This is a day I’ve kept under wraps for a while, and lordy it took its sweet time getting here… but I’m psyched to FINALLY reveal our little Beach House!
Yes, the Knobloch clan bought a little weekend place, and we’ve been spending as many weekends as possible there as a family ever since. It all began last summer, I happened upon a teeny home for sale near the beach in Malibu. It was in a little community high on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean, with a community clubhouse, pool, tennis court and even a park for Marty to run around in. The house itself backs onto a quiet ravene, and it’s a 2 minute ride down to the sand.
Malibu is only about an hour away from where we live, but it couldn’t feel farther from home: The temperature is cooler, the air is cleaner, and without the pressures of home (running errands, carpool, paying bills, home repairs… you know the drill), we can have fun, be out in nature, eat great food, and truly connect with one another at the end of a busy week. Oh, and somehow we all sleep better there too (except for Marty, who is up at 6:00a sharp for breakfast no matter where he sleeps… sigh).
When we bought it, it had some great things going for it (vaulted ceiling, white paneling, and those oak floors!) but this little two-bedroom gem definitely needed lots of help becoming a place that could sleep the four of us, and host all our friends for a BBQ or a movie night.
This might be a good time to remind you that I am NOT a decorator! Real talk: As much as I love interior design, it was a tough process for me, but a labor of love. I follow some great interior designers and they make it look so easy! I stressed over every decision (and best believe I made some mistakes!), but I wanted every surface, every piece of art, every towel, and every mug, to make everyone feel at home, relaxed… oh, and have a bit of that coastal cool vibe. I took to Pinterest immediately and started sketching out a plan.
Early on, I made some decisions about what technology I’d put in the house, and what technology would not be welcome. Yes, I’m a tech blogger, but that’s my work life. I didn’t want our weekend place to be overly “smart” and brimming with gadgets. That said, I know which technology makes life easier, and could add to the wellness we’d experience there. Only the tech that would help us all slow down, unplug, and restore would be allowed through the front door. In other words, I wanted to take a more intentional, minimal approach to technology here.
More on that later… first, let’s look around!
I call it Coastal Cozy: Lots of bright whites, wood tones, natural and woven materials, and soft places to land after long days at the beach. Textured towels, blankets, linens and cozy blankets (it gets cold on the coast, I swear!). Lots of invitations to sit outside, and lots of nature brought inside. Oh, and friendly, unfussy spaces for teenagers and doggies to do their thing, with lots of places to sleep and hang out.
Oh, and I am now officially obsessed with ceramics and pottery from local artists I have come to adore (my husband has respectfully asked me to stop buying bowls and mugs because, according to him, “we have them all”).
Once the look of the place was established, it was time to focus on the feel: My husband and I have busy schedules, and my kids’ schedules make ours look tame. Everyone is looking for ways to UNWIND and DISCONNECT on the weekend. That meant restricting the amount of media we’d be consuming, improving our air quality and sleep, using non-toxic materials, and finding therapeutic ways to RE-LAX and CONNECT with one another.
Throwing shade: We’re lucky to have a lot of windows on the front of the house— they let a ton of light in. But opening and closing all those blinds was a pain, since there are four to do at a time, and they’re heavy. So I was looking for a cordless, “smart” blind solution that could fade into the background and I found the perfect solution with Somfy. The natural linen I chose ended up being perfect: it adds a lovely texture without standing out too much, blocks out the glare when we want to watch a movie, and gives us privacy from the street at night. Plus, you can operate them by remote or by app (or by voice!): One tap lowers or raises them all, and I can sit back and relax. Oh, and bonus: I can even schedule one blind to open when I’m home during the week so the tree can get some light!
Hiding in plain sight: Can you figure out where the TV is? It’s hiding in my gallery wall! It’s a Samsung Frame, and currently has a gorgeous black and white photos of Annie on it. It was the perfect TV for this space, since I really didn’t want a big black box on the wall beckoning people to watch it, but wanted to be able to do an occasional movie night. The TV is wrapped in an oak frame and blends into the rest of the art until you want to watch it, and lies flat against the wall, just like a picture. Here’s a close-up:
Breathing deep: I can’t tell you how much we use this diffuser from Vitruvi on the weekend! I don’t know why I never find myself using one during the busy week (when I need it most!) but on the weekends, I fill it with all kinds of delicious scents— current favorite is eucalyptus, but the Vitruvi Pacific blend is also on heavy rotation.
Marty’s favorite spot: This was one of my first projects for the house and I am so happy with how it turned out! Since we only have two bedrooms, one kid has to sleep in the main space… I wanted it to be just as comfortable as any other bed in the house and also be a great place to crash during the day. So I had a daybed custom-made in white oaks to house a super-cushy non-toxic memory foam mattress from Zenhaven. The back cushions and mattress cover were made to look just like a sofa, but at night you can put sheets on it and sleep well. Also, the house is outfitted with Nest Protect smoke and CO2 detectors which blend in nicely on the white walls… we have those at home and they provide so much peace of mind that we had to put them in here too.
Tap for fresh air: The skylight above my head in the kitchen is one of two in the house by Velux Active, and they’re very smart. Not only can you operate them by app, but they can monitor the air quality, temperature and humidity in your home and open and close to help you cool off, or circulate the air without you having to do anything. This one has a shade built in that you can close which cuts back on glare but still lets light in. (The one in the bedroom has a black out blind which helps with sleeping in!)
This is our master bedroom, and home to the second Velux Active skylight. Love the blackout blind on this one— we can tap our phones and have total darkness, which is great for sleeping in on sundays. But the most fantastic thing about it is what ISN’T in it… a television. My husband is a bit of a TV junkie, but I put my foot down here, and won the battle! Now when we enter this room the only thing we can do is talk, read, sleep and… other things that you do in bedrooms. The sheets are percale from Parachute and are soooo crisp and cool, and the non-toxic memory foam mattress is from Zenhaven… which is a pretty good way to describe this room.
Hot Stuff: DREAMS COME TRUE. I put an infrared sauna in the (very small) backyard of our little beach place and it is THE destination before bed, along with any other time of day I can steal away for a half hour or so. This Infrared sauna from Clearlight has full spectrum infrared technology, which is said to help with everything from inflammation to better skin, better blood flow, better immunity, and better lymphatic drainage. Yes please on all of that. Not to mention it helps me sleep so much better.
Yes, this is a big ticket item that not everyone can swing, but it has made the biggest difference in my health these past few months. Not to mention that it’s a great isolation chamber to just have a few moments alone, or have some one-on-one time with either my husband or my kids to just chat quietly and be still. So glad I went for it here: it’s truly like having a spa at home (more on this in the coming weeks!)
Indoor and outdoor cameras from Nest help us keep tabs on the place when we’re away, but honestly I hung them out back so that when I’m in the city, I can see the beautiful ravene behind our house and try to sniff the sea air through my phone. So far, I haven’t quite been able to do that, but the motion sensors have caught a bunny or two hopping around, and it always makes me smile.
Well, there it is! I hope you love it… there will be LOTS more about the products we used and decisions we made in the coming weeks. Hope it inspires you to create a wellness on your weekends!
All photos by Hannah Garvin Photography