Our family is spending the last few weeks of summer at Zuma Beach House, and we really hope it’s one of the last times we can sleep here before construction begins. Because that implies that construction will begin at some point in the near future. But although not nailed, things are definitely happening behind the scenes of this project. Permits have been submitted and we’ve been meeting with our builders to consider interior heights as we make decisions like the configuration of the kitchen cabinets and drawers, or the location of the tub spacers and sink faucet in each bathroom. Our goal is to go ahead, so that once we have the approved plans in hand, we can start building.
So far, I’ve shared our common plot and inspiration for this project. We are creating a serene, minimalist beachfront bungalow, while keeping the farmhouse elements of the 1950s that give the house character. Now, I’m excited to start diving into the practical details of the design and renovation itself, and there’s no better place to start than by guiding you through the new home’s floor plan. on the beach. Ready to see how we’ve arranged it all, and what exactly the added square footage will include? Come in…
Take a look at the existing floor plan…
Here is the breakdown of the current house…
1421 square feet in the main house
The existing 2 bedroom/2 bath home has an undeniable floor plan. This is the only time I see people get lost in a small house like this, because the floor plan makes absolutely no sense. The children’s room connects directly to the living room (separated by a curtain), and the “main” bathroom is separated from the master bedroom by a small alcove that was added to the house at some point.
Problems with the current house
There is no obvious front entrance. Although there is technically a front door, it has been used by exactly no one since we bought the house. When you pull into the driveway, the road leads you down the sidewalk straight to the back door. So no one was sure whether to go around to the front of the house, or straight to the door of our laundry room.
Lack of space. Besides the confusing floor plan, we also generally lacked space. It’s a cozy fit for our family of four, so when family or friends come to stay with us, we’ll explode at the seams. Adam and I don’t have a place to work either (which is a problem when you both work from home), so one of us usually ends up on zoom calls from the bedroom while the other sits. At the kitchen table with the air vents, pray that the kids won’t fight when you’re on an important call.
Closed room. If you’ve seen our Austin home, you know that Adam and I are huge on an open floor plan. We tend to have an open, airy feeling, so a house consisting of small rooms separated from each other makes us feel claustrophobic. We can’t wait to open up this space.
Low ceiling. In my opinion, low ceilings are one of the most concerning aspects of a home because they can be very difficult to change — and often, can lead to a home that feels dark and cramped. So when we were first considering buying this home, making sure we could raise the ceiling was a prerequisite. More on that later.
Kitchen Tucked-Away. For me, the kitchen is the heart and center of a home, so furnishing a small kitchen tucked away in the corner (with equally old granite and cabinets) would be the first thing in my life. any renovation work.
OBJECTIVE for the new house
The front porch is open.
As mentioned above, the existing house lacks a clear entrance and leaves guests confused as to where they should go. In the remodeled layout, we wanted anyone who came to the house to know exactly where to park, with a clear plan of how to get into the house. Did you know that there is an actual name for this topic? Its find the wayand includes principles like creating “well-structured paths” and avoiding “too many navigation choices”. Not sure why I’m so obsessed with this topic, but I find it incredibly fascinating.
Open the floor plan.
For the areas where we live, eat and play together as a family, I like a large space that feels spacious and preferably open to the outdoors. If you keep reading, you’ll find out how we got there with a 1000 square foot addition that’s essentially a large kitchen.
When we considered buying this home, I knew that as an investment, we needed to be able to raise the ceiling. Thankfully, it’s not too complicated here, especially since we keep it a story. We will be building a ceiling vault, which means we are extending the triangular space between where the ceiling is normally located and the top of the roof. This will not only help the rooms feel larger than they really are, but it will also allow more natural light into each space.
While we wanted to keep this relatively modest home, we also know that this is a place we look forward to hosting family and friends for many years to come. By adding a lounge suite and a floor room, we will make room for another 4-5 people to stay with our family in the main house.
Large kitchen for entertaining.
