Cape Cod, California style: Architect Joyce Flood brings a West Coast feel to an East Coast design
Wandering the Strand in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, one can become numb to architectural excitement with every passing colossal, geometric, glass-fronted beach house. These homes are no less spectacular for their shared aesthetic, but their visual impact can become diluted when taken in large doses.
Then a Cape Cod style pops up. Its symmetry and simplicity are a flash of modesty amongst a tableau of grandeur. It’s lovely and fine. It’s the girl-next-door gracing a room full of dolled-up supermodels with her elevated, classic beauty.
Just a block up from the Strand, 119 16th St. in Hermosa Beach, is such a house.
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Chocolate wooden shingles frame the bright white details including protruding windows and a gated top-floor balcony. The 4-bedroom, 3.5 bath, 2,963 square-foot single family home is an embodiment of a Southern California take on Cape Cod style.
The home was built in 2008 as a spec home for MRW Design Development. The home’s architect, Joyce Flood, specializes in Cape Cod style and was not surprised that this was the direction that developer Mike Woodcock wanted to take.
“It used to be, when I started my practice here in the late ‘90s, the Mediterranean look was the big thing,” Flood said. “Now things have changed and people more are interested in the Cape Cods; the warm, homey styles. I think Cape Cods appeal to people because it doesn’t go out of style. It’s not trendy.”
Photos by Daniel Sofer/Hermosawave.net
Though the growing demand in the South Bay market for the Cape Cod style may make it the no-brainer design choice for a spec house in Hermosa Beach, it doesn’t mean the project, itself, will be simple.
“We have to adapt the Cape Cod look to make it work,” Flood explained. “The true Cape Cod is more formal. It’s more symmetrical. But because we don’t have the wide lots here like they do in New England, we have to adapt the style to fit the narrow lots.”
This tinkering is as important on the inside as it is on the outside. True Cape Cod style homes have the luxury of wide inside space, so they can create smaller, cozier rooms inside without feeling claustrophobic. In the Beach Cities, it’s all about keeping that space open.
“Because the lots are so narrow, I want to create wide open space and flow inside,” Flood said. “It’s one of the reasons I like designing Cape Cods so much. I love that wide open floor plan.”
The second-floor kitchen flows into the living room and right out onto a south-facing balcony with views straight to Palos Verdes. Windows punctuate each side of the second floor and the panoramic view provides even more latitude from the lot’s spacial restrictions.
The result is a West Coast imagining of an East Coast classic.
I think part of the reason we see so much demand for the Cape Cods in the South Bay is that we have so many East Coast transplants.” Flood said. “They want to see that style here.”
Luckily, Flood shares their enthusiasm.
“I get excited when people call and want to do that style,” she said. “I like doing all the little details. It’s my favorite kind of house to work on. And this one at 119 16th Street has been my favorite yet.”