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A Sense of Permanence

A designer creates a modern second home in San Clemente for her Paris-based family.

Helene Cornell

Interior design: Dupuis Design
626.327.6226 :: dupuis-design.com
Construction: Malone Brothers
Construction Inc.
:: 760.749.9281
Kitchen design: Bulthaup
619.237.5510 :: bulthaup.com
Lighting design: Digital Decora
714.549.8400 :: digitaldecora.com

There is something to be said for the desire to feel rooted in a place. For about 16 years, Peggy Dupuis and her family in Paris would return to her native Southern California to spend summers here. Yet, no matter how they enjoyed their visits, they wanted a place which they could treat as a second home for part of the year, and which could serve as the base in the U.S. for Dupuis’ interior design firm.

Three years ago, they found what they were looking for in San Clemente.

“The modest lot was located in a small, peaceful private estate overlooking the sea and canyons – exactly what we always wanted,” Dupuis says.

The next step was to find an architect that could fulfill the Dupuises’ residential wish list using a contemporary vernacular, and they decided on Dale Naegle, best known for his work on the Sam Bell Pavilion in Black’s Beach. Dupuis and her husband forged a unique transatlantic connection with the La Jolla-based architect, communicating primarily via e-mail with him.

“Architecturally, whether it’s the interior or exterior, our initial goal was to maximize the use of the view whether one is inside or outside the house, utilize the natural light and natural sea breeze,” Dupuis says.  “We wanted to obtain a feeling of being outdoors even though one is indoors and vice versa.”

Naegle, Dupuis adds, achieved all those by “using the void, with the heightened sensation of open space and transparency in the design of the house.” One of the clever visual strategies that Naegle used to enhance that inside-meets-outside relationship was to extend the roofline over the pool, giving that outdoor space an indoor atmosphere.

Once the architectural canvas was complete, Dupuis set about decorating on the minimalist side. She wanted “a no-clutter, well-organized and totally functional house,” with no visible electrical cables anywhere.

With lots of vertical spaces, it made sense to go primarily with white. “I used white to further illuminate the rooms and this made the house look even bigger,” she says. Case in point is the Bulthaup kitchen that’s nearly all white save for the counter.
Yet, there are places for color.

“Matisse said that colors must be carefully thought of, dreamed of and imagined,” Dupuis says. “I do the same, when I choose any materials, furniture, fabrics, textures, etc.
“The contemporary aspect of the house had to be given character, spirit and visual strength. That is why I used a strong passionate red (yes, my fetish color) outside around the entry door, on one of the featured curved walls inside the house, and extended it outside on the border of the pool with a red Bizzassa mosaic tiles. This warm vibrant color created a wonderful atmosphere not only inside the house but outside as well.”

In the living room, armless white Baltus sofas are decorated with colorful hand embroidered pillows by Lindell & Co. “I love them because of their happy, swirly, and abstract patterns,” Dupuis says. “The old-fashioned hand embroidery is just fabulous.”

Black also figures prominently in the home’s palette. In the master suite, undoubtedly the must-see room of the house, a round white custom bed sits against a black and white wall. “I found this gorgeous black wallpaper from my favorite brand, Elitis, which has the look of molten pearly glass and surreal cherry tree blossom.” It’s striking and contrasts with the white leather bed and white lacquered night tables.

She carried over the juxtaposition into the adjacent master bath, where black glossy tiles on the wall and backsplash highlight the white vanity and Duravit sinks.

For all the chic sophistication of black in the master suite, Dupuis used it in a relaxed and fun way in the family room, covering one wall with a black chalkboard on which “everyone can have fun and express themselves,” she says. She finished the room with her signature red on a Butterfly chair and knitted poufs.

“A contemporary home can be very cold and I had to make this house feel like a home for my family and guests,” she says. “I had to neutralize and carefully harmonize the interior as well as the exterior of the house, giving it warmth and a friendly atmosphere, thus making this house a joyful place to be in.”

With the decorating completed earlier this year, Dupuis and her family flew in from Paris last month to enjoy their home. There are odds and ends left to do, butthere’s a feeling of permanence, which is all that they need for an endless summer.

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