Homes: By Carl H. Larsen Photography by David Harrison
From ballyhoo on the beach to Bali ooh in the house, this residence on the ocean has got it all…
OUTSIDE, THERE’S A CAPTIVATING PARADE passing by daily along the sweeping beach stretching from La Jolla Shores to well past the Scripps Pier.
Inside, just up from the surf line, there’s a beachfront getaway and second residence for its local owners. It’s also a place to entertain, whether the guests are dressed in shorts and swimsuits or in smart business attire hoping to see a rare green flash during a sunset cocktail party.
Dealing with this conflict — a wide-open public beach and a need for a private domain — is a challenge that architect William Hayer, of Hayer Architecture in Del Mar, has met admirably in designing a $16 million, five-bedroom residence placed on a space-challenged coastal lot.
In this case, the buildable lot was only 135 feet deep and 60 feet wide. No room for a driveway, just a three-bay garage facing a crowded street.
All the hubbub street side, of surfers stowing their boards atop cars and of vendors servicing homes, vanishes once you’re through the side gate.
Instantly, Bali Ha’i is calling a few steps beyond a large Buddha sculpture and over a teak bridge spanning a small pond. Before the waves of the ocean are introduced, a quiet course of water falling down a carved travertine wall greets guests inside the front door.
The South Pacific and Asian themes are carried throughout the 6,000-square-foot, two-story home. Carved Buddhas and plants in large vases seemingly bring peace and enlightenment to the large rooms, including a large, seated Buddha looking over the central stair. Creating this interior décor was Helene Ziman & Associates of San Diego.
Exotic woods are used throughout, with ceilings of koa and Mozambique beams. The exterior doors are made of shedua, an African wood. Finish carpentry was completed by San Diego’s Design Synthesis Inc.
“The client wanted a house with a strong Balinese influence. It had to be comfortable for their family and had to be able to accommodate functions of 50, 75 or 100,” says Hayer.
Facing the beach on the first floor, a great room that is the home’s focal point looks out through floor-to-ceiling windows to a travertine terrace several feet above the sand. Centerpieces of the great room are a dining table, off to one side, and a conversation group of leather furnishings. At one corner is an inviting bar, with a recessed work area.
This is not a house where high-tech gadgets, although readily at hand, dominate the environment. A TV and entertainment area is cleverly positioned away from the riveting ocean view. Entertainment systems are hidden in a wooden cabinet.
The same is true in the ocean-facing master suite, where the presence of video systems is discreetly minimized to maximize the seaward exposure (although privacy shades can be summoned with the touch of a button).
A full kitchen is within pass-through range of the great room. Appliances are hidden behind shedua-faced doors. Counters and worktops are a Golden Lightning granite, evoking the Polynesian feel. For large events, a separate catering kitchen is available in the garage.
The prize of any beachfront home, however, is the ocean frontage. And so it is here, with a raised outdoor terrace protected from sea surges by a sea wall and by 3/4-inch thick, tempered and heat-treated glass. There are two access points to the beach and an outdoor shower to the side of the home.
A custom-designed spa to the side of the terrace allows the owners to immerse themselves chest deep while stretching elbows on the edge. To make the mood complete, flames can be summoned from two fire pits. And, of course, there’s a full grill.
To help guide construction and scheduling of what was a long project, the construction management firm of KCM Group of San Diego was brought in to work with designers and tradespeople. The company deals in high-end residential construction as well as commercial projects.
“On projects of this scale, someone needs to be there to guarantee the work gets done as planned,” says Gordon Kovtun, KCM’s owner. The company also made suggestions on systems to protect the home from water intrusion and the ocean-influenced climate. The company today maintains a relationship with the owner to assist on any maintenance issues, drawing from its database of under-construction documentation and photos.