three featured homes uncover design diversity on the Peninsula.
Walking into a person’s home for the first time is like walking through a stylized narrative of their life. “My house is a story,” explains Sandra Caryl. “It’s a reflection of who we are.”
As owner of one of the properties featured in this year’s Palos Verdes Home Tour (their 30th!), Sandra has certainly created a space worth seeing. Transforming the property she purchased into the home she loves today, however, was not an easy endeavor.
“We bought the house online; we literally had never seen it,” she notes. “It was awful. It was totally different and run-down—I walked in the front door and cried.”
But after the initial shock wore off, Sandra got to work. “I tore five walls out, every bathroom, the kitchen and all the carpet,” she says. With an incredible amount of ingenuity and patience, she turned a nearly 1,800-square-foot disaster into a 2,000+-square-foot, urban-inspired abode with an abundance of art, period pieces and personalized design that hold your attention and guide you through the space.
“It all started with our Shepard Fairey collection,” Sandra points out. Fairey, who began his artistic career as a street artist, is perhaps most widely known for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster.
The walls in the main living space are painted a high-gloss red to complement the Harley Davidson Aermacchi displayed in the entryway. “It’s a handmade bike from 1972,” Sandra notes. “I tried to match the color, and then finally I just mixed my own red.”
With splashes of bold pigments juxtaposed with ornate, antique pieces, mid-century modern furniture, family heirlooms and years of acquired artwork, Sandra’s home manages to merge the feel of a gallery with the functionality needed for her family of three. “I’m really practical and OCD; I love being a hands-on mom with the kids running amuck, hence the concrete floor,” she says. “But at the same time, I love my pretty things.”
With four floors—including a hideaway on the garage level, which Sandra calls a “New York-style tree house” designed for her 7-year-old son, Max, and a fourth-level office/storage space with ladder access from the master bedroom—every inch of the home is utilized. “It’s a fun house,” she says. “I’m never moving.”
Of course not every house requires a complete overhaul. In fact it was the original state of Ann Taylor’s 1947, Spanish-style home that drew her to purchase the property. “I just liked the bones of it,” she says. “I guess I could see what it could be.”
The home has had its share of renovations, including a second-level addition, as well as Ann’s remodel of the bathrooms and kitchen. There were also a number of design elements incorporated in the remodel, including arched doorways, refinished woodworking and pops of colored tile—only adding to the existing charm of the home.
High vaulted ceilings add a touch of formality to the otherwise intimate feel of the space. “I like the smaller rooms,” says Ann. “It’s cozier.”
French doors line the house for easy access and visibility to a quaint outdoor patio, with pathways leading through the garden to the guesthouse. “That’s the kids’ hangout area,” she points out.
The floors are the original hardwood—dark and rich—with tile accents on the stairs headed to the second level. The master bath boasts a gorgeous claw-foot tub and is drenched in sunlight.
The master bedroom, also flooded with light, has one of the home’s three fireplaces and a private deck overlooking the patio. Also on the second level is a library converted into an extra bedroom lined with built-in bookshelves and an additional private deck.
With two floors, three bedrooms and four bathrooms to play with, Ann found she greatly enjoyed the remodeling process. Helping her bring her vision to life were the folks at Lenders Construction.
“It was really fun to do,” she says. “I loved working with the contractors too; they were such a nice group of people.”
For Karen Mabli, cofounder of Peninsula Homes Group, it wasn’t a house that caught her attention; it was a location. “There was an existing home here,” explains Karen. “We purchased the home and tore it down completely.”
Well, almost completely. There’s one small trace of the original property resting in what is now Karen’s home office. “The only thing we kept from the old house was this fireplace,” she explains, “because you can’t replace wood-burning fireplaces in the state of California.”
With expansive views of the Palos Verdes Golf Club from every massive window and glass door lining the front of the residence, it’s clear to see what drew Karen to the location. But perhaps even more stunning is the view from the entryway looking in.
The main living space—open and airy with its dramatically high vaulted ceilings—opens to a large outdoor space with a glass tile-lined pool and three water features at the center.
Ideal for entertaining, the great room boasts ample seating with a sunken lounge and bar area equipped with pullout refrigerator drawers and a wine cabinet.
Off the great room—but not at all detached from it—are the kitchen and dining areas. “We didn’t want a formal dining room because nobody uses them any more,” Karen notes. Hanging above the large, circular dining table is a custom-made, handblown glass fixture from John Pomp Studios.
The kitchen is a dream for those who love to cook but hate the mess. “This is a completely organized kitchen, because I cook a lot,” Karen says. With a panel-ready refrigerator and subzero freezer, three ovens, refrigerated drawers and an induction cooktop, Karen has everything she could ever need—and right at her fingertips.
To map it out, Karen took the space her architect, Jeffrey Dahl, allocated and designed it the way she wanted it. “If we were building for a client, we would do the same thing,” Karen explains. “I would sit down with them and build their kitchen based on what they want.”
Functionality aside, the kitchen is gorgeous with light, Italian quartzite on the island, countertops and backsplash with views of the golf greens. Wanting each of the three bedrooms in the 4,100+-square-foot home to have visibility and access to the pool, outdoor kitchen and fire pits, Karen and her husband designed the home in a U shape.
Karen and her business partner, Tom Frederiksen, “built the home and collaborated on the finish details.” Outside, carefully positioned lighting creates an ethereal ambience that translates well into quiet evenings with the family or dinner alfresco with friends.
Each one of these homes is incredibly unique, making this year’s tour an experience not to miss.
The Palos Verdes Home Tour will take place April 8–9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For tickets and information, visit pvhomestour.org.