For a Southern California couple seeking more living space, an architect reimagines a harborside home—and his original design.
Sheer drama in the form of a hefty arched limestone entryway greets visitors to this Newport Beach, Calif., home. Guests of the owners pass beneath the outermost arch, through doors with Moorish carvings, and across a 900-square-foot courtyard to a second set of doors. These elements hint at the scale and craftsmanship awaiting inside the 16,300-square-foot waterfront estate, whose warmth creates a sense that the hacienda-style structure has been here for years. Yet it was not long ago that a different house—similar aesthetically but smaller—sat in its place.
The owners initially hired the architect Brion Jeannette and the designer Rachel Horn to remodel a Mediterranean-style ranch house that occupied the site at the time; it was a property the Newport Beach–based Jeannette had designed for different clients 42 years earlier, and it was inspired by the work of architect Cliff May. The current owners lived in that house for more than 10 years and loved it, but they wanted more space for entertaining their large family so they purchased an adjacent lot. Ultimately, however, they dispensed with plans for an addition because it was discovered that the property’s circa-1925 seawall needed to be rebuilt—a project so large that the owners decided to build a new house altogether. The finished home, like the entry arches and other distinct elements, is Jeannette’s reimagining of his original, with spot-on interiors by Horn.