Musician Andrew McMahon’s Quintessential California Bungalow Gets a Bold, Modern Rebirth

Musician Andrew McMahon’s Quintessential California Bungalow Gets a Bold, Modern Rebirth

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Name: Andrew, Kelly, and Cecilia McMahon—and Doris, the family dog
Location: South Orange County, California
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years, owned

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Our historic California bungalow has been reborn and we love it! As a musician (Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness), I spend as much time on the road as I do at our home. My love of travel started early, growing up all over the U.S., however California has been home for most of my life. As far back as I can remember I’ve always dreamed of owning a quintessential California bungalow. Finding a historic home, built in the ’20s, when so much of Southern California was undeveloped, was really appealing to my wife and I. When we walked through the door of our current home, we knew this was the one! Although the original structure was smaller than we liked, the location and original details were perfect.

For us, hitting the road is a family affair; Kelly (my wife), Cecilia (my daughter) and Doris (the family dog) usually travel with me when our band is on tour. So when we decided it was time to expand, the goal was to make our home feel like a retreat, a place for relaxation and inspiration. We brought in Los Angeles interior designer Kim Hayden Holt, who worked with us on a previous house, to reimagine the space. Taking inspiration from my Pinterest boards, and my love for geometric elements, Kim introduced strong graphic statements through materials, art, and custom design elements in each and every space. Our “new” bungalow is laid-back, unconventional, cozy, inviting, and fun. Every space is beautiful yet functional, as Kim seamlessly blended both my wife’s beach bohemian style and my mid-century modern sensibility to create a compelling interior that captures who we are.

Each room speaks a unique language; the sun-filled bedroom feels like a tranquil hideout. We love the whimsical hanging chair where Kelly reads to Cecilia. Behind the bed, the chevron patterned white oak and lacquered wood focal wall creates a cool visual rhythm. The vintage airline poster circa 1955 captures the wonder of travel from the mid-century era, and combined with the textural rugs and sheepskin throws it creates a bedroom that is calm, cool, and comforting.

The light, bright open kitchen and dining area have become the soul of our house and are always in use as a hub for gathering family and friends. Kim personalized this space with artwork from one of our favorite photographers, Jimmy Marble, as well as a mid-century Saarinen style dining table and chairs, mirrored panels in the cabinets and a blue (our favorite color) open-ended kitchen island.

We each wanted to have a private escape in our home, mine is my studio space, Kelly has her office incorporating a built-in desk, a reading nook, and a place to exercise, and our daughter has her own teepee in her bedroom. The dining room and bedroom open to the backyard where we as a family love spending time. The outdoor covered patio is one of the most coveted spaces on the property. During the day it is the perfect place to catch up on email or read a great book. In the evening the space transforms into a lively environment for dinner with friends, a family movie night, or to just hangout by the welcoming fire. We look forward to coming home after being on a long tour, it is the perfect home for us and a comfortable chill atmosphere to recharge our spirit.

“For the McMahons’ home the goal was to create a personal oasis that captured the clients’ adventurous spirit while being comfortable and functional,” explains our designer Kim Hayden Holt. “We are always telling stories by the colors, materials, and objects we surround ourselves with, for the McMahons, that meant calming blues tones (their favorite) mixed with crisp salt-air whites, natural woods mixed with bold details, and personal elements such as amazing artwork and found objects picked up on a stroll along the local beach. Nature served as inspiration throughout the house. When selecting wall coverings for the dining room, inspiration came from Andrew’s band, ‘Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness,’; after all what better way to start your day than with breakfast in the Enchanted Forest! The graphic treatments on the floors and walls make the interior spaces perfect backdrops for creating those great Instagram stories.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Kelly, my wife leans more towards the vintage and ornate and I’ve always leaned more modern.

Inspiration: Merging the influences of the original architecture with a fresh and bohemian design. We wanted the house to be fun and functional. The goal was to park the cars on the weekend and know we could hide out there and feel like we were on vacation and we do! It was also important that we maintain the original façade of the house to blend in with the neighborhood.

Favorite Element: I love the kitchen/dining area. There are so many thoughtful touches in that space and it has become a backdrop for some amazing memories. From an aesthetic standpoint, I love the brass inlays and chevron detail on the island, the custom glass in the cupboards, and the floor detail on the way to the outdoor spaces; it’s all a visual treat.

Biggest Challenge: Working on the fly. When we originally submitted plans to the city Kelly was pregnant, however we didn’t really know what being parents was like or how it would impact our current lifestyle. Since our home is historic, the approval process from the city took forever and our needs changed a lot. We originally brought Kim in to help us rework the main living area and we did that project first before tackling the addition. We fell in love with the design so much that we turned the project over to her room by room. Getting all the trades on the same page during that process was not always easy, especially being on the road. It was an intense workflow for everyone but I’m so glad we did it in the end.

