Chatting​ ​with​ ​Jesse​ ​and​ ​Elisabeth​ ​Theurer​ ​in​ ​their​ ​airy,​ ​coastal-inspired​ ​family​ ​room,​ ​it’s​ ​hard​ ​to imagine​ ​any​ ​construction​ ​stress​ ​could​ ​undo​ ​these​ ​two.
They​ ​reminisce​ ​about​ ​their​ ​family’s​ ​happy​ ​times​ ​vacationing​ ​in​ ​Balboa​ ​and​ ​Newport,​ ​and​ ​the role​ ​the​ ​west​ ​coast​ ​played​ ​in​ ​their​ ​home’s​ ​aesthetic:​ ​the​ ​littoral​ ​color​ ​palette;​ ​beach-inspired materials​ ​(bleached​ ​oak​ ​floors,​ ​grasscloth​ ​wallpaper,​ ​marble​ ​counters,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​varied​ ​reflective qualities​ ​of​ ​their​ ​mixed​ ​metal​ ​finishes);​ ​and​ ​the​ ​gorgeous,​ ​and​ ​more​ ​importantly​ ​meaningful, beachside​ ​art​ ​adorning​ ​their​ ​walls

They​ ​recall​ ​carefree​ ​afternoons​ ​driving​ ​through​ ​their​ ​favorite​ ​California​ ​neighborhoods,​ ​looking for​ ​design​ ​inspiration.​ ​They​ ​discuss​ ​the​ ​often​ ​unnoticed​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​coastal​ ​homes​ ​are​ ​as​ ​beautiful in​ ​the​ ​back​ ​as​ ​the​ ​front​—​something​ ​they​ ​took​ ​cue​ ​from.
When​ ​asked​ ​about​ ​the​ ​construction​ ​process,​ ​they’re​ ​quick​ ​to​ ​dismiss​ ​the​ ​time​ ​it​ ​took,​ ​or​ ​the glitches​ ​that​ ​arose,​ ​and​ ​sincere​ ​about​ ​the​ ​fluidity​ ​of​ ​their​ ​decision​ ​making​ ​process.​ ​Elisabeth gives​ ​a​ ​nod​ ​to​ ​Jesse​ ​as​ ​the​ ​driving​ ​force​ ​in​ ​the​ ​particulars​ ​of​ ​the​ ​design​ ​and​ ​construction process​ ​(everything​ ​from​ ​hand-drafting​ ​layouts​ ​to​ ​sketching​ ​millwork)​ ​and​ ​Jesse​ ​jokes​ ​that​ ​the contractor,​ ​two​ ​months​ ​into​ ​the​ ​process,​ ​was​ ​shocked​ ​he’d​ ​never​ ​met​ ​Elisabeth.
“I’m​ ​more​ ​relaxed,”​ ​Elisabeth​ ​good-naturedly​ ​teases​ ​Jesse,​ ​“Not​ ​as​ ​picky.”​ ​When​ ​asked​ ​what she​ ​loves​ ​most​ ​about​ ​her​ ​home,​ ​Elisabeth​ ​quickly​ ​responds,​ ​“The​ ​kitchen,​ ​the​ ​laundry,​ ​the mudroom–what​ ​every​ ​woman​ ​wants​ ​to​ ​love!”​ ​Then​ ​pauses,​ ​“And​ ​I​ ​do​ ​love​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​the​ ​light over​ ​my​ ​kitchen​ ​table.​ ​The​ ​stars​ ​on​ ​it,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​mudroom,​ ​they​ ​just​ ​make​ ​me​ ​happy.”
Jesse​ ​admires​ ​the​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​interior​ ​light​ ​streaming​ ​through​ ​their​ ​windows​ ​and​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​he can​ ​sit​ ​in​ ​his​ ​family​ ​room,​ ​or​ ​work​ ​from​ ​the​ ​dining​ ​room​ ​table,​ ​and​ ​see​ ​the​ ​front​ ​and​ ​backyard​ ​at the​ ​same​ ​time.​ ​That​ ​his​ ​front​ ​porch,​ ​which​ ​came​ ​at​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​a​ ​grander​ ​entrance​ ​and​ ​dining room​ ​space,​ ​allows​ ​him​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​on​ ​the​ ​veranda​ ​and​ ​chat​ ​with​ ​neighbors.​ ​That​ ​his​ ​basement​ ​has
