Lisa, an avid reader of design books and magazines, credits the success of the three-year project to a collaboration that involved many people. She prepared for it by creating a file of magazine illustrations and bouncing ideas off a good friend who, says Lisa, has impeccable taste. There was also her talented architect, Burdge, plus Los Angeles designer Madeline Stuart, who provided inspiration for the living room.
"I called Madeline because I like her modern approach to classic furniture," Lisa explains. "I fell in love with her sofa, a bergère, and a coffee table. She also turned me on to the drapery fabric, so her vision is really present in that space." To separate formal from casual, a pocket door between the living and family rooms allows them to be closed off, perfect for times when one daughter is practicing piano and another wants to watch television.
"I saw the two rooms as sisters that need to have their own identities and at the same time play together nicely," explains Lisa. "The living room is dressed as if it were going to a cotillion, with the family room dressed down for a garden party."
The relationship between the dark wood floors and the crisp whitewall and ceilings throughout the house provides an ideal backdrop for the architectural details that Burdge incorporated. Special attention was paid to the ceilings on the main floor, treating each space differently. The living-room ceiling was coffered, that of the family room rendered in tongue-and-groove, and the kitchen's graced with intersecting beams. "Different ceiling shapes have different moods," Burdge says. Carved niches tucked below the stairs slightly divide the family room from the kitchen. This creates a space where family photographs can be displayed. (The main floor has no hallway walls, the usual display area.)
In the kitchen, functionality is key for Lisa, who loves to cook and throw parties. The clean white cabinets, tile backsplash, and sink contrast with a butcher block island and matchstick blinds that tie the space to the view outside and give it a beachy spirit.
From the time they were buying land, to when they stepped into the original house, and throughout the process of tearing it down and building anew, the Holte family has been banking fond recollections in their built to suit home. "I love how this house enjoys an indoor-outdoor relationship," says Lisa. "I have great memories of outdoor family gatherings and of the girls running in and out."