latimes.com — Since the early 1900s, Laguna Beach real estate has been a magnet for Hollywood types, including writer, director and producer Edward H. Griffith who made more than 50 films from 1917 to 1946.
A section of his old estate is on the market in the private community of lower Three Arch Bay.
After years of neglect, the main house and a guesthouse, known as the Screenwriter’s Cottage where Griffith and his colleagues once collaborated, was in tear-down condition when Marhnelle and David Hibbard purchased the property 15 years ago. “The wood was literally turning into pulp,” says Marnelle Hibbard. “And it was completely overgrown.”
Without changing the footprint, they launched a top-down remodel that wasn’t completed until last year.
They peeled back the old materials, exposing sections of the brick-framed structure and reinforced the house with steel.
Interior walls were finished with American Clay, a natural plaster.
The wood beams in the living room ceiling were installed 16 inches on center (compared to the standard 24 inches) to help support the expansive master suite and deck on the upper level.
A multi-step process was used to create a sandy beach color on the main floor. The concrete was sealed; a gray base color was added with a tan topcoat and then sealed with an acrylic. The floor color blends into the natural plaster on the walls, creating a minimalist effect with no baseboards. This pattern continues on the first floor where the guest suites are located.
The focal point of the kitchen is a honed black granite island with generous food prep areas, a hammered stainless steel sink and bar seating. Acrylic-coated distressed countertops contrast with the exposed red brick and stainless steel appliances.
The original circular wood stairway leads to the master suite, which includes an unobstructed ocean view from either the bedroom or the deck. The white oak original floor was washed with an ocean grey blue stain to make it appear as though the deck flowed right into the ocean.
Narrow concrete stairs lead down to a courtyard where a small alcove was remodeled into an outdoor kitchenette with a butcher-block countertop, gas cook top, two refrigerators, a Dutch door and a bay window.
Since the architecture lent itself more to California Mission, the old composition roof tiles were replaced with Spanish clay tiles. Mexican pavers cover the patio surface.
Another flight of steps leads down to the cottage’s main entrance and a balcony that overlooks Picture Bay.
Built into the cliff, the tri-level cottage has a nautical theme with Catalina Island in full view.
A stained wood table in the living area is cantilevered around a steel support beam, which is enclosed in a copper sleeve.
The Douglas fir sub floor, knotty pine walls and kitchen cabinets are all original. New bay and double-hung windows were added and the cottage’s exterior was finished in a smooth but undulating (wavy) stucco technique, which reflects a 1930s style.
One wall was removed to open up the kitchen, which features a muted Ann Sax tile on the countertop. A stairway leads down to a guest suite with an adobe-styled fireplace.
Address: 36 North La Senda, Laguna Beach 92651
Size: Main house: three bedrooms and three-and-one-half bathrooms in 2,600 square feet Screenwriter’s Cottage: two bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,100 square feet
Lot size: 10,000 square feet
Additional features: In main house, built-in Sub Zero refrigerator, six-burner Dacor gas cooktop, two Miele dishwashers, Thermador double oven, Gaggenau convection/steam oven, Sony flat screen television, stacked Whirlpool washer-dryer; marble bathroom countertops, Kohler fixtures, zoned air conditioning, walk-in shower/steam room; theatrical-art lighting, tankless water heater, custom sound system; guest suite with private entrance.