A Modern Coastal Retreat

This serene beach house by designer Tineke Triggs is in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

Written by Juno DeMelo
Photography by Suzanne Scott



A pristine lagoon. A white sand beach that stretches for miles. Mountain views. These are the elements that drew one San Francisco couple to the tranquil closed community of Seadrift in California’s Stinson Beach—and inspired the designer Tineke Triggs to transform the home they ended up buying there.

“The husband loves surfing, and the wife grew up in Malibu. They had always wanted a beach house,” says Triggs, the owner of San Francisco–based Artistic Designs for Living. “They hired a real estate agent, and I came on board to look at five or six projects. We found this one at the end of the Bolinas Lagoon, so you don’t see any other houses. It feels a little more isolated than your typical Seadrift home.”

The unspoiled view of the lagoon—a stopover for tens of thousands of birds each year, including herons and egrets—was the clincher for Triggs. “The window in the primary bedroom literally looked like a piece of art,” she says. “That was one of the most ‘wow’ parts of the house. We wanted to keep the physical shape of the house intact, but almost everything else needed to be redone. There was a lot of dark wood paneling.” Not to mention maple cabinetry, tiled countertops, and small windows.

Triggs had already designed the couple’s primary residence in San Francisco, 30 miles away. “It’s a Spanish-style home with lots of color, lots of pops of bright pink and blue,” she says. “It’s very vibrant and very colonial. You don’t want all that craziness in a beach house unless it’s in Cabo or something. The owners wanted their second home to be wildly different.”

Partnering with a local architect and contractor experienced in working with salty sea air, blowing sand, and other ocean elements that can weather coastal homes, Triggs and her clients began thinking about how they could reinvent the board-and-batten property without straying too far from its 1960s roots. “For me the question was, how do I turn this into an amazing contemporary version of its original self? You don’t want to feel like it doesn’t belong on the beach. The goal was to create a modern beach vibe,” says Triggs.

Another goal: To make as many living spaces as possible for the couple, their four teenagers, and their extended friends and family—and to make them durable enough to stand up to wet, sandy feet. “We replaced the wood floors with concrete because we wanted to be able sweep the sand in and out. Everything has indoor-outdoor fabric; everything is pretty indestructible,” says Triggs. (And it’s a good thing, because the pandemic hit right after the renovation was complete, and the family ended up living full-time in the Stinson Beach home for a year.)

To bridge the gap between past and present, she chose Made by Ann Sacks tile for the fireplace. “I didn’t want to do a stone fireplace, because that would make it really contemporary. I wanted a little bit of a nod to the origins of the home, but I wanted to update it to feel more European-modern,” she says. “The MADE Modern tile has a great texture and a ’60s vibe, but at the same time, it felt quite modern.”

To complement the fireplace tile, Triggs also used a MADE by Ann Sacks tile for the kitchen backsplash. “We wanted that part of the kitchen to be all black, but dark colors can fade away, and I didn’t want a flat tile back there that wouldn’t stand out. So we went with something with a raised texture, especially since it was the transition between the hood and the range, which I didn’t want to look continuous.”

For color palette inspiration, Triggs directed her attention outward. “With Stinson Beach, you’re looking at a lot of coastal gray-blue fog. The home actually has an inner courtyard—where the family now has a firepit and lounge chairs—which is very common in Stinson because it can get cloudy and cold. I didn’t want the home to feel stark, though, so my tones are gray, but on the warmer side,” says Triggs.

August 15, 2021

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