After a California family lost their home in a wildfire, they rebuilt with personal touches throughout. Here are the ways we’re inspired by the 2022 Idea House.

Indoor/outdoor living with bifold doors and passthrough window
LaCantina’s bi-fold doors and windows are the perfect indoor-outdoor living solution to maximize space. Photo by Thomas J. Story.

Marina Fernández de Córdova was driving along the California coast with her son on her way to Malibu to visit her life-long friend, Andrea Tennant. Their friendship spanned decades and continents since they met through Tennant’s late husband, Christopher, in London. De Córdova, who is an interior designer and shop owner in San Miguel de Allende Mexico, had custom-made furniture pieces for Tennant’s house. She was excited to see how it was all coming together.

Then, she got a phone call that all Californians dread. Tennant was evacuating. A wildfire loomed. “I was supposed to sleep in the house that night,” de Córdova says. “The next day, it was gone.”

Bedroom with nightstand and rug
Beautiful headboards make guest rooms sing, and can be found throughout the new home. Keep scrolling to see more of our favorites.

Thomas J. Story

It’s difficult to forget the impact of the Woolsey Fire, which scorched close to 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and consumed over 1,600 homes in 2018. Malibu was the epicenter of the historic blaze. And the Tennant house, where Andrea’s now-grown children Andrew and Flora spent much of their childhood, was among the casualties. The street near Zuma Beach that the Tennants had called home for over a decade was hit hard. Today, construction sites and recently completed new builds line the road. But in the days, weeks, and months after the fire, it was a disaster zone.

“Many days later, we were allowed to return to the home and sift through the ashes,” Tennant says. “We found an award that was given to my husband, Christopher, posthumously. It’s in the shape of a bird, and one wing had broken. We found a silver baby cup that was Andrew’s, which melted and formed a beautiful shape.”

It was a devastating loss. But then, without a moment’s hesitation, Tennant started making plans to start again. “With all the courage in the world,” de Córdova says, “she decided to rebuild.”

“Walking away didn’t make any sense to me,” Tennant says.

We honored the original home in a style we refer to as ‘transitional.’ It isn’t too modern or too traditional. It’s a family home that’s made for entertaining and enjoying the beautiful Malibu climate.

Doug Burdge, architect

Thanks to the vision of Doug Burdge, of Malibu’s own Burdge Architecture, a new four-bedroom, six-bath home and guest house was erected on the lot, incorporating smart new materials, from heat-resistant windows and metal roofing to flame-retardant siding, all designed with fire risk and a drier, changing climate in mind. De Córdova commissioned handmade furniture and art, and sourced vintage pieces that helped tell the Tennant family’s story—they have roots in Scotland and England, and stops all over the world.

Thanks to a partnership with Sunset, the home features state-of-the-art appliances; Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery faucets, bath fixtures, and lighting; Northern Wide Plank flooring; Benjamin Moore paint; LaCantina folding doors; Jeld-Wen windows and interior doors; decorative stone from Eldorado Stone; Emtek hardware; Schneider Electric switches, dimmers, and receptacles; Infratech outdoor heating units; and a Kindred Outdoor fire pit.

“We honored the original home in a style we refer to as ‘transitional.’ It isn’t too modern or too traditional. It’s a family home that’s made for entertaining and enjoying the beautiful Malibu climate,” Burdge says. “And in many ways, it’s better and more resilient than the original home.”

Board game on table
Marina Fernández de Córdova sourced vintage pieces that helped tell the Tennant family’s story—they have roots in Scotland and England, and stops all over the world.

Thomas J. Story

Over a series of Zoom meetings throughout 2020, with Tennant dialing in from her family’s property in Scotland, de Córdova logging on from her studio in San Miguel, the Burdge team coordinating from their offices in Malibu, and the organizational help of Naomi Leigh, a construction manager and consultant who worked to streamline the complicated process for the Tennant family, the house came to life.

“Most of their belongings in the home were lost,” says de Córdova, “so it was important to incorporate some unique and handmade furniture items to help tell their story as citizens of the world.”

The end result is a home with an old soul that will hopefully be a gathering place to celebrate for generations to come. Here, the ideas we’re taking from the 2022 Idea House.

1. EASY ENTERTAINING

LaCantina’s sturdy bi-fold doors and windows are the perfect indoor-outdoor living solution to maximize space and welcome nature inside. “One of the best parts of living in Malibu is definitely the climate,” says architect Doug Burdge. “We have the luxury of living in a place where you can leave the doors open to catch the ocean breeze most of the year.”

Thomas J. Story

A passthrough window in the kitchen is the secret to summer soirees. The windows that open up to a soapstone countertop and bar create the perfect opportunity for al fresco dining when the weather is right, adding to the indoor/outdoor flow. And they close up to form a tight seal that protects from coastal breezes when it’s not. The passthrough is also a great way to reduce wet foot traffic from the pool on summer days.

2. MAXIMIZE SPACE

Family portrait on staircase in Malibu home
Northern Wide Plank’s European Oak flooring creates the ultimate canvas throughout the home, with distressed surfacing and a natural hard wax oil finish. Here, owner Andrea Tennant (center) sits with her son, Andrew (left) and daughter, Flora.

Thomas J. Story

Unused nooks are an ample opportunity for creativity. When the Burdge team was faced with an awkward, unused space adjacent to the staircase to the lower level, they turned it into staggered shelving—a great place for objects, picture frames, vintage planters, or even a stack of puzzles. The stair treads were custom-made by Northern Wide Plank for a perfect match.

