Long before his software business took him east and then across the pond to England, John Devine had resided in Hermosa Beach. Remembering its friendliness, he brought wife Susanne and children Wesley, Lauren, and Channing to the South Bay enclave on their return stateside. They found a larger-than-average property in 2002, but the house was an unremarkable stucco rectangle that they razed. With room to spare, Susanne dreamed of an interior courtyard; around the open space a modern home took shape, wrapped in wood and edged with bronze and copper.
The best part, they say, is still the neighborliness of the owners along the Strand, although there’s no end to the stream of strangers on the public pathway. In their sunken outdoor entertaining area, a screen of horsetail hides them from the passersby above. Inside, French-made motorized shades offer privacy and only a minor subtraction of light and view. For the floors, walls, and furniture, Susanne turned all her skills from London’s KLC School of Design to blending elements—gold with beige, onyx with marble—that would speak of the nature outside. “We go on vacations, but then we get back and think, ‘This is like a living spa,’ ” she says.
John’s favorite seasons are spring and fall, when the crowds are smaller and the weather has moments of temperament. In spring the clouds drop their shadows on the sand or hover like mountains on the ocean. And autumn? That’s when everything glows as if illuminated from within, when a cigar enjoyed by John on the balcony isn’t the only light winking.
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A Brush With Nature
Every 18 months a crew arrives at the Devine home, brushes in hand, to replenish the wood’s luster. The mahogany is sanded to remove salt and grit, then resealed with a UV-protective coating from Sikkens, the 18th-century Dutch company that pioneered wood care in Europe. The process takes days but can’t be forgone when the Paci?c is parked in your backyard.The fabrics on the outdoor furniture are replaced periodically as well. Susanne favors the Perennials collection at David Sutherland and is a convert to new materials from Trina Turk. She likes that they don’t fade easily in the sun and that soap and water are enough for cleanup. She’s even used the outdoor lines on a job indoors, covering the benches and ottomans at a Manhattan Beach dress shop with them.
Grant Kirkpatrick and Alex Anamos/KAA Designs