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Interior designer Kirsten Marie had come to know one of her clients so well that when the client’s children had flown the nest, Marie told her she should sell her large estate and move into a mobile home the client owned in Paradise Cove of Malibu, California. The client was skeptical at first, but it turned out that ditching the big house was the best decision she’d ever made. There was only one problem: She didn’t have enough room to comfortably lodge guests. 

Thinking of her adult children’s and friends’ visits, she snapped up the 600-square-foot mobile home next door when it went on the market, then left it in the hands of Marie and Marie’s brother, contractor Jens Holst. She gave them free rein over everything from large remodeling decisions to choosing towels and soaps. While a relaxing and chic getaway feeling was the goal, they also designed the home to function as a full-time residence should the need arise.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A homeowner houses her guests here.
Location: Malibu, CaliforniaSize: 600 square feet (56 square meters); 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Interior design:  


The guesthouse’s sliding doors, shown here, did not take full advantage of the views of Paradise Cove, and a large TV and stand clunked up the room.


New Fleetwood doors meet at the corner, providing wide views of the hills and the cove. All of the windows and doors were completely redone and replaced. 

The TV now has a better placement on the wall in front of the sectional and can be enjoyed from the kitchen should any guests decide to get their celebrity chef on.

“We wanted a relaxed, beachy vibe, but we also wanted it to be a chic retreat,” Marie says. Predominantly white furniture and a clear view have replaced the big TV in the corner. The look is bright and light from the floors to the ceiling. The bleached floors look like wood but are laminate. 

Outside, bar stools cozy up to the deck railings. The top rail is 14 inches wide to accommodate drinks and plates. “Her guests can enjoy their coffee out here in the morning,” Marie says.

 Floors: White Wash oak plank, Reclaime Collection, Quick Step Laminatek; Saarinen table and Eames chairs: Design Within Reach; light fixture  


The main living area was open, but as this photo shows, it had the potential to become cluttered-looking without carefully considered furniture and color palette choices.


Marie stacked the pantry cabinet to the right (this wall also holds a panel-front refrigerator). Open shelves create an open feeling in the kitchen and enable the beautiful marble mosaic tile to extend to the ceiling. A kilim rug and brass accents add warmth to the bright white and light grays. 

Rug: KayaKilims; backsplash tile: honed Classic Statuario mosaic, ; hardware: light fixtures: ; countertop: Caesarstone in Organic

The designer also had guests in mind with the open shelving choice. “I hate for guests to have to open every cabinet when they don’t know where things are,” she says. This way glasses, plates and bowls are out in the open where they can find them with ease. 

Dark blue cabinets, a Caesarstone vanity top and brass details create an elegant blend in the bathroom.

Clear glass on the shower stall makes the bathroom feel larger.

Vanity paint: custom (similar: Black Blue, Farrow & Ball); mirror: Made Goods; lighting: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.; hardware: Liz’s Antique Hardware