Beautiful views of Southern California, soft breezes, and warm sunshine are all reasons to create an open-plan home. Kaitlin Olson was not the only one with ulterior motives. She laughs and says, “I need to keep a watch on my children.” “Forever.”
Rob McElhinney is her husband and they have two sons, Axel (and Leo) who are growing up quicker than the Paddy’s Pub drinks. Kaitlin explains, “We wanted to create spaces for our boys and their friends when we built this house.”
To bring their vision to reality, the couple hired Kishani Perera, a designer, and Steve Giannetti as an architect.
Giannetti states, “It was important that the landscape part the house.” Giannetti did not design a single house but a series of structures that flow through the outdoor spaces.
The design team helped create wood siding that gives exteriors a rustic, warm feel. Perera said that the siding looked old and was too worn. He brought in a decorative painter who would go over each board of siding to give it a distressed look. Perera states that each board is unique. It’s just one example of the love and thought that went into this home.
Giannetti was able to make walls disappear with the help long steel beams. The home’s structural steel was left exposed to give it a modern industrial look. The architect said, “It’s fascinating to see how things actually are built.” You could see the craftsmanship in old farmhouses. It is authentic and gives you a sense of belonging. It’s solid and will stay.
Perera’s interior design ensures that no one wants to leave. It’s rustic with warm woods and industrial touches. She describes it as rustic, but with a bit of a farm feel that makes it inviting. It’s the perfect home for young boys and their dogs.
Perera’s blend of old and modern, rustic and refined and smooth and nubby, is apparent from the moment you step into the living room. She says that the house feels like it has been lived in, even though it is a new construction. The home’s wing chairs have a subtle teal color that flows through it, seamlessly blending with celestial blues which pour through seemingly large-as-the sky door openings. The complementary orange shade that Ottomans wear is a sunbaked orange, which mirrors the warmth from the brick fireplace.
The dining room features texture stars and a collection of shapes. Perera says that Kaitlin desired mismatched chairs.
“This image of Friends flew in my brain. Kaitlin was not encouraging the re-creation or resemblance of the discordant chairs that surrounded Monica’s kitchen table during 1990s sitcom country. Perera and Kaitlin’s picks are carefully curated. They gather around a vintage wooden-and-steel dining table like friends enjoying a meal. People of different heights, shapes and styles are able to come together through neutral upholstery. This encourages conversation that lasts well past dessert.
Perera also combined a mix of metal-mesh and glass pendants to create a unique light fixture. “It makes it eclectic and fun, just as Rob and Kaitlin,” Perera says. It’s true to their personalities.
Kaitlin’s favorite place for daily dining is the kitchen. Natural-wood islands are paired with white-painted Shaker cabinets. This space is minimalistic but still exudes interest. Perera used copper fixtures from Newport Brass to mesh with the orange tones in the furnishings, accents, and rugs throughout the house to warm up neutral interiors.
Kaitlin states, “The kitchen is my heart, because, as in all other homes in the world,” “Cooking dinner is my favorite part of the day while the boys do their homework at the counter,” Kaitlin says.
Perera’s breakfast room features a metal-base table. This is one of Big Daddy’s treasures from Big Daddy’s Antiques. It pays tribute to the steel used for the home’s exposed structural beams.
The family room switches on after-dinner TV and is dressed in grays to allow nature to shine through the glass wall. It opens onto a teak deck with bucolic views. The built-in, which is 20 feet tall, houses a TV, books and other mementos, while the sofa seats the entire family for movie night.
A second patio extends out from the living room and invites friends and family to relax in areas that have a common DNA but different personalities. A variety of comfortable seats combine vintage and industrial pieces. Rob prefers a rattan rocker that has sleek modern lines. Kishani laughs when Rob said to him, “I want an old man rocking chair so that I can sit and look out at the yard.” “I asked, “Can it be an old-looking rocking chair for an old-man?” It is. Rob has made it his haven, with his office in a cottage that doubles up as their guesthouse.
Perera says that Rob is originally from Pennsylvania and wanted his office to feel like a Pennsylvania log cabin. The rustic wood paneling was used by the same decorative painters that created the exterior of the home to capture this vibe. The home’s masculine feel is further enhanced by a tufted leather sofa, a coffee table with industrial design and one of the warm antique rugs Perera used throughout. Hollywood headaches melt away among the tranquil views and beauty of nature.
Perera states that “Rob and Kaitlin’s home has my favorite feature: its fantastic indoor-outdoor feeling.” This home is more like a dream than any other house I have ever seen. It’s like being outside all day. It’s a dream come true.