This bachelor had lived in his Manhattan Beach, California, pad about a year when he sold his company. “He had something to celebrate,” interior designer Veerta Motiani says. The home is right on the ocean, and he loves to entertain. “He was ready for a home that reflected all of these things,” Motiani says. The tech entrepreneur presented her with a PowerPoint presentation to show her his likes and dislikes. “I could see that he liked modern style, and he loved being by the beach,” the designer says. “It was clear he needed a coastal-modern feel.” 

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Manhattan Beach 1: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here:
 A tech entrepreneur 
Location: Manhattan Beach, California
Size: 12 feet by 13 feet (3.6 by 3.9 meters); 156 square feet (14.5 square meters), dining area not included

The epicenter of every party wound up being the kitchen, so Motiani removed the old kitchen’s island, which had blocked the flow. She then created a waterfall counter that offered a less imposing separation between the kitchen and dining area. She also removed some upper cabinets and added open shelves. Clear glass globe lights float overhead. 


Manhattan Beach 2: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


The new cabinets have gray thermofoil doors that appear to have a wood grain without all of the find-the-perfect-stain tests and maintenance. 

The sun shines so brightly in here that the upper cabinets appear to be wearing sunglasses indoors. Motiani chose smoked glass for the doors because it hides clutter and not-so-perfectly-put-away dishes. Automated window treatments in cool gray silk coordinate with the cabinets. 

The pipe-like brackets are from a local hardware store. 

Shelf planks and lighting: Restoration Hardware; most accessories: Crate & Barrel


Manhattan Beach 3: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


This view from the adjacent deck gives you a taste of the ocean vistas from the kitchen windows. 

Motiani clustered the range, microwave and refrigerator on an interior wall. This way they are conveniently located but don’t block those ocean views. 


Manhattan Beach 4: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


A dual-temperature wine refrigerator was on the owner’s wish list, so the designer created this nook to the left of the refrigerator for a bar and wine storage. 

He also really wanted a white marble countertop, “but I knew that this was not the right environment for marble,” Motiani says. Instead, she used Cambria Tourquay quartz, which has the soft, veined look of marble but is much better at resisting stains from red wine and other spills.

Motiani took the slab up the walls for a seamless look. “It’s high drama, high impact, yet really softly done because of the veining,” she says.

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Manhattan Beach 5: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz


Manhattan Beach 6: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz


BEFORE: The original kitchen was just fine, but the island interrupted the flow of people during dinner parties, and its style didn’t celebrate the fabulous beach location.


AFTER: Just off the kitchen, deep indigo upholstered chairs met the owner’s request for a comfortable dining area that was also modern and cool. The slipcovers are particularly durable, made with outdoor fabric. The dining table has a washed driftwood look, while the clean-lined glass industrial light fixture overhead reinforces the look with a modern, rectangular shape. 


Manhattan Beach 7: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


“At first we were going to stain the floors gray, but once we chose the gray thermofoil cabinets and the gray silk window treatments, I realized we needed something more sandy to balance in some warmth to all of that cool,” Motiani says. After a week’s worth of stain trials on the floor, they settled on this custom result, which combines rich brown and soft sand and many hues in between.


Manhattan Beach 8: Tessa Neustadt, original photo on Houzz


The same floors, window treatments and shade of indigo continue from one end of the open plan to the other. Motiani designed these custom benches with cubbies to make the most of the corner. The deck we saw earlier is completely open to this space, thanks to new doors, and is just out of view to the left. Now the home truly celebrates the sea and the owner’s California modern style.

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