Proudest DIY: The studio. Designing that space became my pet project and it was a lot of fun experimenting with pieces of furniture and art (that had once lived in the main house) to find the right layout that inspired me creatively. There was a lot of trial and error, but it was inspiring to take ownership of the place where I create.

Biggest Indulgence: The custom cabinetry throughout the house. Because the home is relatively small we invested a lot in storage that was both functional and really beautiful. I always smile at the attention to detail found in each of those pieces. Kelly wanted to incorporate the original door knobs and other details of the house and it turned out beautifully.

Best Advice: Make a budget and lay out your priorities early so the costs don’t get out of control. Custom cabinetry and other custom design elements can add up quickly, so talk about what is the most important and splurge on those items.


Interior Designer / Styling – Kim Hayden Holt
Photography – Erika Bierman Photography

Kitchen –Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain / Farrow & Ball Cooks Blue (cabinets) Behr Ultra-Pure White
Living Room – Behr Ultra-Pure White / Waterscape
Kelly’s Office – Behr Sparrow / Behr Ultra-Pure White
Guest Bathroom – Custom Lacquer Blue / Behr Ultr-Pure White
Master Bathroom – Ralph Lauren Race Lane / Behr Ultra-Pure White

Panton Flowerpot Pendant Lights – Danish Design Store
Lucent Round Mirror – Restoration Hardware
Alice Gray Wallpaper – Majvillan/Sweden
Vintage Mid-Century Slat Bench – Echoes of Retro/Etsy
Planter/Walnut Plinth – Modernica
Original Art/Print – Patrick Concepcion
Custom Drapery/Roman Blinds – The Shade Store
Floating Entry Cabinet – Imago Furniture/Etsy
Arteriors Mercury Sconce/Antique Brass – Lumens Light and Living
Oak & Wenge Wood Hooks – World of Hooks/Etsy

Plura Flush Mount Light – Cerno/YLighting
Sheepskin Throw – Natural Sheepskin/Denmark
Fireplace Surround Tile – Ann Sacks
Vintage Moller Chairs – Archive 20th Century
Vintage Spindle Side Table – Archive 20th Century
Sofa – True Modern
Vintage Coffee Table – Danish Modern L.A.
Custom Drapery – The Shade Store
Star Fireplace Screen – Ebay
Reclaimed Wood Art – Ethos Woodworks/Etsy
Wall Hanging Wood Art – Totem Colorblocks/Etsy
Wall Peg – Cambridge Handicraft/Etsy
Vintage Brownie Camera – Third Shift Vintage
Vintage “11” Sign Numbers – Third Shift Vintage
Original Art/Print – Matthew Allen
Original Photographic Print – “Swim Team” Jimmy Marble

Bola Suspension Chandelier – Lightology (exact product unavailable; similar product can be found at ylighting)
Woods/Onxy Wallpaper – Cole & Son/Viesso
Graphic Broken Stripe Colorblock Pillows – Celine and Kate/Etsy
Natural Grasscloth Wallpaper – Serena & Lily
Case Study Planter – Design Public
Custom Drapery – The Shade Store
Dinnerware/Jars Tourron Grey – Crate & Barrel
Tulip Table/Walnut – Rove Concepts
Executive Side Chairs (Custom Color) – Rove Concepts

Brushed Brass Cabinet Pulls – Lewis Dolan/My Knobs
Farmhouse Fireclay White Sink – Build
Faucet/Main and Prep/East Linear – Newport Brass
Fireclay Drop-In Prep Sink – Alfi
Double Oven/Microwave – Whirlpool
Denim Rug – Dash & Albert/Layla Grace (currently unavailable)
Adorne Undercabinet Lighting/Mobile Phone Cradle – Legrand
Counter Depth Refrigerator – Whirlpool
Wine and Beverage Center – Edgestar/Wine Cooler Direct
Hexagon Cabinet Pulls – Schoolhouse Electric
Bentwood Counter Stools – West Elm (currently unavailable)
36″ Cooktop – Whirlpool
Countertop/Pure White – Caesarstone
Pacific Hexagon Tile / Encaustic Cement Tile – Cement Tile Shop
Mid-Century Catherine Holm Lotus Bowl – Vintage
Tom Dixon Beat Pendant Lights – YLighting
Subway Tile – South Cypress Tile
Custom Upholstery Window Seat – Gamino Décor
Custom Screen Printed Mirror Panels

