Enter the Argue Residence, and you are greeted with a perfect blending of contemporary attitude with classic design suited for family living. This is no happy coincidence, but the direct result of a collaborative effort between John and Julie Argue and Starr Design Group.
“We knew there was something unique about Jonathan Starr the first time we met him,” said John Argue. “He’s very accessible. He had no preconceptions of what we wanted, so he was able to bridge our ideas for a home that is both contemporary and classic.”
“We wanted a modern design, but one which was belied by warmth,” added John’s wife, Julie. “We shared our living needs with Jon and he put it to paper.”
The warmth of the home is achieved largely through a symphony of wood, including mahogany, walnut, cedar, and Douglas fir, that flows throughout the interior and spills onto top-floor decks that provide breathtaking views of the Southern California coast. Sandstone and other natural materials complement the home’s beach surroundings. A gently arching roof, reminiscent of the hull of a ship or of the undulating waves beneath it, forms the spine of the house.
John points to the home’s one-of-a-kind roof as a perfect example of the Starr Design Group’s ability to balance and blend their tastes. “Julie wanted arches somewhere in the residence. So Jon made her an arch – not in the traditional location of a doorway or window – but stretched across the home as our roof. This element alone makes the house absolutely unique in our community.”
The 5,400 square-foot five bedroom, five bathroom residence leverages high ceilings, open hallways, and large common areas to ensure the Argue family always feels connected. The main room on the first floor is connected vertically to the second floor via a charming wrap-around catwalk. “No matter how big the house seems, you always feel like everyone’s nearby,” said Julie.
Expansive walls of glass invite the outdoors in, with the first floor windows sliding open to an intimate courtyard. The glass sliders fulfill John’s desire to blur the line between outdoor beauty and indoor living. “I wanted more than just a door that opens up to a deck,” said John. “When we open up the sliders, you could effectively throw an 80 foot pass from one side of the house to the other,” added the father of three young sons.
In collaborating with Jonathan Starr, the Argues were impressed with his sense of dedication and personal attention. While they had heard complaints from friends regarding other designers and general contractors, they were grateful for Jon’s ability to work with a team of contractors and designers to ensure the vision of their home was realized. “Jon wanted to make sure we were 100 percent happy, and he didn’t stop until we were,” said Julie. “He showed tremendous patience as well as energy. He really does put the customer first.”
“He’s an absolute talent,” added John. “To this day, we have people knocking on our door asking for the name of our designer. Those are the times when I realize we did something special.”
When Steve Robinson was designing his home, he didn’t want to be bothered with the details. Any details. He needed a design firm that listened to his needs and who he could trust to implement his vision. According to Robinson, a busy CEO of a growing technology company, he found his partner in Starr Design Group.
“I wanted a house that was aesthetically beautiful and which I felt equally comfortable showcasing to professional business associates as well as walking around barefoot after a morning of surfing,” said Robinson. “I have a dichotomous lifestyle and needed a home to reflect both sides of my life.”
Robinson turned to Jonathan Starr after working with other designers and finding it difficult for them to comprehend his vision. “Jon got it right away,” added Robinson. “He showed me multiple looks of my home, all of which hit the money. When I saw his vision, I let him decide how to make it all work. Jon has a solution for everything. Nothing is too hard.”
The three-story home has panoramic views from Malibu to Catalina, and boasts one of the best walk streets in Manhattan Beach. A theme of open space runs throughout the home, with door systems that move entire walls to bring the ocean air in. Rich mahogany and bleached Douglas fir showcase the interior’s natural beauty and overflow to the outside balcony. A downstairs office and playroom leads directly to the beach.
“Once Jon put design on paper, I said I wasn’t involved anymore. He took responsibility for everything – from hardware on the cabinets and showerheads to building the house,” said Robinson. “Jon connected with me on my lifestyle. He’s also good at keeping me out of the building process. He is unbelievably honest and measures success not in money, but in the homes he designs."