3. BUILD SMARTER

Balcony with chairs

We love the classic design of this Portsmouth Outdoor Wall Sconce by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, which not only features a weather-resistant finish but also complies with Malibu’s Dark Sky Ordinance. Jeld-Wen custom clad windows show off the natural light that floods the stairway.

Thomas J. Story

Fire-safe materials are a necessity in homes built to adapt. The home is outfitted with lightweight metal roofing, which has a longer warranty than most roofing materials, as well as dense glass under the siding. The Burdge Architects team took it a step further and used cement boards instead of traditional wood siding to offer extra protection. Additionally, LaCantina doors and Jeld-Wen windows have a tempered exterior pane, which cracks at a higher temperature than regular glass.

4. LAYER YOUR LIGHT

White kitchen with island

Oil-rubbed bronze cabinet pulls complete the kitchen look, with mixed-and-matched hardware incorporated throughout the home thanks to Emtek’s wide-ranging line.

Thomas J. Story

Mix handmade and vintage fixtures with contemporary built-ins. Dimmable light fixtures from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery create the foundation for healthy lighting, complemented by the addition of some hand-hammered copper pendants and a statement chandelier from Mexico, which de Córdova had custom-made for the home.

5. MEXICO TO MALIBU

Mermaid mirror in bedroom

With Square D’s X Series switches, dimmers, and receptacles, you can seamlessly snap on a new faceplate to stay current.

Thomas J. Story

One-of-a-kind pieces add instant character and charm. The central Mexican highlands surrounding San Miguel de Allende are known for their artisans and craftspeople creating unique accessories, like punched tin mirrors, painted furniture, and equipal-style chairs. De Córdova worked with a team of makers and commissioned many pieces throughout the house. Vintage pieces set the tone for the color palette, striking the right balance between beach-casual and English formality that the Tennants were looking for.

6. BE OUR GUEST

Twin beds in guest bedroom

Thomas J. Story

A great headboard makes a guest room sing. One of de Córdova’s specialties at her shop in San Miguel de Allende, Marquesa de Mancera, is handmade and hand-painted beds and headboards, which make a colorful statement in the guest rooms. Add some simple white and blue Serena & Lily bed linens for an extra layer of coastal charm.

7. GO BOLD WITH COLOR


A sunny yellow shade makes laundry room cabinets pop, thanks to Benjamin Moore, which manufactures its own resins and colorants for lasting results.

Thomas J. Story

Blue built-in storage in office

Thomas J. Story

Strokes of bold color are contained to small spaces, like a sunny laundry room, a high-impact red front door, and built-in shelves in the office painted a dignified shade of blue-gray.

8. GET GROUNDED

Art over fireplace mantel

Eldorado Stone’s Chalk Dust TundraBrick offers a definitively distressed profile to the fireplace, just one of the brand’s versatile, textured design options for indoors and out.

Thomas J. Story

Natural textures like straw and jute add instant warmth. De Córdova commissioned the straw mandala over the fireplace from a celebrated Michoacán artist Antonio Cornelio Rendón. It’s intricately woven but made from a natural material that adds to the coastal-casual feel of the house. Jute and seagrass rugs and storage baskets can be found in every room, adding warmth and texture.

9. TREAT YOURSELF

Bathtub fixtures
Ferguson equipped the master bathroom with a tub made for soaking.

Thomas J. Story

Yellow cabinets in laundry room with dog bath
Ferguson outfitted the home with appliances like this washer/dryer pair.

Thomas J. Story

Everyone in the family deserves a spa-like bathroom retreat—even the dog. The primary bathroom is a haven of light and space, with a freestanding tub and separate shower, and doors that open to a private, enclosed patio. The marble tile floor and crisp white palette add to the soothing aesthetic. All of the home’s bathrooms have carrara marble tile floors. And the laundry room comes with a built-in dog-washing station, ideal for rinsing sandy paws after a day at the beach.


GET THE LOOK

Upgrade your space with our ultimate Idea House resource guide.

Appliances
Monogram; monogram.com

Bedding & Linens
Serena & Lily; serenaandlily.com

Brick
Eldorado Stone; eldoradostone.com

Folding Doors and Windows
LaCantina; lacantinadoors.com

Interior Doors and Front Door
Jeld-Wen; jeld-wen.com

Door and Cabinet Hardware
Emtek; emtek.com

Flooring
Northern Wide Plank; northernwideplank.com

Furniture & Accessories
Ballard Designs; ballarddesigns.com
Marquesa de Mancera; marquesademancera.com
Pottery Barn; potterybarn.com
Ralph Lauren; ralphlauren.com
Rejuvenation; rejuvenation.com
Timothy Oulton; timothyoulton.com

Lighting
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery; build.com/ferguson

Outdoor Furniture & Accessories
Infratech; infratech-usa.com
Kindred Outdoor; mykindredliving.com

Paint
Benjamin Moore; benjaminmoore.com

Plumbing Fixtures & Accessories
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery; build.com/ferguson

Rugs
HD Buttercup; hdbuttercup.com
Serena & Lily; serenaandlily.com

Showers, Sinks, Toilets, and Tubs
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery; build.com/ferguson

Switches, Dimmers, and Plugs
Schneider Electric; se.com

Windows
Jeld-Wen; jeld-wen.com

Correction: The print version of this story mischaracterized the role played by Burdge Architects, which served as architect on the 2022 Idea House. The builder was JLS Construction.


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