Tour a dreamy Santa Monica getaway that epitomizes the inner and outer life

Not even a modern California retreat can hide its Midwest roots by Kathy Taslitz, interior designer and artist. Describing her and husband Matt Grodd’s dream home — one that can comfortably be shared with family and friends, the Chicago-born interior designer draws on one of the heartland’s greatest movie scenes, citing Kevin Costner’s character in field of dreams: “This was one of those, ‘if you build it, it’ll come’ moments.”

Taslitz and Grode also had the tools to turn their wish into reality. As president of MG Partners, a leading builder of custom homes in the Los Angeles area, Grode has built both residences and relationships with such bold firms as Olson Kundig, Ferguson & Shamamian, Backen, and Gillam & Kroeger Architects. (Seven of the recently completed clinic houses were shown in ad—Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ modern ranch, in Beverly Hills, Barry, Sheryl and Schwartz, in Santa Barbara, and Cape Nelson’s cantilevered sanctuary in the Hollywood Hills, among them.) In their own home, the duo enlisted architect Howard Paquin and landscape designer James Doyle to assemble their team .

Together, they created a modern, sun-kissed home enriched with natural materials, inviting textures, and custom sculptural work. “I like to keep things really simple for the eye,” says Taslitz, who has approached each space with “yin and yang heavy and light weight” in mind. Incorporating organic elements like oak floors and whitewashed wood ceilings throughout the 7,000-square-foot home, for example, helps soften the black steel windows. Elsewhere, in the open kitchen, opulent white marble countertops and the backline of the muted cabinetry and hood contrast. “By keeping things understated, I can then let the things of interest stand out,” Taslitz says.

And that’s what they do. One step through the front door and guests are instantly greeted by the first of many custom Taslitz designs, the We Need to Talk Bench, made of chipped wood perched on a large bronze sphere. In the basic bedroom, a pair of her bronze-legged oak night tables surround the bed, while the indoor-outdoor dining table from Party in the House is painted bright pink to match the nearby bougainvillea on the pool deck. Until new inspiration comes. “That’s one of the reasons it’s great to be married to an entrepreneur,” Taslitz says. “I get bored, so I always try and change things up. Matt always jokes, ‘Just don’t get bored of me.'”

While the palette has been kept intentionally neutral inside, a rainbow of colors awaits beyond the wide retractable doors – Backen’s signature element used in the living room and upstairs sitting room to enhance living indoors and out. “Having lived most of my life in Chicago, there’s nothing that makes me happier than being able to open those doors and let the outside in,” Taslets adds.

Shrubs line the outside to not only create privacy from the neighbors, but also a green backdrop from the interior views. A rose garden wraps around the second-floor balcony, and nearby, an edible garden grows lemons, limes, kale, pumpkins, squash, and more ready to refuel guests at a moment’s notice. “We love making our signature cocktail using fresh basil, lemon, and garden chilies mixed with tequila,” says Taslitz.

It is a really hospitable home. “Building this home together in Santa Monica with our families and community of friends in mind, is a dream for us,” she says. After a pause, Taslitz reconsiders: “Sometimes we joke that maybe we shouldn’t make it very attractive. This is the kind of house people come into and sometimes they don’t leave.”

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