10 Thing To Consider When Building a New Home on the California Coast

10 Thing To Consider When Building a New Home on the California Coast 1707 2560 White Sands Design/Build

Thinking of building a beach house and feeling a little overwhelmed?

These questions and tips will help you find your bearings on the California coast.

Building Your Dream House Stone and clapboard entryway with Dutch door on renovated Cape Cod Beach House on California Coast

1. Renovate or demolish?

There are plenty of beach houses for sale in California. If you’re building your dream home in Los Angeles County, the parcel you purchase will almost certainly have a house on it. Do you want to tear down the existing house and build from the ground up, or do you want to remodel aging housing stock that already exists?

2. Think beach views.

Site placement and strategic design are important to capitalize on those beach views that drew you to the California coast in the first place. We recommend putting the most frequently used living spaces on the top floor, where you get the best access to the Pacific sunset.

3. Closed or open floor plan?

Open floor plans are a common choice for beach houses. They offer:

  • Easy flow—of people, light, and  energy!
  •  Spaciousness and breathing room

Closed floor plans have benefits, too.

  • More privacy
  • Specific rooms for specific functions
  • A cozy, comforting vibe

Or you can mix and match.

  • High ceilings make closed floor plans feel more airy and less claustrophobic.
  • Glass dividers offer some separation while still allowing light to flow.
  • Removable walls and floor to ceiling doors let you customize your space from moment to moment.

4. Build your dream house specifically for your family.

  • Do you need a large outdoor space for entertaining and making the most of the mild coastal weather?
  • Who in the family cooks, and what’s important in their kitchen?
  • Where does everyone want to be when?
  • Do you want to watch your kids playing outside from the living room window?
  • Do your kids do homework at the kitchen island while you make dinner?
  • Should your laundry double as a craft room, where you tackle messy projects?
  • Do you hate when the sun floods your master bedroom before you’re ready to get up?

The beauty of custom building or a complete remodel is that you get to create a space that perfectly fits your family’s needs.

Building your dream house Two little girls running across their grassy backyard in front of a playhouse on the California Coast

5. Decide what’s most important: design, budget, or schedule.

We all want all the things, but at some point, we have to compromise. If you need your California beach house sooner rather than later, you’re going to pay more. If top design, luxury, and the best materials are most important, it may take longer.

Where are you willing to compromise?

7. Consider local zoning.

There are lots of residential building rules to follow in Southern California.

Los Angeles County’s South Bay has 15 different cities, each with their own zoning ordinances. These rules may influence where you want to buy property.

8. Maintenance matters.

Living on the California coast can be hard on your home’s interior and exterior. Are you good about keeping up with home maintenance, or would you rather not worry about it? Certain materials hold up to sun, sand, and salt better than others.

9. For interior design, go with timeless over trendy and trendy over fads.

A trend ebbs and flows over time, but a fad is something that happens and isn’t coming back. If you love chevron, put it on a pillow. If you want something inlaid in your parquet floor, herringbone is a better choice.

10. Hire your Design Build team first.

Hiring a Design Build team before hiring an architect streamlines the process and makes your life easier.

  • Design Build saves you money.
  • We know the best architects for the type of project YOU want to build.
  • The entire process, from permit to construction, stays more organized.

Looking for a good Design Build team to build your dream house? We know just the one!


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Thanks for reading,

Hawlie Ohe

Hawlie headshot for home air purifiers

Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.