When Susie Mitchell and her husband, Mitch, purchased a 1937 home in Laguna Beach, California, they knew they only had to look outside for their interior inspiration. “I wanted to achieve a coastal Maine look and keep the aesthetic crisp and clean,” Susie says.
The initial renovations were small, but exhausting. After taking some time off to recover physically and financially from their kitchen remodel, Susie and Mitch decided to undertake the daunting task of refurbishing the master bedroom and creating a downstairs guest bedroom. When they bought the house in 1998, the master bedroom was detached from the main structure. The previous owners situated it in a side cottage across the garden, which was often used as a rental, complete with a kitchenette. In order to unite the space with the rest of the house, they created an enclosed entryway and connected it to the living room. The kitchenette was turned into an expansive walk-in closet. When the structural renovations were done, Susie decorated her new master bedroom with contrasting colors and textures—a dark-wood four-poster bed with white gathered drapes, white paneled walls and window frames with bamboo shutters and a brown-and-cream zebra print rug.
During this remodel phase, they also created a downstairs guest bedroom. “I love the guest room because it’s curved to mimic the shape of a ship,” Susie says. She also replaced all the original light wood flooring with dark wood. “I actually prefer light wood, but the original floor was old and unstable. In the end, I think dark works better,” she says. She decorated the guest bedroom with vintage finds, including a bamboo bed, chair and navy uniform. In total, the renovations took about a year to complete.
Susie wanted the ocean views as the focal point of the bedrooms, thus she kept the interior colors simple to reflect the waves and sand. The walls and furniture are white, and shades of indigo serve as an accent color. Susie also added punches of zebra print because the fabric was bold and durable. With nine young grandchildren, she felt that it was important to keep her home carefree, with nothing too breakable or dear.
And the best place to soak in the Pacific view is on the rooftop terrace above the guest bedroom. Because of its curved shape, the terrace provides a large area for easy entertaining. “There are 17 of us total when all of our children and grandchildren come over, so there’s plenty of room for everyone,” Susie says. There are heat lamps as well so tht atguests can enjoy the ocean view even in the winter without freezing in the crisp ocean air.
By Regan-Elyse Elder
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel