One of Coronado's most historic homes is back on the market: The Spreckels Beach House was built over a century ago by the richest man in San Diego County at the time- John D. Spreckels. And, while he never lived there personally, the beach house remained in the Spreckels family until1970.
Now the home is ready to take a 21st century bow. What was considered revolutionary in the early 1900s- a time when Henry Ford was rolling out his first Model T's - has been revolutionized once again for the way we live today.
While Spreckels owned virtually all of Coronado and much of San Diego, in 1906 he still resided in San Francisco. Caught in that city's earthquake, Spreckels wanted to ensure that his family would never again see the walls around them collapse or be consumed by fire. Toward that end, he turned to architect Harrison Albright, who was making a name for himself as a proponent of a new building style incorporating steel-reinforced concrete, and asked him to design two Coronado homes, one on the bay, one on the beach.
In 1907, a time when most homes were still being built out of wood in the ornate Victorian style, Albright designed the two-story rectangular beach house in an unpretentious Italian Renaissance Revival style, with a smooth stucco facade and a flat roof. Two adjoining wings with rooflines
accentuated by an inset balustrade, as well as chimneys at both ends, added to the symmetrical appearance. The house reflected Albright's preference for simple lines, and evoked a vertical effect, especially seen in the full-length wooden, double-hung windows.
Spreckels chose to live in the bay house (now the Glorietta Bay Inn) and gave the beach house to his son Claus in 1910 as a wedding present.
Now the house at 1043 Ocean Boulevard is on the market following a major remodel. It is listed at $15.9 million with Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby's International Realty. Built on three contiguous 6,000 plus square foot beachfront lots totaling over 19,000 square feet, the estate provides 12,750 square feet of living space in three private settings: a four-bedroom main house of 6,600 square feet, a three-bedroom guest house of 3,000 square feet (added in 1928 and designed by noted architect Richard Requa) and two apartment units above the four-car garage.
Coronado designer Caylee Pinsonneault led the Jackman Group design/build team that updated the entire compound. The construction team, headed by Harry Jackman, broke down walls- not easy when they're concrete – to open up spaces. "Twelve-inch thick concrete walls weren't designed for remodels," Pinsonneault groaned. " But the results were worth it. Now the floor plan flows for how we actually live today."
While totally modernized, the kitchen maintains a vintage look with black and white flooring, a center island topped with white Calcutta marble and white cabinetry, footed at the bottom and topped with Basaltina (a honed basalt rock) countertops. Stainless steel appliances contrast with vintage light fixtures and bead and board ceiling finishes. Upgraded electrical, forced air heating, Wi-Fi and a new phone system were installed here and throughout the property. The space was made brighter through halogen lighting and by opening up the formerly closed-off space to the courtyard with wide French doors. The adjacent "butler's pantry" now includes a built-in computer workstation, "the perfect spot for my kids to do homework," Pinsonneault mused. It also features a china cabinet, dual temperature-controlled wine storage (there's also a wine cellar in the home's basement), and wet bar. Four different cabinet finishes are present in the room. "I don't like everything to be matchy-matchy," Pinsonneault explained. "You want your home to look like it has evolved over time. Like you have chosen pieces that are acquired one by one and they mix well. It wouldn't be as interesting to have it all the same."
A color palette of muted lavenders in the home’s spacious dining room that overlooks the ocean meshes with the celadon green and weathered greys of the rooms beyond. ''It's important that the eye transitions well from one room to the next,'' Pinsonneault said. As she moved to the south end of the first floor, Pinsonneault explained her vision for how she would furnish the "sunroom." "It's the football room! Family on sofas here and a big TV. There are giant palms and a sisal rug and a big partner’s desk in front of the window, so it could be a great office space during the day.''
On the second floor, "we really flipped everything around," Pinsonneault said, with two goals: 1) making the large sundeck off the existing master bedroom accessible to guests. ("I wouldn’t want guests traipsing through my bedroom to get there.") and 2) uniting two bedrooms previously accessible only by a servants' stairway.
For the first challenge, Pinsonneault moved the master sleeping area
to the center of the house, where she could envision waking each morning to the view of the Pacific framed by the fronds of stately date palms that were added to the home's front yard. The former master bedroom was
transformed into an expanded master bath; a sitting area and wet bar connected the two spaces and served as the public space accessing the sundeck. French doors leading to the master bath were installed to mesh with the design of the French doors leading to the sundeck.
Smooth access was gained to the entire floor by paring the floor's six bedrooms down to four; it also added space for a laundry room and larger, remodeled baths.
The spacious third floor has been transformed into a media room with a 130-inch theatre-style television, wet bar and operable skylight; ample room is available for billiard and game tables.
Pinsonneault respected Albright’s symmetrical lines in the houses exterior, yet established a more defined sense of place with the installation of a three-foot perimeter wall and six Phoenix date palms. Windows were enhanced with striped black-and-white canvass awnings. The filigree of the wrought iron gates, a new addition, was inspired by gates at other Coronado homes. "That's what's really nice about working with a historic home," Pinsonneault said. "All the elements are there. You don't have to reinvent the wheel; you just need to be observant."
The courtyard between the main house and guest house now features a rectangular swimming pool with clipped corners, reminiscent of the period, and a raised central Jacuzzi; its design mirroring the Albright architecture.
The courtyard's walkway was preserved; artificial turf replaced the former grass. Kentia palms, avocado and orange trees, bougainvillea and camellias were retained in the plantscape. Birds of paradise were moved and reused; mondo grass with long slender leaves was added for an elegant decorative border.
The guesthouse's kitchen was updated, the masters painted and all
floors restored. The 18-inch frescos running around the upper perimeter of each master were retained. One depicts San Diego historical scenes and the other, the French countryside. "They're one of the most amazing features of the entire property!" said Pinsonneault.
Aurich noted that the property is one of the few beach compounds in all of San Diego County."There aren't that many families who need 10 bedrooms in a beach house, but for those who do, there is no other choice in the county. With a 180 degree unobstructed view of Coronado Beach, voted the best in America in 2012, and being just five houses down from the world famous Hotel Del Coronado, it is the premier location on the Island. The home has been completely restored and is perhaps the most significant historic property in Coronado. As such, it was granted a Mill Act designation and receives a significant tax savings on the annual property taxes in return for retaining the architectural integrity of the homes’ exterior. This is truly an irreplaceable treasure and an opportunity to own an extraordinary property.”