an​ ​arcade;​ ​a​ ​throwback​ ​to​ ​his​ ​childhood​ ​in​ ​Sugarhouse,​ ​where​ ​he​ ​and​ ​his​ ​brothers​ ​would​ ​walk with​ ​their​ ​paper​ ​route​ ​money​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​their​ ​earnings.
Most​ ​fascinating​ ​in​ ​their​ ​design/build​ ​process​ ​was​ ​their​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​forego​ ​a​ ​two-story​ ​cape​ ​cod for​ ​a​ ​shingle-style​ ​cottage.​ ​Their​ ​original​ ​plan​ ​was​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​second​ ​story​ ​with​ ​family​ ​living​ ​on the​ ​second​ ​story.​ ​The​ ​main​ ​floor​ ​was​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​more​ ​formal​ ​kitchen,​ ​dining,​ ​office,​ ​mudroom, and​ ​living​ ​room.
“After​ ​sitting​ ​with​ ​the​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​a​ ​while,​ ​we​ ​realized,”​ ​Jesse​ ​explains,​ ​”that​ ​if​ ​we​ ​went​ ​with one-story,​ ​not​ ​only​ ​did​ ​we​ ​gain​ ​efficiency​ ​in​ ​how​ ​we​ ​used​ ​our​ ​square​ ​footage,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​forced​ ​us into​ ​an​ ​open​ ​floor​ ​plan​ ​that​ ​was​ ​better​ ​for​ ​entertaining​ ​friends​ ​and​ ​family…And​ ​if​ ​there’s​ ​one thing​ ​that​ ​I​ ​strongly​ ​believe,​ ​is​ ​that​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​give​ ​up​ ​function​ ​for​ ​aesthetics.​ ​Function​ ​always comes​ ​first.”
A​ ​one-story​ ​home​ ​also​ ​made​ ​sense​ ​from​ ​a​ ​long-term​ ​perspective.​ ​In​ ​Jesse’s​ ​experience​ ​as​ ​a mortgage​ ​lender,​ ​he​ ​knew​ ​twenty​ ​years,​ ​thirty​ ​years,​ ​would​ ​come​ ​faster​ ​than​ ​they​ ​thought;​ ​and a​ ​one-story​ ​made​ ​sense​ ​for​ ​their​ ​empty-nester​ ​years.
What​ ​also​ ​made​ ​sense​ ​for​ ​those​ ​years:​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​space​ ​in​ ​the​ ​basement​ ​that​ ​could​ ​host​ ​a family.​ ​“We​ ​have​ ​lived​ ​with​ ​our​ ​parents…twice,”​ ​Elizabeth​ ​admits,​ ​“so​ ​we​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a space​ ​that​ ​one​ ​of​ ​our​ ​kids​ ​could​ ​live​ ​comfortably​ ​with​ ​their​ ​family.”

As​ ​Jesse​ ​self-deprecatingly​ ​quips,​ ​“We​ ​sound​ ​like​ ​we​ ​over​ ​thought​ ​this,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​did.​ ​But,​ ​you know,​ ​we​ ​had​ ​some​ ​time.”

Thank you Elisabeth and Jesse for welcoming us into your home! Not only did we enjoy your hospitality, your discerning good taste, but also your home in all its Christmas splendor. It was a lovely escape from the doldrums of a cold-winter morning and we appreciate you sharing your time with us this busy holiday season.

Photography: Sara Bateman Photography

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