O.C. luxury homebuilder Jason Gonterman’s modern Huntington Beach abode is a panoply of color, texture and geometric shapes.
A statement-making marble fireplace marries the kitchen with the living room.
As the go-to builder of many of Orange County’s most droolworthy houses, Jason Gonterman of Gonterman Construction (gontermanconstruction.com) was well-equipped to build his own dream of a contemporary home from the ground up. But his finished product in Huntington Beach, which he shares with his wife and kids, looks a bit different from the breezy manses he typically brings to life. For one, Gonterman didn’t rely on a conventional white, blue and light wood palette. Instead, he says, “we wanted something that would reflect our worldly travels and the urban lifestyle we enjoy when we’re not at the beach.” The ideal vibe? That of a boutique hotel—fun, warm and inviting, with lots of pops of color.
The kitchen pairs moody finishes with vibrant tile.
But the Gontermans left the finer details to another professional, frequent collaborator Erica Bryen (ericabryendesign.com), whom he trusts implicitly. “Jason basically gave us free rein,” she says. “He really understands designers and their process, so he let us create the spaces as we felt was right.” Appropriate, considering “his only request was that the design look cool—but also be comfortable for his family.” Everything Bryen chose met that litmus test, like the aesthetically pleasing yet supremely comfortable Vanguard Furniture brass and teal leather living room chairs.
Mixed patterns in the master bedroom
“We wanted this house to stand out,” says Bryen, adding, “something more bold and eclectic and different from what you see in Orange County.” Her mission: create a funky outside-the-box home with a slightly darker style, taking more cues from New York than from its beach town address.
The master bedroom—with a Stark rug, Kelly Wearstler bench, and Lucite, black wood and Champagne metal-trim nightstands by Hickory White—is a striking example, mixing dynamic Lee Jofa by Kelly Wearstler wallcoverings with patterned drapes for a somewhat wild effect. Still, the feel is rich and fresh. “I love geometric patterns,” says Bryen, “and most people don’t realize you can mix different shapes and it will work.” To that end, vivid wallpapers and coverings—by the likes of Schumacher, Jofa and Phillip Jeffries—are featured throughout the house. Some rooms were entirely designed around it. The strong collection of canvases are not the only elements lending an artistic air to the overall effect.
The kitchen balances deep, sleek cabinetry and countertops with black and gold geometric tiles and a long, linear brass hood that instantly catches the eye. “It has a lot of sophisticated touches, and it’s a little moodier than the kitchens you see around here,” says Bryen. Avenue Lighting pendants and textured Vanguard Furniture bar stools enhance that atmosphere. It flows into the chic dining room, which gives way to the living room, all spaces united by the elegant sculptural marble fireplace. “It was pricey,” says Bryen, “but it brought the two rooms together.”
Lee Jofa by Kelly Wearstler wallpapers are featured throughout the home.
Understanding the nuts and bolts, literally, led Gonterman and crew—including architect Jeffrey A. Dahl, whose other work, along with a desire for high function, inspired the U shape of the home—to choose fine materials, hardware and finishes. Much of the furniture was custom made by Designers Resource Collection to their specifications. “Jason didn’t skimp on any areas, especially the outdoor spaces,” says Bryen. Those in particular were a joy for her to work on, since she knew they would be everyone’s favorite. “It’s so inviting. The way it opens up completely to the outside—there’s just a great flow and openness that made it fun to design,” she adds. It’s multifaceted, including a sphere-filled outdoor fireplace, slick negative-edge swimming pool, plenty of minimalist pieces on which to lounge, and a Gloster dining table with Kettal dining chairs—plus a resortworthy bar that’s screaming out for a dinner party. The focal point of those affairs though is undoubtedly the rainbow slab wall, modeled off of one Gonterman fell in love with at Viceroy Anguilla (now Four Seasons). Not surprisingly, Gonterman admits he directed his energy to perfecting the indoor-outdoor experience, ensuring it felt casual and unpretentious. The effort was worthwhile, since the family consensus is that this lush living space is most beloved. “It feels intimate in a small group and plenty spacious when we have larger groups,” says Gonterman. “Living in sunny SoCal and being a big family that likes to entertain, this was a must.” Let the celebrations begin.
Retractable walls open the living area up to the enchanting backyard.