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Natural Attraction

A beachfront Coronado home gets a bold and masculine makeover.

Replacing a solid wall with sliding glass gives the owner indoor-outdoor living options and a spectacular view of San Diego’s harbor.

When a family friend asked designer Cachel Rupp to give his Coronado digs a contemporary face-lift, the first thing she fixed was the view.
“The side of the house facing the water was almost all drywall,” says Rupp in disbelief. “There were only three small windows and dated, ’60s-style arches.”

Working with local builder Lorton Mitchell, Rupp, who helms Del Mar’s Coveted Quarters, lifted the ceiling height by 2 feet and added new structural beams and a wall of glass that slides open to the limestone patio, where an infinity pool stretches to the horizon. Mitchell, who calls the home “the love boat,” also clad the exterior with teak siding and copper trim.

That one tweak made all the difference, flooding the space with light and offering truly seamless indoor-outdoor living. Her client, the owner of a French restaurant in Salt Lake City, could finally enjoy his spectacular surroundings. After that, Rupp had free reign.

“He gave me freedom to do whatever I wanted,” says Rupp, a Utah native whose own home is a showcase of edgy-glam design right down to her party-perfect, color-changing LED pool. “He appreciates design. I wanted to do something avant-garde, kind of funky. I always say, go big or go home,” she adds.

Out back, Rupp focused on finishing touches like custom octagonal built-in seating around the fire pit and wood planters that match the existing alfresco furniture. She also solved one of the owner’s chief complaints about the outdoor area. “He wanted to hang out outside, but it was just too bright.” To remedy the situation, the designer brought in sleek, shade-providing umbrellas from ShadeScapes.

Inside, Rupp designed a custom art installation that hangs from the ceiling, directly over a large fish tank. Made from 100 feet of old industrial chain draped through an antique brass ship’s helm, the piece whimsically frames the aquarium’s ethereal under-the-sea scenery. “I brought in a lot of water elements,” notes Rupp, who also mounted a 100-year-old canoe on the wall.

In the main living area, she stripped the ceiling beams and rafters of their blue-tinged whitewash. Sandblasted and stained, the rough-hewn wood adds visual interest and contrast to the light-flooded space, which is grounded by creamy travertine floors. She turned to Tel Aviv-based Aqua Creations for the softly glowing, disc-shaped lights suspended from above. “I’ve always been obsessed with them,” she says. “They’re made of silk and inspired by water creatures, and they remind me of clouds and sand dollars.”

Among her biggest splurges? A statement-making custom art-piece dining table from Designlush in New York City that sits along the sliding wall, creating indoor-outdoor entertaining options. Nestled in a steel container of river stones, the piece’s asymmetrical, cantilevered base is topped with sturdy glass, giving diners a glimpse of the sea-battered wood’s nooks and crannies.

Rupp punched up the home’s handsome bar area too, with a mirror backdrop between the cabinets and a large copper slab tray she had made to showcase barware and special bottles. “It gives people a reason to go to that corner of the room,” she explains.

On the other side, she added a floor-to-ceiling panel of black-painted wood to balance the space. It draws the eye to the lamp she designed to flank the fireplace, a slender birch log framed in delicate metal and punctuated by pinholes that emit an ember-like luminescence. It’s especially soothing paired with the bordering wall, painted a deep but soft anthracite gray with undertones of purple.

Such textured elegance minimizes the presence of the pool table, which the owner deemed off-limits in the makeover. “That room was the battle of my life,” jokes Rupp. She tapped into the owner’s love of wine to create a cohesive hangout corner, incorporating an antique wine barrel from his restaurant, which she lightly whitewashed with deliberately drippy brushwork. She also hunted down centuries-old French demijohns, large green glass bottles once used to make wine.

Nearby, Rupp hung two large artworks from buzz-worthy British-American duo KateEric. “Large-scale is key to art,” she says. The paintings add a wildly colorful touch to the room, especially placed above a highly polished rosewood console with raw edges. She even found a way to repurpose the substantial shipping crate the pieces arrived in, building a cocktail table with a large “fragile” stamp on its side—a fitting metaphor for what the residence once was.

But now, with so many luxurious and eye-catching details—and a newly magnificent view—this second home feels like a first-class destination.


Second home



Lorton Mitchell

Cachel Rupp/Coveted Quarters


Phillips Collection
Rosewood console, driftwood dining table and pebble coffee table, all in the open living area

Roche Bobois
Pulsation sectional in white leather in the open living area

Saddleman’s of Santa Fe
Cowhides used throughout the home, including main living area

Leila Heller Gallery
Large-scale contemporary artwork from British-American duo KateEric, above the rosewood console in the main living area

Edelman Leather
Upholstered custom-designed dining chairs in main living area

Black textured Precious Walls wallpaper in game room

Handblown glass chandelier above dining table, designed by Rupp

Aqua Creations
Silk disc ceiling lamps in main room and illuminated wall tile in game room