The Pacific Edge Hotel’s bungalows get a makeover courtesy of local surf and lifestyle brands eager to showcase their design prowess.
By Margie Monin Dombrowski
An effortless and cool beachy style can take on many looks. So, it’s no wonder that when the Pacific Edge Hotel decided to revamp its oceanfront bungalows, it tapped a collection of local lifestyle brands to redesign a bungalow of its own and reflect the unique culture of Laguna.
Once separate hotel rooms, the five newly renovated bungalows are a stylish alternative to having to pack up your cooler and chairs, and find a parking spot in order to spend the day on the beach. Each bungalow is available for a full-day rental for small gatherings (up to 10) or kicking back and enjoying the ocean views. “This is a way of amplifying your time on the beach,” says Bill Tremper, general manager for the Pacific Edge Hotel. “It gives everyone the opportunity to own beachfront property for the day.”
Starting with a 400-square-foot interior space with a wet bar and full shower that’s connected to a 300-square-foot deck, Billabong; Fox Head Inc.; Sleepy Hollow Group; Hobie and Tuvalu; and Gorjana & Griffin transformed each space into their own version of a beach bungalow hideaway. “We like the idea of having brand names of people you’ve heard of,” Bill says. “Here, you can choose the one that’s the best reflection of your style.”
With natural materials, orange and blue accent colors inspired by ocean sunsets, and graphic wall art, the Billabong bungalow strikes the perfect balance between casual and chic. “It’s a surfer’s paradise,” says Cass Husted, partnerships manager for Billabong. “It was designed as the ultimate beach bungalow.”
The overall look and feel take design cues from local surf culture to create a cool hangout spot. Canvases line the walls with striking images from Billabong’s action lifestyle shots and models from photo shoots. A surf lover’s haven, the entire ceiling is covered with custom surfboards previously ridden by Billabong team riders.
The main focal point is the reclaimed wood wall, which adds richness and depth. Opposite, a wall-to-wall image of a giant wave cresting over a surfer’s head adorns the walls. “If you’re sitting on the couch, it looks like you’re looking down the barrel of the wave,” Cass says.
Additionally, two accent walls are painted sky blue to blend in with the beachy surroundings. “You’re looking out onto the sky and ocean,” Cass adds. “We wanted it to have a seamless feel.”
Other natural elements such as the reclaimed wood coffee and side tables, hand-built by Billabong’s visual marketing manager Brian Stiso, and a variety of succulents create a welcoming feel. “We wanted everybody that came into that room to feel immediately comfortable,” Cass says.
Fox Head’s Man Cave
Masculine and moody, the Fox Head Inc. bungalow exudes a swanky bachelor pad style. With smoky gray walls that make you feel like you’re inside a chic garage, “it’s a man cave for sure,” says Stacy Carr, special projects manager for the motorsports and surf brand. “The idea behind it was a luxurious garage.”
Clean lines and metal details in the black-leather sofa and chairs, and mirrored cube ottomans, give the space an appropriate edge. Adding leather to the overall mix helps create a sensual contrast to the hard surfaces, while a wild black-and-white zebra print rug defines the conversation area. The zebra print is carried through to the attached bathroom, where a layer of zebra print vinyl is applied like wallpaper.
Props scattered throughout, such as worn motorcycle tires casually leaning against the wall, racing goggles and helmets in the storage beneath the bar, vintage gas cans and old motorcycle shocks, add character to the overall manly vibe.
Over the bar, a large vinyl-wrapped graphic with a shot of Bruce Irons surfing, embodies the edgy-surfer image. “He’s a life-of-the-party personality,” says Stacy, who’s also passionate about motorcycles. Other black-and-white images of Bruce show him on motorcycles and are displayed in ornate wall frames spray-painted in black, coordinating with the dirty, dark look. “It brings that garage grunge but with a fancy twist.”
