When Jenson Turner purchased a home in airy, oceanside Malibu, his wife, Ana, hadn't yet seen it. "The property was originally supposed to be a flip," Jenson, a high-end residential developer and co-founder of Aksel Development, tells Hunker. "Once we both had the opportunity to be at the house together, we started envisioning our life at the house with a family and fell in love with the idea."
Nine years prior, the couple met when attending Malibu's Pepperdine University, so moving back to the area was always on the brain — especially after the birth of their son JJ. However, while they both loved where the four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 3,654-square-foot home was located, it needed some work.
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"The home was very traditional when we purchased it, so we felt that we could transition the exterior to have a 'modern farmhouse' vibe," says Ana, an architectural designer who just launched the company Miisa Studio. "We then pushed for a clean, Scandinavian-inspired design on the interior, which is a style Jenson and I have always loved."
The first thing that had to go? The two sizable fireplaces that blocked the home's ocean view. Those were replaced with large openings fitted with sliding glass pocket doors that beautifully frame the duo's kitchen and living area filled with cool neutrals, clean lines, and minimalist wood furnishings and cabinetry.
Understandably, a large portion of their budget went toward making the expansive windows and doors happen.
In this open concept area, you'll find Jenson's favorite design element: "I love the board form post in the kitchen/living area," he explains, "as we took an unattractive weight-bearing wood post and were able to make it into a design feature by wrapping it with lightweight concrete."
Though Ana and Jenson have several Danish and Swedish decor companies they love, the pandemic presented a challenge when it came to sourcing items in this style. "Because we started furnishing the home from 2020 to 2021, many of our go-to design companies were affected by the pandemic and shipping complications," Ana says. "We then found that we were able to find many beautiful Scandinavian-inspired pieces through larger companies." This included brands such as Blu Dot, West Elm, and CB2.
In addition to providing a modern, clutter-free space, being minimalist with their decor choices had another benefit. It also helped the couple cut down on costs.
While Jenson's favorite area of the home is the breakfast nook — which is where he's been working, waiting until the office space is complete — Ana loves JJ's nursery. "It has beautiful morning light," she explains, "and the neutral colors with the warmth of the textures throughout the space creates a very peaceful environment to sit and read/play with him throughout the day."
Within the nursery, Ana is especially drawn to the sentimental books, artwork, and decor given to them by loved ones. "I usually want a very specific aesthetic look throughout the house, but I love how each piece in the room that is used as decor has value and meaning to us as a family," she says.
The entire renovation took around 12 to 15 months to complete, mostly because Ana and Jenson were commuting from Las Vegas, which is where their primary residence is located. But since mid-2021, the family of three has been living in and loving their Malibu home.
When they're not spending time at home or digitally daydreaming about Scandinavian decor from outlets like Nordic Nest, Stowed, Skandium, and Lekker Home, you can find the family at the Trancas Country Market and Malibu Country Mart. Of the latter, Ana says, "It has always been Jenson and I's favorite hangout since we were in college, and has such a great, relaxed vibe while also having many things to do."
Soon, you'll also be able to spot the family perusing a new development called Malibu Park at Cross Creek. "We are very excited about the new center going in by Malibu Country Mart, which is being designed by Marmol Radziner, one of our favorite architecture firms in L.A. for single-family homes," the couple says. "It will be fun to see what they do for a retail center in Malibu."