The owners of this home and their adult kids are all avid surfers. When they fell in love with the sport they fell hard, and decided that they needed a weekend home close to their favorite surfing spot — Pleasure Point.

By adding classic beachfront details to a more modern frame, Bay Area architect Noel Cross designed a home that’s a natural fit for the quirky neighborhood in Santa Cruz, Calif. Pleasure Point got its name from its rather scandalous history as a Red Light District during Prohibition. In the 1960s, Pleasure Point became better known for its waves, and it’s still a surfer’s mecca today.

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Pleasure Point 1: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


Cross paid tribute to the local vernacular by staying in line with the scale and simple materials of the beach cottages and bungalows surrounding this home. Board and batten, cedar shiplap, and clapboard on the exterior help contribute to this modern beachfront look.

Landscape architect Christopher Yates used a combination of low-maintenance coastal plants for the front yard. One challenge was containing the horsetail grass, which can become a problem if not held back. In the end, Yates and his team encased the entire planting area in a concrete basin.

“I love the towers,” Cross says. “They’re meant to evoke the lifeguard towers you see so often on California beaches.” Each tower is rotated 5 degrees for the best views.


Pleasure Point 2: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


The clients wanted a terrace with a fire pit that would generate enough heat to make it comfortable even on the foggiest Santa Cruz nights. One of the owners solved this problem himself by installing two gas lines and building a tall vertical gas manifold out of steel tubes. “Lighting it can be a challenge if you value your eyelashes,” says Yates.

A winding steel and Cor-Ten staircase winds its way up to a second-floor balcony. The curved wall around the firepit is made of rusted Cor-Ten, as is the firepit itself. Yates used full range bluestone for the terrace and for the fire-pit cap. The wood boardwalks — another beach-inspired element — are made out of Ipe, a sustainable wood.

“This was a rare client in that he asked the design team to take chances, think boldly, and bring him a creative and edgy design that would still fit into the fabric of a somewhat sleepy seaside surfing community,” says Yates.

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Pleasure Point 3: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


The kitchen, designed by Viscusi Elson Interior Design, was made for casual entertaining. The curved countertop and corner position of this kitchen reflects the pivoted position of this part of the house, and embraces the ocean view.

Designer Gina Viscusi found the pendants in Charleston, North Carolina. The cabinetry was custom made in Santa Cruz. Since several members of the family are extra tall, Viscusi had the barstools made with a little additional height.


Pleasure Point 4: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


The unique piece of living room art was designed by one of the owners, who placed family photographs on a curving dune fence. Viscusi found the softly glowing floor lamps at a small shop in Savannah, Georgia.


Pleasure Point 5: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


Cross designed the upper floor to embrace the view of the Monterey Bay. The clients wanted to be able to see the break of the waves from their home, and each room has a view of the ocean. A small reading nook in the master bedroom is a great place to enjoy an evening sunset or a morning cup of coffee.

The drawers underneath the bed provide great storage space and elevate the bed for the over-6-feet-tall husband.


Pleasure Point 6: Frank Paul Perez, original photo on Houzz


A guest room on the main floor holds four 7-foot long bunk beds for visiting friends of the clients’ grown children. The unique piece of art in this room is another one of the owners’ beachy designs.

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