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Beachy redo is a family affair

Sleek and customized, a $600,000 ground-up remodel transforms a tiny South Bay ocean-view lot.

January 13, 2008|Kathy Price-Robinson | Special to The Times

The three bedrooms and two bathrooms are on the second floor. Because the girls are young, and Nebolon knew they enjoyed bunking together, he left out the wall between their two rooms to create one large room. But each half has an entry door, closet, window and independent heating vents should the rooms be divided in the future.

The top floor contains the kitchen, dining room, living room, guest bathroom and outdoor deck with an aluminum trellis cantilevered off the building to create post-free views of the sea.

Because the lot is too small for much outdoor space, the deck satisfies the city's requirement for that. Although the house reaches the 30-foot maximum height allowed, Nebolon also managed to design another small roof deck and remain within the limit.

The living area is bright and open, with views down a long boulevard to the Catholic church where Joe was baptized as a baby and where the couple was married. From the deck on the other side of the house, they can see the volleyball courts on the beach. Narrow "slot windows" set throughout the house provide light and unexpected views.

To set off the home's fun yet sophisticated architecture, Barbara decorated the living areas by mixing an expensive Italian leather sofa with a 1950s teak dining set and credenza she got on EBay.

After living in the house for a year, Barbara is grateful her architect already knew so much about her family going into the project.

As a result, she said, the house "is perfectly designed for us."

Contact Kathy Price-Robinson at To have your remodel considered for Pardon Our Dust, send before and after images and a description of the project to Real Estate Editor, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012.



Toward a smaller carbon footprint

Here are some green building aspects of the Gunnings' Hermosa Beach house:

Durable and noncombustible siding materials, which are considered green because they won't have to be replaced in five years.

Natural gas tankless water heater for on-demand hot water. A tankless system is green because there's no heating and reheating of gallons of standing water every day. A hydronic system, where hot water runs through pipes, is used to heat the house (in three zones).

High-efficiency kitchen appliances and washer-dryer unit.

All building insulation is recycled cotton.

Pre-wired for future rooftop-mounted photovoltaic cells.

Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint throughout.

Recycled wood products.

Hardwood flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Foil-backed plywood to reduce radiant heat gain.

The stairwell acts as a natural cooling chimney with a thermostatically operated skylight at the top; by opening windows and using Dutch doors, the family can cool the house on warm days.

All windows are double-glazed, reducing heat gain.

Use of an aluminum trellis to reduce heat in primary rooms.

Water-saving toilets.

-- Kathy Price-Robinson

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