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Mara Green's Elegant Oceanfront Design: A Modern Beach Home Masterpiece | ICONIC LIFE

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Mara Green’s Elegant Oceanfront Design: A Modern Beach Home Masterpiece

Photography courtesy of Lauren Taylor

Outside of Home in Manhattan Beach
Discover this luxurious seaside home in Manhattan Beach.

AKelly Wearstler surfboard commands attention in the corner of a living room with views of the Pacific Ocean and “The Strand”. Made of richly patterned Russian birch plywood, the board captures the beach vibe and a sense of elegance—it’s at once “hang loose” and museum-quality art. The piece effectively summarizes Phoenix-based interior designer Mara Green‘s vision for this three-level ocean-side home—balancing a casual lifestyle with elevated design.

Green came into the project when her Arizona-based clients—a couple with two children—purchased the home as a year-round beachside getaway they could enjoy with family and friends. “My husband grew up in Newport Beach,” explains the wife. “And we have a lot of friends in this area. Manhattan Beach is a hidden gem. It’s a great community.”

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The 4,000-square-foot home had recently undergone a down-to-the-studs renovation. Built by Steve Larkin and designed by Jon Starr, the outdated house was brought back to life with a fresh take on the modern beach home in Manhattan Beach. “This was a well-done project,” says Green of the house. “That’s what attracted my clients. It’s a modern farmhouse style, which is a bit different for the beach.” 

Green and her team made several trips to Manhattan Beach to soak up the local color before starting the design process. For the interior, Green’s clients wanted a sophisticated look, not rustic, but a setting where sandy feet, wet bathing suits, and gaggles of beach cruisers were not out of place.

“We are big entertainers," says the wife. "We love having people over. We wanted this to be a place where adults and kids could come spend a day with us on the beach, grilling, playing games and enjoying everyone's company."

Working within a backdrop of warm wood flooring, exposed, reclaimed beams, pale cabinetry and black steel-framed windows, Green suggested a color palette of neutral hues mixed with watery blues and greens to reflect the ocean setting. She also meticulously chose furnishings to meet the owners’ lifestyle needs and the home’s narrow footprint. “Our challenge was to accommodate the necessities and to amplify the views,” Green explains.

The main level of this home in Manhattan beach includes the living and dining areas, as well as the kitchen and breakfast nook, Green set the tone for the interiors with a show-stopping dining table with a walnut base angled to emulate waves, surrounded by a gathering of light-wood, Danish modern-style chairs.

Living room in home in Manhattan Beach

In the adjacent living room, where a whitewashed brick fireplace warms the space, a custom sectional in a durable textured velvet was measured to fit the husband’s height. The interior designer curated a curving, two-tone leather banquette for the breakfast nook to capture beach views and a pier in the distance.

Upstairs, the primary bedroom has spot-on views of the beach, thanks to walls of windows that open onto an airy balcony. The room owes its serene ambiance to a ribbed suede headboard, silky linens, and bleached white oak nightstands. Green added polish with a crystal Ochre chandelier. “If you’re on the beach at night, you can look up and see it glowing,” she notes.

Bedroom in home in Manhattan beach

In one corner of this Manhattan Beach home, the primary suite’s sitting room includes a driftwood coffee table, a curvaceous sofa and a pair of Holly Hunt armchairs, which swivel to catch glimpses of the blue skies and serene waves. Green layered hand-woven area rugs in deep shades of blue and turquoise in the primary bath, adding a shock of color to the marble-clad setting. Two more bedrooms and an office—anchored by a custom walnut and steel desk—are also on the upper floor.

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The lower level of the house opens directly onto the beach, with room for a gathering space, a small kitchen, and a bar—perfect for parties. “We played off the vintage turquoise Smeg refrigerator here,” says Green. “We also added some fun, retro touches, like a portable record player, neon lights and a polar bear side table.” Down a white shiplap-clad hallway, two guest suites await.

Except for a few boxes of stemware and crystal brought from Arizona, all the furnishings for this home in Manhattan Beach were new and chosen for the setting, as this was a turnkey project. Green’s eye for appropriateness also extended to the art selected for the home, which included several beach abstractions painted by local artists. Green and the owners also commissioned Scottsdale, Ariz., artist Niki Woehler to create several paintings for the home inspired by nature, landscapes and mineral textures.

Now that the interior is complete, the owners have spent many happy days enjoying the home and the beach and watching the sun slip into the ocean from their balconies and patio. 

Outdoor of home in manhattan beach

"The overall result was a cohesive design rooted in its surroundings, yet unique to this beach community," Green remarks. "This home stands apart from the rest."

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