mid-century modern

Photography courtesy of  © Lori Brookes

Hall Residence, Del Mar • Featured in Sunset Magazine, Spring 2011

In the early 1970s with their first child on the way, Peter & Donna Hall bought a plot of hillside land in Del Mar and with the help of architect Bruce Damman, built a Mid-Century Revival home. Now having lived in their home for more than 30 years and experiencing the life change that comes with retirement and having grandchildren, the Halls were ready to transform their home into “a peaceful retreat—a Shangri-La,” as Peter calls it.

“We probably weren’t the easiest clients to work with—we knew we wanted to preserve our home’s architectural integrity, but we also had so many different ideas and directions for how to make it fresh and functional,” recalls Peter. “Needless to say, it was an emotional and complex process, and through it all, Kendra was able to provide a strong vision that was beyond what we thought was possible.”

With Bruce Damman’s original vision and philosophy in mind, Kendra began by working in collaboration with historic preservationist and architect John Eisenhart to design an impressive new approach to the home with large concrete pads. Kendra’s choice of plant material surrounding the escalating concrete pads is more contemporary in style, and includes layers of lime-green Scotch Moss on the hillside contrasting with dark burgundy foliage. The strong lines of the tall rectangular contemporary planters provide a vertical balance to the horizontal line of the home, while the concrete pads seamlessly float amidst the soft green meadow.

Upon entering their home, one gazes upon the now serene, zen-like outdoor courtyard lined with soft Mexican Weeping Bambo in tall slate planters. “Our courtyard was somewhat utilitarian—it had the grill, the garage and a concrete patio. Now it’s my favorite place in the mornings—my tranquil ‘zen garden’ where I relax in the morning sun and sip my coffee,” Peter smiles. “And it’s also a special place for playing with the grandkids.”

The back deck and pool area were transformed with modern yet natural elements. The new multi-level wood deck was installed with inset tall modern planters, with Equisetum (Horse Tail), accentuating the vertical lines of the house. Vibrant blue pots spilling over with lush succulents were placed along the steps . The grill was relocated from the courtyard to a more social-friendly place on the edge of the back deck. A sunken concrete firepit was installed on the outer boundary of the pool to add ambiance and warmth at night. “Our new outdoor spaces have changed how we host family and friends. When we have guests it’s just natural to spill out onto the deck to enjoy the ocean view and the many fun features around the pool area,” observes Donna. “And, in the evening, the new lighting makes the area and occasion feel special.”

“The yard facilitates the total enjoyment of our retirement. Every day feels like Saturday,” muses Peter. “And as far as the process, there isn’t a single thing I would do differently, because it’s exceeded our hopes and expectations!”