Since the kitchen is my happy place, I naturally want to be able to spend time in it with family and friends. I needed a kitchen large enough to accommodate cooking projects, recipe photo sessions, and lots of people, since most dinner parties end up with people gathering around the island. I knew that, based on the current hidden corner kitchen, this would require a complete re-imagining of the space.
Lots of natural light.
The existing house already has a lot of light, but we know that by raising the ceilings and adding more windows and doors at the back of the house, we can create a more light-filled space. again.
Floor plan version 1
Our architect, Doug Burdge, pretty much nailed the new layout in his first pass. We thought the addition would probably include a master bedroom suite, however Doug has completely reimagined the area of the existing home to include all bedrooms/bathrooms, while adding a 1000 square foot room will become the focal point of the house. He really understood our desire to create this home for entertainment and organization, and to create a truly open floor plan for gatherings.
In this first pass, Doug experimented with an interesting vision of a modern “hacienda-style” entrance, where once people enter the main gate from the driveway, they can detour around front of the house and enter through a large glass sliding door. . However, for us, the plan was missing a few things… namely, a clear front door. We like the concept, but it doesn’t look like it will ultimately benefit everyday life.
Floor plan version 2:
Our second floor plan showcases the new front door and (surprise!) It actually sits on top of what is currently. backside side of the house. We basically turned the entrance upside down so that when you go down the road from the driveway you go down a long tree-lined path and right into the new Great Room.
Another concern we had from the first set of plans was that our Master Bathroom was very small. So in version 2, we’ve expanded the Master Bathroom by stealing a wardrobe from Room 2 (sorry!) We’re adding a built-in cabinet to that room to serve as a wardrobe. It would be nice if there was an actual wardrobe there, but a small main tub isn’t a great option as I wanted this to have an airy and spa-like feel.
We also turned Room 3 into a bunk room to accommodate lots of kids. We added a large floor-to-ceiling corner window in the Grand Room to maximize the ocean views from inside the house. And we got rid of the bar in the Great Room and replaced it with a party/breakfast corner.
One thing this plan still lacks for me is an entrance — I wanted an entrance “the moment” when people walk in the front door, and right now they are looking at the side of a pub. This brings us to…
Beach house floor plan version 3:
Here are the details of the 3rd Floor Plan close to where we ended up…
2500 square feet (including 1000 square feet add-on)
The new home will have 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms (including a new powder bath), plus a lounge and a large room with an open plan kitchen and living area. The dining room will be outside under a covered canopy (yes – the only dining room will be outside! Beauty of Southern California.)
It looks like we’re adding a lot of room and usable space, but in reality, we’re just adding 1000 square feet to the main house. It’s an example of the difference it makes when a floor plan is designed to be smart and efficient, thanks to the talent of our architect Doug Burdge. He was able to transform the existing footprint of the house into our bedroom, bathroom and living room. We could then leave the addition in a large open room that would make the whole house feel larger and invite the indoor-outdoor flow that we knew we wanted for the estate. this product.
Changes in Round 3 include:
- Open the entryway to make room for the console and artwork — we did this by removing the banquette and pocket doors leading to the laundry room.
- Expansion of square footage in the Master Bedroom. We wanted to keep the existing area of the house as much as possible to save money, however we knew that adding a few feet to the Master Bedroom would be a worthy investment and make the room look great. It becomes much more airy and luxurious.
- Transparent vaulted ceilings — we decided that continuing and raising the ceilings in the guest rooms was well worth it. It does add some cost, but for me the high ceilings are a worthy spend.
And then there’s the guest house.
We haven’t even talked about the guesthouse yet! It’s a one-room apartment above the garage, with a quaint kitchenette and fridge sharing space with the bed. The downside is that you have to climb a creepy carpeted staircase from the garage to get in. Opposite? It had beautiful lighting and sweeping views of Zuma Beach from every window. We will keep the existing stamp, but it will be creative to turn it into a one bedroom apartment with boutique hotel feel. The motel project deserves a separate post, so stay tuned to see how we’re working on it.