written by:
photos by:
January 31, 2014
Originally published in 8 Modern Renovations
as
Manhattan Beach Transfer
Up-sizing from a small bungalow, Kristopher Dukes and Matt Jacobson take a minimalist approach to renovating and furnishing a soaring ’80s-era Ray Kappe–designed house.
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior kitchen
Originally built in the 1980s by architect Ray Kappe, the Manhattan Beach home of Matt Jacobson and Kristopher Dukes is anchored by a sweeping circular gesture.
Photo by 
1 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior living room
Dukes, who was hands-on with the redesign, sits in an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair in the living area.
Photo by 
2 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach exterior facade
The glass-walled facade faces the Strand.
Photo by 
3 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
A view over the lap pool and roof deck, which provides a respite for the couple, shows the dense beachside neighborhood. The couple bought the Richard Schultz chaise longues at Studio 111 in Palm Springs.
Photo by 
4 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
The streetside facade, dominated by site-poured concrete, contains the garage, from which Jacobson and Dukes escape for a quick surf.
Photo by 
5 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach portrait
Kappe sits on a sofa in the media room, which continues the semicircular curve. “The form came from the [original] client’s preference,” he notes. The rattan ottoman (found in Palm Springs) is by Franco Albini, and the carpet is from Malibu Rugs.
Photo by 
6 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior corridor
For the small terrace off the master bedroom, Dukes and Jacobson chose a Walter Lamb bronze rocker and ottoman from Studio 111. The drapery fabric, typically used for boardshorts and therefore hardy enough for the salt air, is from Busch & Associates.
Photo by 
7 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach hallway
The central stairway spans the entire house from the first floor to the roof, which is crowned by a glass ceiling that allows in extra light. Areas such as the master bedroom, which is open to the living room below, fan off of the staircase, a unifying component.
Photo by 
8 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
In the master bathroom, the couple traded an outdated tile tub for the BOV 02 from Wetstyle and added fixtures, towel bars, and hooks from Vola. The hallway, which retains its original black granite floor, leads past paneled walls to a deck.
Photo by 
9 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
Dukes designed the island in the paneled dressing area.
Photo by 
10 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior bedroom
The original bedroom, which Dukes refers to as “very Scarface,” included red shag carpet. Dukes toned down the space with a Thin Edge bed by George Nelson and an Eames folding screen.
Photo by 
11 / 11
renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior kitchen
Originally built in the 1980s by architect Ray Kappe, the Manhattan Beach home of Matt Jacobson and Kristopher Dukes is anchored by a sweeping circular gesture. Image courtesy of Misha Gravenor .
Project 
Dukes/Jacobson House
Architect 

Amid the miniature Tuscan villas and Mediterranean mansions that jockey for prime ocean frontage on the Strand in Manhattan Beach, California, stands a house in a class all its own. With a curving facade of steel, concrete, and glass, the 5,200-square-foot volume rises from its south-facing corner lot like an ocean liner ready to set sail.

Passersby may be surprised to learn its architect was the seminal Southern California modernist Ray Kappe, whose wood-and-glass dwellings have long explored the intersection of indoors and out. Designed as a weekend retreat in the mid-1980s for animation producer Lou Scheimer and his wife, Jay, the house features a two-story atrium and a rooftop deck, complete with lap pool and widow’s walk. When it came on the market for the first time in 2010, locals Kristopher Dukes and Matt Jacobson were intrigued.

renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach interior living room
Dukes, who was hands-on with the redesign, sits in an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair in the living area. Image courtesy of Misha Gravenor .
Jacobson, Facebook’s head of market development and a Manhattan Beach native, remembered the house being built. Once inside, he says, “We were awestruck by the thoughtful design.” Dukes, a writer, agrees. “Though it makes a statement, I believe Kappe designed it as a solution: How do you take advantage of the lot and the views and make the house feel as expansive as possible?”

