The “Surf Shacks” Author Lists His Venice Bungalow and Backyard Guesthouse for $1.6M

The “Surf Shacks” Author Lists His Venice Bungalow and Backyard Guesthouse for $1.6M

By Kathryn M.
His brother, Sam, and wife, Courtney, worked together to turn a garage into a studio with a breezy, boho vibe.

Matt Titone’s first volume of Surf Shacks, published by gestalten in 2017, celebrated the dwellings of surfers all around the world—from industry legend Randy Hild to lesser-known creatives and designers who embrace the lifestyle. He’s soon back with a second volume (launching in October), which features a new selection of surfer retreats including his own garage-turned-guesthouse in Venice, California. Titone and his wife are moving further up the coast, so the couple has put the backyard studio up for sale. It comes as part of a mini compound that includes an adjacent bungalow.

A view from the studio balcony shows the front bungalow and central patio area. Creative director Matt Titone, along with his brother, Sam Titone, and his wife, Courtney Husk, transformed the garage into an inviting live/work space in 2015.

Inside the studio, bi-folding doors connect the balcony to a loft area. White-washed cedar covers the walls and ceilings throughout the interior.

In a Q&A, Matt’s brother, architectural designer Sam Titone, who lead the project, describes his inspiration: "During my time at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), there were always long breaks in between terms, and I spent a lot of time staying in L.A.," he says. "I had time to surf and ride my bike around Venice. I loved seeing how most people had back houses that really stood out as architectural gems." Completed in 2015, the project was one of Sam’s first independent projects after graduating from architecture school.

In addition to designing, Sam also worked on many of the finishes himself—including the fabrication of a custom steel railing and floating stair treads. Underneath the stairs, a cedar desk is built into the landing.

The lower level also features a full kitchen, a bathroom, and a Murphy bed. Matt named the studio the "Zanja House" after the street that runs along the property.

After years of convincing, Matt and Courtney eventually agreed to let Sam redesign their dilapidated garage into a space for guests. Matt, in the midst of completing the first book, turned to Courtney, who used the project as an opportunity to flex her interior design skills.

"My primary goal was to have an inspiring space filled with light and beautiful design that friends and family would enjoy," she recounts in the upcoming Surf Shacks Vol. 2. "My secondary goal was to finish the house before our first child, Milo, arrived!"

Sam adds, "My brother and sister in law were my ‘clients,’ but I was lucky enough that they just let me play. They wanted an in-law suite and had a good idea for the look and feel of the interior. We were also on the same page with the aesthetic from the get-go, so that allowed me to really go nuts with the design. I essentially created a dream space for myself, since I was living there at the time. I wanted an independent, self sufficient back studio space for me to work, sleep, cook, relax, and enjoy nature."

Several large windows, glass doors, and a skylight provide natural light.

There is enough room for a larger table when the Murphy bed is not in use.

About the overall process, Sam continues, "It started with a solid concept and space layout in order for us to get proper permits. Then the design really took shape when we had to make all the decisions and design every nook and cranny, mostly on the fly."

Courtney opted for details like black-and-white cement floor tiles in the bathroom and a Heath Ceramics backsplash in the kitchen—simple additions to complement the white-washed cedar plank walls, raw cedar desk, and concrete floors. Inspired by the studio project, she also tackled other renovations inside the main house, which the couple slowly fixed up after purchasing the property in 2008.

A look at the studio bathroom, which also features an open shower area.

Another set of bi-folding doors open the lower level to an enclosed patio.

A shady outdoor space is located along another side of the studio.

The space between the studio and main house is now a large patio with several seating areas. A fence encloses the entire lot and provides additional privacy.

In total, the two structures offer two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and just over 1,500 square feet of combined living space. The .12-acre lot is nearly all enclosed, creating a private atmosphere for enjoying the large patio that sits between the studio and bungalow. The outdoor area also offers an in-ground hot tub, fire pit, and outdoor shower. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $1,595,000.

Shop Surf Shacks
Surf Shacks: An Eclectic Compilation of Surfers' Homes from Coast to Coast
Surfing is a way of life. A life dominated by the waves and the tide with a cozy place to pause in between.
Surf Shacks Volume 2
Surfing is a way of life, one that defines not only where we live, but how we live. Surf Shacks Volume 2 picks up where the first volume left off, exploring homes of surfers, which range from improvised cabins by the beach to penthouse apartments in big coastal cities.

Matt and Courtney also updated nearly every space in the bungalow, describing the home as in nearly tear-down condition when they first purchased it over a decade ago.

The front of the home features a combined living/dining area and kitchen, while the home's two bedrooms are located along the back.

The galley-style kitchen connects to a second entryway that leads to the backyard patio.

A look at one of the bungalow's two bedrooms.

The updated bathroom offers a custom vanity and copper light fixture.

A front view of the bungalow.

The backyard area also features a fire pit and in-ground hot tub next to the studio.

3904 Michael Avenue in Los Angeles, California, is currently listed for $1,595,000 by Nancy Osborne of Compass.

Project Credits:

Design Studio: Sam Titone / @samtitonedesign

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