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Step Inside this Custom-Built Brandon Architects Home Overlooking Newport Harbor

Claire Harper | November 20, 2020 | Home & Real Estate



A young family commissions an indoor-outdoor sanctuary overlooking the Newport Harbor.

Few do indoor-outdoor living quite like Costa Mesa’s Brandon Architects. Sure, Orange County’s perfect weather helps—along with unbeatable stretches of sand—but Chris Brandon and his team have an unparalleled approach when it comes to marrying California’s natural elements and design. So, when a growing young family commissioned the beloved architect for their custom-build Corona del Mar home, it came as no surprise when he, along with interior designer Brooke Wagner and contractor RDM, turned the clients’ vision into a quintessential bright and airy California-cool abode.


From the moment you step inside, the modern one-story home’s soaring ceilings; luxe, cohesive design elements; and large open floor plan catch the eye. “Given the home is for a young and growing family, we wanted to create architectural elements that stand the test of time and can be easily refreshed as they get older,” says Brandon. “We wanted to keep the bones of the house neutral and textural and set the foundation for a layered feel with different textiles, mixed metals and lots of beautifully stained cabinetry and benchmade furniture,” adds Wagner. From the cream limestone to the CIP concrete throughout to the natural white oak used for the wood eaves on the exterior and for the ceilings inside, the design and build team worked hand in hand to choose materials that were both beautiful and durable enough to withstand the test of time.

When it came to the interiors, Wagner wanted the home to feel “sophisticated and organic.” Using unique custom light fixtures, such as the handblown glass pendants in the stairwell, as well as custom artwork by Lorraine Pennington in the dining room and L.A.-based Visual Contrast in the living room, the veteran designer was able to achieve that vision. She also made sure to show off the home’s “hard to beat” view. “You can see all the city lights and the beautiful Newport Harbor,” shares Wagner. “The whole house is oriented to open up to the view as are the materials used throughout the home—textured and organic to bring the outdoors in,” she adds.


For the exterior, the client loved the idea of blending traditional architectural elements—a vision carried out via the home’s pitched roofs—with modern and contemporary design aesthetics like the pivot front door. “With all of our projects, we like to seamlessly incorporate the property’s surroundings into our design,” notes Brandon. To achieve this, the team used drone footage to gather information about best-possible views at all levels and printed physical 3D models in order to create cohesiveness. “Maximizing daylight was also very important for this fun young family,” adds Brandon, who fulfilled their wish via large south-facing windows and skylights to help filter natural light.

While the interior and the exterior are equally impressive, the outdoor living and landscape design immediately turns heads. Garden Studio Landscape Design created an outdoor oasis for the young family, with courtyards off the children’s bedrooms and an expansive pool, where a custom-built fire pit awaits, overlooking Newport Harbor. “It’s perfect for a moment of respite or for entertaining!” adds Brandon.


After breaking ground in January 2019, RDM, Brandon Architects and Brooke Wagner Design revealed the completed project to the overjoyed client in March 2020—just in time for the world to momentarily shut down. But, between its high-end accents—like the Rohl fixtures in the master bath and the Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances in the kitchen—and custom-designed furnishings, the home has been the perfect safe haven for its residents. Add in beautifully executed architectural elements and expansive outdoor living spaces, teamed with unbeatable views, and this Corona del Mar oasis gives few reasons to want to leave.

Photography by: All photos by Manolo Langis