The elbow of sand that pushes against the marina channel, straightening as it extends south to present a lunar landscape for the departing jets, is the land that L.A. forgot. The seclusion is so complete, the dunes of Playa del Rey looming like a wall, that foreign volleyball teams train here in secret. Kimberly Britts watches them from her windows, folding back the first-floor glass doors, the view as uncluttered as her interiors.
Britts was pregnant with her and husband Doug Hansen’s first child when they bought the building in 1994. They rented out the first floor and lived on the upper two; by the time Hans was five and brother Ian was on the way, the couple was converting the structure from part-time rental to single-family home. The most dramatic transformation took place beachside, where a steel skeleton tilted to resemble the prow of a ship frames the wide windows. The design is apt: Throughout the day marina-bound sailboats flutter past.
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Kimberly Britts was admiring a friend’s remodel when she got this advice: Start clipping. By the time her own house was finished, Britts had a binder four inches full of magazine pages that had caught her eye. Among her finds: a long, lean light fixture fashioned from strips of ribbon, featured in an ad she had saved years before. Kimberly tracked it down online, then discovered it cheaper at Santa Monica Lighting. She cut out page after page of kitchen backsplashes painted blue—now hers is, too. She was also a sucker for the adjustable plate holders that make storing dishes in drawers a snap—freeing up her cabinets.
Amilcar Hosterhaill/Noteware Architects