Sweet

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PAUL WALcHENBAcH

All over the mAp:
A clAssic south redondo home with A globAl vibe

W r i tte n By: pam ela co rant e-hanSen

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as a boy growing up in the hague, netherlands, paul Walchenbach’s mother would heat enough water to fill a small metal basin in the middle of the kitchen so that her children could bathe. today, a doublewalled porcelain tub is the focus of a stately, marblelined bathroom in Walchenbach’s South redondo Beach home. a cabinetmaker by trade and a general contractor by profession, Walchenbach has combined comfort and classic style in the 1928 Spanish revival home he shares with his wife, Wendy. the couple has filled their 1800-square-foot home with a well-curated

to one of the black-and-white porcelain squares that top the wainscoting in the bathroom. Smitten with the design, the Walchenbachs photographed it and when they returned from Spain, paul spent a weekend drawing the pattern. california pottery and tile created the ceramic version of his rendering. throughout the home, Walchenbach’s craft—and dutch roots—are evident in a way that complements the original architecture of the home. “the kitchen was a mess when we bought the house in 1999,” he remarks. today, its centerpiece is a sturdy, cobalt magic chef stove made in the mid-1930s. Walchenbach spotted it

tasteful collection of paintings, many of them from Walchenbach’s homeland. a portrait of holland’s Queen Wilhelmina from the early 1900s shows the monarch wearing a traditional lace cap with gold knobs adorning the forehead. Just a few feet away, a landscape painting by early 20th century artist cornelis Koppenol depicts the same beach in the netherlands where Walchenbach’s parents would take him as a child. having a brother who is a european antiques dealer certainly helps when it comes to sourcing unique furniture and original artwork, but a keen eye and a shared passion for a certain style of furnishings

“EvErythiNg has a mEmory,” WalchENBach tElls a visitor BEforE dEscriBiNg how a collection of terra cotta chimney tops made the journey from Portugal’s algarve region to their lush backyard.

collection of antique furniture and paintings that serve as reminders of paul’s european heritage and a celebration of the pair’s shared eclectic tastes. “everything has a memory,” Walchenbach tells a visitor before describing how a collection of terra cotta chimney tops made the journey from portugal’s algarve region to their lush backyard. each carefully-placed table, every centuries-old armoire, all of the paintings that grace the walls have a story to tell. “We first saw these tiles in the hotel alfonso Xiii in Seville,” Walchenbach says, pointing

at a shop in San diego while scoping out a different stove. he convinced the store owner to sell it, despite the fact that the owner had wanted it for his wife. above the stove, a set of contemporary lighting fixtures from holland shaped like wire whisks add a subtle touch of whimsy. Walchenbach, a dyedin-the-wool epicure, enjoys spending time in his kitchen. “When we have guests, this is where people congregate,” he notes. in the barrel-ceilinged hallway, rose-colored plaster walls provide an elegant backdrop for a

also has enabled the Walchenbachs to amass a diverse collection of art and decorative objects. “We have about 93 percent the same taste,” quips Wendy. as an example, the couple describes how they found chairs for the guest bedroom. paul was on a short visit to the netherlands with his brother and spotted two petite 19th century chairs in an antiques store. Wendy was home in the States, so paul took a chance and purchased the chairs. they were a hit. not all of the couple’s treasures were found while traveling abroad. in the guest bedroom, an exquisitely

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SouthBaydigS.com | 9.21.2012

PHOtOgRAPHy By PAUL jONASON

carved portuguese headboard made in the 1700s was purchased at an antiques store in new mexico. in the same room, a rustic, 18th century armoire from france came into the Walchenbachs’ possession by way of a shop in montecito. perhaps the most eclectic room in the house is the master bedroom. here, two wall-sized canvases bear artwork by contemporary dutch artists. By contrast, a 19th century chinese wedding cabinet, with flecks of red paint still visible, serves as a wardrobe. a diaphanous silk fortuny lamp from Venice hangs from a weathered wood ceiling panel that served as a courtyard door during its previous life in india. on either side of the bed, two brass wall sconces reflect the same star motif that appears on the bedroom door. By today’s standards the home is modest in size, however the Walchenbachs take full advantage

of the South Bay’s mild weather and make use of their backyard. a 45-year-old grapevine has sent its tendrils up a pergola covering a walkway to the garage. as with most of the original houses along the avenues in South redondo Beach, the detached garages were built behind the homes and are accessible from an alley. Smack-dab in the center of the backyard, an avocado tree that paul believes was planted when the home was built provides shade and privacy. “people told us to cut it down after we bought the house,” recalls paul, “but we thought it added character.” Visitors must walk a meandering path around the tree to get to what the Walchenbachs call the moroccan room. tucked away at the far end of the property and hidden behind a 200-year-old wooden gate from china, the moroccan room is an outdoor living space

styled like a desert retreat. Walchenbach built an outdoor fireplace decorated with brilliant mosaic tile to anchor the north african motif. low-lying seats covered in multi-hued fabrics provide a place to relax, read or enjoy the company of friends. three walls form a u-shaped support for a ceiling that shelters the space from the elements. embedded in each of the two side walls is a stone latticed window from pakistan. the plaster baseboards are made from a custom mold bearing an ancient islamic pattern. on a balmy afternoon, paul takes a seat in the cool shade of his secluded oasis to demonstrate the functionality of the outdoor fireplace. the exotic splendor of the moroccan room was born entirely from Walchenbach’s imagination and skills as a master craftsman. But when asked, very little comes close to the magic of his double-walled bathtub.

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