This Malibu Home Is a Study In Natural Textures

The power of staying in neutral.

October 4, 2021
In her new book, Pacific Natural: At Home (Rizzoli), tastemaker and designer Jenni Kayne shares some of her favorite California homes that reflect the easy-breezy organic textures and earthy neutrals that have become synonymous with West Coast design. We’re sharing a peek into one of our favorite projects, designer Vanessa Alexander’s family home in Malibu. From the bold black exterior to the creamy white walls to the warm oak woodwork, the entire space feels at once serene and welcoming.
Pacific Natural, $45. rizzoli.com.

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When Vanessa Alexander set out to design the Malibu home she shares with her husband, Steve, and their sons, she landed on a stylistic choice that made her beach house bold: she painted it black. For the interior designer behind Alexander Design, the decision was the final step in defining her take on the beach house aesthetic—but the layer of paint is just the beginning.
Vanessa is no stranger to Malibu and its celebration of outdoor living. Eager to capture the beauty of her surroundings, Vanessa made sure her space was relaxed and full of light. High ceilings with skylights let the light pour in from above, while walls of glass emphasize the landscape, blurring the lines between indoors and out.
The house was built from the ground up, and the finished product illuminates a fine-tuned process. Vanessa and Steve dreamed up their beachside vision with support from Kovac Design Studio and Terremoto, creating a home that reflects how their family likes to live: at ease, outdoors, and together. Regardless of the time of day, you’re likely to find Vanessa and her loved ones in the kitchen and family room, where the open floor plan is perfect for seamless entertaining. From the hand-forged brass cabinetry to the striking pendant that hangs over the island, custom-designed pieces punctuate every room.
Finding a balance between luxurious and livable isn’t always easy, but Vanessa does so beautifully. The skateboard ramp in the yard has as much importance as the Pierre Yovanovitch light fixtures and the turn-of-the-century farm table. Contrast is constantly at work, creating a space suited for the animated and active family with a penchant for exceptional design. Vanessa’s enviable ability to make a highly designed space feel like home is what shapes her distinct version of coastal sensibility.