House Tour: Tracy & Rex's Southbay Home

House Tour: Tracy & Rex's Southbay Home

Rebecca Orlov
Nov 7, 2008

Name: Tracy & Rex
Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
Size: 3400 sq/ft
Years lived in: Own / 3+ years


We are happy to share the home of Tracy, Rex and family. Their pretty Southbay home by the beach is comfortable in style and vibe. We love the pulled together neutral tones and stylish yet simple decor accents carried throughout the Cape-Cod style house. A big change for the family this year was renovating the kitchen. Inspired by a movie, Tracy opened up the space, created a functioning island, added appliances she had wanted and created french doors out to the large patio and bar (perfect for entertaining, bbqs and fun!) Check out more of Tracy's inspiration for her home after the jump.


AT Survey:

My/Our style: I like to have pieces that are comfortable and inviting for my family, including our pets. I also like a few things that are a bit more modern or contemporary and I generally gravitate towards earthy/minimalist colors. There's nothing worse to me than walking into a home and not wanting to sit on a single piece of furniture for more than 5 minutes. I also like to throw in a few beach elements, nothing too over the top, but enough to incorporate our surroundings (living by the beach). Plus I've also been in many houses where the kids' stuff overran the house. I like to have areas for my two young kids to play but keep the rest of the house tidy.

Inspiration: When we decided to remodel our kitchen, I fell in love with the the house and kitchen from the movie "Something's Gotta Give". During my research I found that a lot of people felt the same way. My house is Cape Cod style and I felt that kitchen design would work well in my house. It was bright and open, which I desperately desired too. And it felt "beachy". I also loved the furniture and decor in the movie "The Holiday" (Cameron Diaz' house). It was decorated with such a great mix of big comfy couches, minimalist colors (I'm huge into beige, white, brown and grey) and very clean lines. It was also very uncluttered, which I also love and strive for in my home, no easy feat with kids.

Favorite Element: I really love how my kitchen and the rest of the remodel turned out, the house feels almost new and it's 20 years old! The space feels much more open now and I love how the family room and kitchen are the center of the house. I can see out to all of the backyard to watch the kids from the kitchen or family room. I also love how we have created an outdoor space that was once under utilized. It has more indoor elements to it (an outdoor kitchen island). We still have a few more things to do to make it even better (outdoor furniture, for one).

Biggest Challenge: At first it was figuring out what I wanted. It's so overwhelming just starting out, I really just immersed myself in magazines and the internet. I watched my fair share of HGTV and went to open houses to get ideas. I researched for almost two years before we were ready to take the plunge and afford the remodel. We had a decent but by no means extravagant budget to work within, so it was more research to figure out how to do it without spending a fortune. We also had to work within the same footprint and design a layout around load-bearing walls & posts while still trying to open up the space as much as possible, without taking away cabinet or counter space. I will say, it was something to experience going through a remodel without a kitchen for 3 months and with 2 young kids and a few animals. Very glad it's over!

What Friends Say: Friends like how I've decorated it and how comfortable and homey it feels. My friends who have seen the before-and-after are amazed at the transformation.

Biggest Embarrassment: Oh, there are still quite a few actually. Our home still, unfortunately, has quite a few 80's elements to it - all of which are now confined to the upstairs. We have bad oak cabinets & fluorescent box lights still in both upstairs bathrooms…ick. That will be the next remodel attempt but we're taking a break for a while. We would like to paint the house too.

Proudest DIY: Doing my kitchen. I found and picked out everything - every light fixture, knob and all the materials, including the base moldings. Plus I found all the right people to do it. By doing this research and work ourselves, it enabled us to stretch our dollars further. We didn't have to hire and pay someone to do all the legwork.

Biggest Indulgence: I would have to say the appliances. Some of the "lower" priced ones I looked at weren't that much cheaper really, and they didn't have the same cache for resale. Plus, I've always really wanted them so I made it work in our budget.

Best advice: To replace all of our hardwood floors. We originally were going to match the floor that was in there. Half the bottom level had 2" thin-planked oak floors, and the rest had this horrific white ceramic tile through the kitchen & down bath. To save money, we were going to just replace the tile by matching the existing wood, and then sand it all down to a darker color because the lighter oak was so dated. Once we started researching it with a floor specialist, we found that the old oak didn't exist with exactly the same width or height, and was really ridiculously expensive. For not much more, we found we could replace the entire floor with more contemporary wider planks, which we really wanted anyway. It made the biggest difference and it really feels like a new house now.

Dream source: I do love domino magazine. They have really great resources and decorating ideas, even though some can be expensive. Sunset magazine has helpful kitchen articles. I covet a few things from DWR. They have some great investment pieces I would love to incorporate into my house one day.




  • Sub-Zero fridge
  • Viking range
  • GE microwave
  • Kitchenaid toaster-oven


  • Cabinet pulls/kitchen: Home Expo
  • Pulls/bathroom: Ikea
  • Bathroom showerhead/faucet/fixtures: Restoration Hardware
  • Kitchen faucet: hansgrohe; bathroom sink: duravit


  • Crate and Barrel
  • Room and Board
  • West Elm
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Sometimes local stores.
  • I keep it easy and I find they are generally affordable, and I like to look online. I don't have the time to shop through stores very often.


  • Pendant lights: Restoration Hardware
  • Floor lamps: Crate &Barrel and West Elm
  • Table lamp: Ikea
  • Hall sconce: Lighting Universe

Rugs and Carpets:

  • Family room: Expo
  • Living room: I still need one!

Tiles and Stone:

  • Bathroom floors/shower: limestone
  • Shower floor: river rocks
  • Kiitchen countertops: Caeserstone in concrete


  • A slow process…we mostly have photography up (from various family members & friends)
  • I bought a small drawing off Etsy, which is a great site and I would like to get more.


  • Teak

(Thanks, Tracy & Rex!)


Photos by Rebecca Orlov

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