Design Lifestyle


A Huntington Beach homeowner “downsizes” from two stories to one and creates an expansive vision for the future

By Alexandria Abramian
Photos by Chad Mellon

Ann Chlebicki was no stranger to the renovation process when she decided to update her Huntington Beach home. In fact, she had just completed a renovation a few years earlier on the two-story home in the Sea Cliff golf course community. 

When the wood floors started bowing and leaks sprang up in different parts of the house, however, Chlebicki decided not just to make the repairs, but to tear down the old house and build a new one where she could remain beyond her current 71 years of age. 

The open-plan design includes a kitchen with sequence-matched walnut on the cabinets. Dacor ovens and range are used along with a Sub-Zero refrigerator. 
A five-by-ten-foot oak door opens onto the central courtyard, which offers additional living space. 

Chlebicki knew she was ready to make a decision that took her in a design direction few modern-day homeowners explore: She opted to downsize to a single-story, indoor/outdoor residence that would allow her to use the entire property with little effort. “This is the first–and possibly only–time in my career when I have replaced a two-story home with a new single-level home,” says designer Matt McGrane.

“When Matt first came to me about building it, I was immediately drawn to his plans that allowed us to capture the views of the golf course and blue sky with the multiple skylights,” says Laguna Beach-based J. Kramer Corp.’s Joe Kramer. “She’s the first one in the Sea Cliff community to build a well-designed, new, modern house. In a lot of ways, this lot finally has the house it deserves.” 

Fleetwood pocket sliders disappear to make the home a true indoor/outdoor environment. Cedar lines the ceiling and the outside eaves, connecting the two spaces. 

When it came to reimagining the home, Kramer and McGrane had more than the average amount of space to work with. Chlebicki was able to purchase a 25-foot-wide easement surrounding the property, giving her an almost 10,000-square-foot lot and the most golf-course frontage of any home in the community. That enabled McGrane to design a home that could spread out, but also created the challenge of maintaining privacy. “The home is in the middle of the fairway,” says McGrane. “Every five minutes you have a new group of people coming through.” 

In the master bedroom, the fireplace surround is finished in a light-gray stucco, as is the main living area fireplace.

The house now offers seamless outdoor integration, while Fleetwood sliders disappear and all thresholds are flush. Kramer took extreme care with the details throughout the home, finding design solutions to create a high-functioning home that would allow Chlebicki to age in place. The look and architectural presence of the home evokes a feeling of open-plan minimalism that would appeal to modernists of any age. 

The 3,150-square-foot home is a testament to highly personalized form and function, one where doors and floors are wheelchair-accessible, should that be needed. “The floors have a little bit of texture so they don’t slip. It also has radiant heat so she can walk around in bare feet,” says Kramer, while McGrane designed all bathrooms to have zero-edge showers. 

One of the greatest silver linings of the project turned out to be the way Chlebicki’s art collection now comes to life and how the natural light changes drastically throughout the day.  

Bathroom counters by Epic Ceramic & Stone
Designer Mathew McGrane, owner Ann Chlebicki, and builder Joe Kramer in the central courtyard.

J. Kramer Corp. | Laguna Beach | 949.466.1533 |

Mathew McGrane | 562.686.4097 |

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