The Sunset Idea House | Q&A w/ Sarah Gaffney & James Leasure


Modern Home Tours is beach-bound next weekend for an exciting new collaboration with Sunset Magazine, the leading resource for home design and outdoor living in the West. Together, we’re hosting the first ever LA Beach Cities Home & Garden Tour. On Saturday, August 16th, stick your feet in the sand and explore six distinctive properties throughout the coastal neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Along with a collection of homes jointly-curated by Modern Home Tours and Sunset’s home and garden experts, the tour will feature the Sunset Idea House. Situated right on Manhattan Beach – a quintessential California beach town – the home’s backyard opens up to surf, sun, and beach volleyball. The spacious 4,600 square-foot Idea House was designed with warm modern interiors and a distinctly California vibe, and to inspire those who tour its lot.

We sat down with Sarah Gaffney at Sunset and our own James Leasure to get more scoop on the Idea House, how the LA Beach Cities Home & Garden Tour came to be, and what tour-goers can expect next weekend. (Oh — and be sure to get your tickets, which include a wine and cheese reception and meet-and-greet at the Idea House!)

Q&A w/ Sarah Gaffney, Sunset Magazine

What is the Sunset Idea House?  How does it reflect the current state of contemporary California living?

Since 1998, Sunset has built houses that represent what is next in home design and construction in states throughout the West. These homes embody the Sunset ethos: indoor/outdoor living, flowing spaces, use of sustainable materials, drought-tolerant landscaping, and innovative use of space. The Manhattan Beach Idea House will be featured in our November 2014 issue.

What are your favorite aspects of the Idea House?  What should tour-goers look out for?

The first floor of the home really epitomizes the Sunset lifestyle: light-filled living spaces that open up to the outdoors. The designers used texture as a design element throughout the home, with wallpaper, textiles, tile, and paint. Also, the art in the home is fantastic and all sourced through artisans and makers in Los Angeles. It’s an exciting representation of what is happening in the LA art scene now.


Who will be present at the after-tour reception?  Who can tour-goers expect to meet?

Sunset will host a wine and cheese reception at the house, where designers Krista Schrock and David John Dick of DISC Interiors in Los Angeles will host a tour of the Idea House.

Do you have any insight on next year’s Idea House?  How do you choose locations for the Idea House?

Sunset is thrilled to announce Denver as its 2016 Idea House location. When scouting locations, we look for people and places that are innovating in architecture, design, and construction. Denver—the gateway to the West—is leading the nation in the housing recovery. The city’s entrepreneurial spirit (and love of the outdoors) embodies the Sunset brand and how we view life differently in the West.


Q&A w/ James Leasure, President, Modern Home Tours

How did Modern Home Tours and Sunset Magazine partner?

I was shooting our Silicon Valley tour earlier this year, and I found out that Sunset Magazine had sent a a representative on the Tour.  I was fortunate to meet her at one of the homes, and we began discussing the possibilities of coordinating on a future tour.  As it turned out, their 2014 Idea House was in the LA Beach Cities area, and we have a great history of tours there. It seemed like a natural fit, so we assisted in building a tour around the Idea House.


What can tour-goers who have been on previous Modern Home Tours Beach Cities tours expect to be different because of Sunset’s involvement?

I think the most obvious difference is the presence of the Idea House and the after-tour reception at the Idea House.  Typically our tours feature the architecture only, but with Sunset’s involvement we’ve been able to add on a terrific post-event reception where tour-goers can meet some of the people involved in the design and construction of a state-of-the-art modern home.

What stands out to you in the Idea House?

I haven’t seen the finished product yet, so I can’t wait to go on the tour, but the images look fantastic.  The workspace with the full-wall ocean graphic looks like the ideal place to settle in and do some high-concept creative thinking, so I’m eager to see that in person and maybe even steal the idea for my own home office!


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