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Minimalist waterfront home maximizes indoor-outdoor living in Long Beach

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This minimalist waterfront home was designed by Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, located in Belmont Shore, a neighborhood in Long Beach, California. The home occupies a narrow infill site nestled along a navigable lagoon that leads to the Pacific Ocean, which is barely visible. 

Occupying a narrow infill site, this home fronts the street to the east with solidity, but is conversely open and transparent to the west, taking advantage of waterfront views of a deep water lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. The house is organized around a central courtyard containing a swimming pool, securely contained on four sides but open to the sky above.

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What We Love: This minimalist waterfront home was designed to offer complete privacy from the street while completely opening up to the water. Maximized views on the waterside part of this home offers relaxed living with a fabulous indoor-outdoor connection. Minimal details and furnishings help to focus on the views while also providing a low-maintenance lifestyle for this home’s inhabitants.

Tell Us: What overall details of this home do you find most interesting and why in the Comments below, we love reading your feedback!

Note: Be sure to have a look below for the “Related” tags for more inspiring home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein Architects.

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Above: On the exterior facade, the material palette encompasses: integrally tinted stucco, clear western cedar, and some structural steel members that are exposed. The dwelling is located on a deep and narrow property, fronting a busy residential street characterized by minimal setbacks and narrow gaps between each house.

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Above: The structure is a hybrid of seismic-resistant steel frame with wood framing infill. Solar panels are arrayed on the flat roof to provide for a portion of the electrical needs (frequently enabling the owner to sell back unused electricity to the local power company).

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The objective of this project was to create a dwelling with the utmost privacy and security from the street and sides, while capitalizing on the ocean breezes and nautical views to the west.

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The dwelling boasts a living/dining/kitchen space, three bedrooms with bathrooms, a study, two-car garage, swimming pool, and outdoor porches.

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Above: Responding to the mild climate, interior spaces open to the outdoors for most of the year. Walls of sliding glass open to unite the interior space with the courtyard, terraces along the waterfront, as well as into the pool courtyard, capturing fresh breezes throughout for natural ventilation, and views of sailboats and the sea beyond.

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Above: On the interior, the material palette consists of wenge wood flooring, sheetrock, stucco, and wenge paneled walls. This palette of mainly natural and textured materials offers a warm counterpoint to the geometrical abstraction of the forms.

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Above: The private zones are situated on the upper level, leaving the public zones to encircle the pool on the main level, maximizing the opportunity for open space.

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Above: In the resulting composition, the spaces of the dwelling on both levels wrap around a swimming pool on all three sides (east, north, and west).

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Above: A wall of translucent panels along the south side of the long, narrow pool courtyard provides privacy while still allowing natural light to flood the interiors. Houses nestled along the street strive to maximize their waterfront property, enjoying proximity to private docks along the lagoon, which is generally busy with recreational boat traffic.

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Above: At night, the translucent wall is backlit, providing diffused light to the courtyard. 

Photos: Phillip Spears Photographer

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1 month ago

this house doesn’t look “minimalist” to me. with all of the wood in the interior, i am surprised that this house was not described as having “amazing warmth” (something that i actually think that this house has). in my view, the interior of this house looks really nice. as a practical matter, i think that the use of wengé was a big mistake. while i am on the topic of practicality, while “courtyard” houses can look really good in photos, i often wonder how practical they are as places in which people actually live.