Indeed, whether from the deck or the double-height living-dining room, one can gaze south to Catalina Island or as far north as Malibu. More light streams in through a glass barrel vault above the transparent staircase, which zigzags from the roof to the ground floor. “The house is very unique,” says architect Dean Nota, who spent more than ten years in Kappe’s office and worked closely on the project’s design and construction. “It’s all about the horizon, the experience of being at the beach.”

renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
The streetside facade, dominated by site-poured concrete, contains the garage, from which Jacobson and Dukes escape for a quick surf. Image courtesy of Misha Gravenor .
But the interiors, which featured black-and-white melamine cabinetry, plush red carpets, and a 30-foot semicircular bar, seemed at odds with the architecture. Jacobson and Dukes never doubted that they wanted the house; the question was how to bring the architecture to the fore.

Though Jacobson and Dukes had previously renovated a nearby bungalow (Dwell, June 2011), they met with several architects and designers to get their input on the Kappe house. “They all wanted to do major plastic surgery,” Dukes recalls. “The house had beautiful bones; it needed a minimalist makeover to make it as timeless as possible.”

Unwilling to yield to somebody else’s vision, Dukes began formalizing her ideas, teaching herself the 3-D modeling program SketchUp. “Kristopher was dogged about letting the house dictate the design,” Jacobson says. 

renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach
A view over the lap pool and roof deck, which provides a respite for the couple, shows the dense beachside neighborhood. The couple bought the Richard Schultz chaise longues at Studio 111 in Palm Springs. Image courtesy of Misha Gravenor .
Armed with a plan to “purify” the spaces, Dukes was ready to move forward—but first she sought out Kappe for his blessing. “I found it a little intimidating because I’d slightly deified him,” she admits. At their first meeting, she told him she wasn’t sure how to replace the living-dining area’s massive bar. “The bar was a big part of the room,” acknowledges Kappe, who, at 86, maintains an active architectural practice. “The original owners thought of the house as their weekend retreat and enjoyed serving drinks and having parties.” When Dukes showed him a sketch of a wood bench that would mirror the curve of the exterior wall, he told her it was exactly what he had in mind.

With the matter of the bar resolved, she designed a semicircular sofa for the living area and introduced muted beach tones: sea-glass-green leather for the Jean-Michel Frank Confortable chairs and blue-gray leather for the sofa. No detail was too small. All the new leather was finished with baseball stitching. “I’m big on consistency,” she says with a smile.

renovated Ray Kappe bungalow in Manhattan Beach hallway
The central stairway spans the entire house from the first floor to the roof, which is crowned by a glass ceiling that allows in extra light. Areas such as the master bedroom, which is open to the living room below, fan off of the staircase, a unifying component. Image courtesy of Misha Gravenor .
Then there was the question of what to do with all that melamine. Echoing the house’s original woodwork, the couple replaced the lower cabinets in the kitchen with horizontal-grained teak and removed the upper cabinets completely to reveal the bush-hammered concrete beneath—a change Kappe endorsed. “It’s much nicer than the original,” he says. The teak cabinetry continues upstairs, where Dukes designed a glass-topped case for the dressing room. “Matt has an amazing collection of things,” she says. “I wanted to create display areas so that everything felt curated.”

Though the house is nearly six times larger than their former residence, the couple was committed to a minimalist, modern aesthetic, settling on well-chosen pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, and George Nakashima. “It’s a large house, but it doesn’t feel wastefully big,” Jacobson says. “We did take some favorite items out of storage, while purchasing some pieces that we thought would work in the new space. Other than the addition of a few more Raymond Pettibon surf drawings, our collections haven’t grown. We still stick to a ‘one in, one out’ policy. And that goes for T-shirts as well as pottery.”

In the end, Jacobson and Dukes have made the house their own, a fact that pleases Kappe. “I always like people to be a part of the process, to have a place that feels good to them,” he says. Notes Dukes, “I love Ray as a person and as an architect because he is all about problem-solving and creating value and beauty. I feel so lucky to live here.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016