When Stephanie and Dewey Nicks planned a house in the small community of Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara, California, it was meant as a weekend retreat within driving distance of their Beverly Hills home. But while the house was being built, they began to worry theyâ€™d never get to fully enjoy it, as the familyâ€™s weekends became consumed by the various activities of their twins, George and Madeleine, in L.A. â€śThen we got the idea to move to Carpinteria full time,â€ť Dewey says. â€śThe next thing we knew, weâ€™d enrolled the kids in school there.â€ť Though their new home was two thirds the size of their previous place, they found downsizing a blessing. â€śwe coexist like we never did before,â€ť Dewey says, â€śand our family is closer than ever.â€ť
Since moving into their California beach house, Dewey and Stephanie Nicks and their children, Madeleine and George, spend nearly every weekend by the water.
The family use built-in bookshelves throughout the house to display their favorite treasures. Here, those include maquettes by Roy McMakin of their former home, a sculpture by Futao Fujii, a Thorens turntable, and a portrait of Deweyâ€™s mom in the 1970s painted by his father.
Madeleine and a friend dance in front of the home. Architect Barbara Bestor went with a flat roof as an homage to the familyâ€™s mid-century modern former home in Bel Air -- and to adhere to community regulations. The garden is filled with lavender, native grasses, and herb and vegetable beds.
The couple realized, while visiting the house on a cold day, that they needed a fireplace. Bestor, however, had already designed a built-in sofa. She compromised by shortening the sofa and carving out the fireplace next to it. â€śWe make a fire on chilly mornings or read there late at night,â€ť Stephanie says. â€śItâ€™s one of our favorite spots in the house.â€ť
Friend and interior designer Paul Fortune encouraged the Nickses to buy these vintage midcentury chairs for the dining room, even though the pale suede seats made them nervous. â€śHe told us to look at any stains that happened as patina,â€ť Stephanie says. The couple picked up the brass candlesticks for a song at a thrift shop in Santa Barbara.
The couple weighed in heavily on the kitchen design, from the recycling cabinet to the wood-trimmed Formica countertops. â€śBarbara was surprised we wanted Formica, but we like it because itâ€™s indestructible,â€ť Stephanie says. The Thos. Moser stools are so comfortable that â€śyou can sit on them forever,â€ť Dewey says.
Black-and-white photographs hang in the hallway, where sunlight streams in from above (the skylights also open to provide ventilation, eliminating the need for air-conditioning). Throughout the house, Bestor used marine-grade plywood, which creates a modern, light, and beachy look.
Dewey pulling from his whittled-down book collection in the TV room. â€śWe didnâ€™t get rid of any books when we moved, but we have a huge storage unit filled with them,â€ť he says. What they keep here are those that inspire them most. They bought the 1920s Moroccan carpet in Beverly Hills.
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