It’s the perfect hangout spot.

Blue Bedroom in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
Christopher Stark

This four-bedroom, two-bathroom Santa Cruz beach bungalow with an ADU in the back was a “major fixer upper,” according to Christie Tyreus of Tyreus Architecture + Design (TAD). The home, which was built in 1910, hadn’t been remodeled in decades and featured small rooms. “The interior was dark with low ceilings, vinyl flooring, laminate countertops, a tiny kitchen closed off from main room, and no space to entertain or hang out. The exterior was weathered dark shingles,” Christie says.

Living Room in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The living area has a lot of cozy texture.

Christopher Stark

Her clients (a couple with three young kids) chose the home as a weekend getaway because of its location—the husband grew up going to Santa Cruz beach. Their dream was to host friends and family for parties and even have enough space for overnight guests. They wanted the interiors to be a fun take on beach house style, with a little bit of color and drama. 

Kitchen and Dining Area in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The green chandelier was the inspiration for the color palette in the kitchen.

Christopher Stark

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“One very practical goal [of theirs]: Make the space feel bigger and function better to be able to have lots of friends over for dinner and hangouts, while still keeping bedrooms for all three kids,” Christie explains. “One aesthetic goal: More adventurous use of color than their main home in Tiburon.”

Christie and team expanded the kitchen and counter space by taking down a wall and reorienting the layout. They also raised the ceiling by 2.5 feet to give the room a spacious feeling.

Kitchen in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The kitchen has plenty of counter space and storage.

Christopher Stark

“The new peninsula abuts a wall of folding glass doors that lead to the outdoor deck,” Christie says. “When the doors are open, the countertop functions more like an indoor-outdoor island, providing serving space around the outdoor fire pit.”

Dining Area in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The kitchen and dining area opens up to the outdoor seating area.

Christopher Stark

The team’s interior designer, Nataly, found the recycled beach glass chandelier with shades of green, which ultimately inspired the kitchen color. “We mixed a dark matte green cabinet face for uppers with more reflective vertical tile and white lower cabinets,” Christie adds. “Modern dining furniture provided a great contrast to the scale and details of the chandelier.”

Tropical Bedroom in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
Tropical vibes in one bedroom.

Christopher Stark

In the other rooms, more color was added, like a moody blue bedroom, a bold yellow bunk room, and tropical-themed bedroom. The owners were a little skeptical of having so many different colors at first, though.

Bunk Room in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The bunk room has enough storage for the kids.

Christopher Stark

“When we first presented the design drawing, the owners weren’t totally convinced that all these dramatic colors were going to create a cohesive feel throughout the house,” Christie explains. “Once we produced photo-realistic renderings and showed them, they loved it so much they wanted the design exactly as we’d planned, as well as every piece of furniture and decor shown in the renderings.”

Bunk Beds in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The bunk room has a bold yellow theme.

Christopher Stark

To check off the functional goal, in addition to all the work in the kitchen, Christie and team created built-in storage wherever possible in the bedrooms, making for a more efficient floor plan.

Entry in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The entry has a built-in bench and storage underneath.

Christopher Stark

The owners are pleased with their vacation home, and the kids even have a very strong opinion about it. “They love the house, and their guests always comment on the style, saying it’s beautiful and original/unexpected at the same time,” Christie says. “The kids prefer this weekend house to their main house, so we feel that means we succeeded.”

Exterior in Santa Cruz Bungalow by Christie Tyreus
The bungalow is within walking distance of the beach and close to the family’s favorite restaurants.

Christopher Stark

And for those who are contemplating adding a fun color story to their home, Christie has some tips: “If you’re going to use a bold color, using it in big doses on multiple walls and room furniture keeps it modern. Pay attention to the finish—matte or high gloss produces different color outcomes.”