Cherry Wood King Bed – Vermont Woods Studios
Capiz Shell Ceiling Light – Serena & Lily
Silai Pouf – Gandia Blasco / 2Modern
Hanging Rattan Chair – Serena & Lily
Round Cotton Jute Rug – Serena & Lily
Original 1955 Qantas Travel Poster – I Desire Vintage Posters
Chambray Reversible Bedding – Unison
Cedar & Moss Globe Pendant Lights – Rejuvenation
Mid-Century Console – West Elm
Lacquered Wall Mounted Nightstands – Custom
Danish Stool – Design Within Reach
Lacquer Decorative Tray – West Elm
Acacia Turn Table – Blu Dot
Custom Drapery/Roman Blinds – The Shade Store
Seeing Diamonds Decorative Pillows – Houzz (item currently unavailable)
White Oak Veneer/Focal Wall – Treefrog/CPS Garten Corporation
Aluminum “U” Channels/Focal Wall – Custom

Ellerbe Sconce – Schoolhouse Electric
Faucet – Newport Brass East Linear – Faucet Direct
Shower/Tub Kit – Newport Brass East Linear
Countertop/Pure White – Caesarstone
Shower Splash Panel – Custom
Toilet / Duravit Vero Wallmounted – Supply
Actuator Panel/Mechanism – Geberit
Electric Palms Original Photographic Print – Kim Hayden Holt
Kohler Maestro Bathtub – Kohler/Faucet Depot
Oxford Floor/Wall Tile – Cement Tile Shop
Subway Tile – South Cypress Tile
Black Allied Brass Wall Mounted Makeup Mirror – Amazon
Vanity Backlit Wall Mirror – Custom

Downtown Minimalist Plug-In Sconces – Barnlight Electric Company
Bedding – Unison
Kartell Componibili Round Storage – All Modern
Wall Railing Shelving – Land of Nod
Capiz Orb Pendant Light – West Elm
Upholstered Polka Dot Headboard – Custom
Knoll Risom Child’s Chair – Smart Furniture
Stilnovo Agnes Kids Round Writing Table – Wayfair
Lucky Star Wallpaper – Sissy+Marley
Custom Drapery – The Shade Store
Hand Knit Pouf – GieMarGa/Etsy

Toilet / Duravit Vero Wallmounted – Supply
Actuator Panel/Mechanism – Geberit
Kohler Greek 4ft Soaking Drop-in Bathub – All Modern
Thomas Paul Seahorse Cotton Shower Curtain – All Modern
Industrial Milan Cement Tile/Floor – Clé Tile
French Grey Tile/Pony Wall – Heath Ceramics
Subway Wall Tile – South Cypress Tile
Priya Faucet/Satin Brass – Newport Brass/Faucet Direct
Priya Hooks/Towel Ring – Newport Brass/Ferguson
Shower Splash Panel – Custom
Countertop/Pure White – Caesarstone
Antique Brass Hexagon Mirror – West Elm
Globe Pendant Light Fixture – Rejuvenation
StepUP Stool – Spring Modern
Original Photographic Print – Jimmy Marble

Softline Sky Blue Swivel Chair – ABC Carpet & Home
Michiel Van Der Kley/Softline Bingo Pouf – Danish Design Store
Hay About A Chair – Amara Living Ltd.
Adesso Director Floor Lamp – Appliances Connection
Alto Satin Copper Ceiling Mount Light Fixture – Cedar & Moss (copper no longer available)
Custom Drapery – The Shade Store
Flor Carpet Tile – Flor
Wally Task Lamp – West Elm (currently unavailable)
Tom Dixon Copper Desk Accessories – Lumens Light and Living

Vintage Curtis Jere Sunburst Sculpture – Contemporama Modern
Innit Arm Chairs/Gold-Black – Gilt
Platform Reclaimed Teak Sofa/Daybed – Teak Warehouse
Capiz Orb Pendant Light – West Elm
Santorini Brass Lanterns – Restoration Hardware
Platform Reclaimed Teak Table – Teak Warehouse
Ceramic Dual Glaze Cube Table – Seasonal Living/Perigold
Blox Galvanized Planters/Various Sizes – CB2
Loloi Outdoor Rug – Wayfair
Turquoise Tile/Fireplace Surround – Tierra y Fuego
Yucca Poles – Nettleton Hollow
Paver Tiles – Mexican Tile and Stone Company
Moroccan Wool Poufs – Antevasins
Outdoor Turf – Tiger Turf

Mid Century Mini Desk – West Elm
Vintage Danish Credenza
Moroccan Pom-Pom Throw/Blanket – Etsy
Roar+Rabbit Ripple Table Lamp – West Elm

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