From natural wood and sisal textures to ocean-blue accents, this bungalow is clearly inspired by its seaside setting. Designed to be reminiscent of a painting of the Laguna coastline by resident artist Wolfgang Bloch, the space prominently features one of his beach paintings as a focal point. “The artwork is a key element,” says Tania Cassill, owner of Tania Cassill Interior Design and designer of the project. “I wanted to build a bungalow around one of his paintings. It’s very sublime and romantic.”
Working with Wolfgang Bloch, and Laguna companies Cerno, The Vintage Wood Floor Co. and La La Boutique to form the Sleepy Hollow Group, Tania was able to source unique LED lighting fixtures, furnishings, artwork, fabric and reclaimed wood beams for the bungalow design. “I wanted to stay true to Laguna, and use local people and an artist, as well,” Tania says. “That’s what Laguna’s about.”
Its mostly neutral color scheme includes white walls that reflect plenty of sunlight, along with ethereal draperies that are sure to let in the ocean breezes. Natural hues in the sisal area rug and floor pillows, and a reclaimed wood accent wall, lend warmth and a casual feel. “Being in the room evokes a peaceful, calm feeling,” Tania says.
The Hobie and Tuvalu bungalow pays tribute to the life of Hobie Alter, who started the Hobie surf and sport brand more than 60 years ago, providing a party place with unique surf-inspired artwork and accessories—and an eclectic Tuvalu flair.
Tangerine grasscloth on an accent wall and reclaimed wood furniture add warmth and coziness through texture. Creative custom pieces like the balsawood bar top, galvanized tin-sloped roof over the bar, and ceiling fan with vintage Hobie sailcloth used instead of blades, give it authenticity. “The orange, avocado green and aqua were fun and unexpected,” says Wendy Grand Pre, a designer with the Tuvalu Home store and design studio in Laguna. “We used this wide corduroy sofa that lends to the vintage vibe. The accessories, shells and coastal artwork embodied the Laguna lifestyle.”
Framed photos above the sofa are from Hobie’s life growing up in Laguna, showing his family home on Oak Street with surfboards that he created and him riding a wave behind a boat going to Catalina. “We custom-colored the images and kept it cohesive by painting the vintage frames in the same high-lacquer white,” says Laurie Alter, owner of Tuvalu Home. Other memorabilia, from a wall mural of a 1960s regatta at Main Beach to a wall-hung skateboard, capture a playful vibe. “We really just wanted our bungalow to tell a story.”
East Coast meets West Coast in the casual-refined Gorjana & Griffin bungalow. Designed by Gorjana Reidel, the jewelry and accessories company’s president and creative director, the space brings New York’s Hamptons to Laguna. Gorjana says, “It was [about] taking those very East Coast elements of summer and meshing that with the more casual California lifestyle.”
A case study in contrasts, the neutral wall colors are soft gray or navy, playing off the bright white accents. “We wanted to make it a comfortable, soothing palette, so we stuck with grays, navies and whites, and popped it with teal and bright orange,” Gorjana says. Bold patterns of stripes and trellis follow the theme of mixing sophistication with casual style.
Here, wall art takes on many forms: an abstract multicolor painting, stripes of Gorjana & Griffin leather wrap bracelets stretched across a canvas and an old fishnet tangled with anchor charms the company uses for stud earrings or necklaces. “Our summer theme was the maritime, so we made it an artistic element,” Gorjana adds. Nautical ropes also make an appearance, tying in with the seaside decor. The bungalow’s comfortable aesthetic is influenced by the image of Laguna Beach itself.
And with these custom-designed bungalows, every occupant is sure to find a space that he or she relates with, whether it’s the surf-chic residence by Billabong or the swanky bachelor pad by Fox Head. These bungalows aren’t ever lasting, however; next year, a new set of eagerly awaiting brands will have the opportunity to redesign the spaces.
“Laguna is such a melting pot of people and cultures, and is such a welcoming place,” Gorjana says. “No matter where you’re from, you feel a sense of belonging.” LBM