The media room also features a fully-stocked bar, where football photos and memorabilia are discreetly displayed. Banner image above: The designer used a masculine color palette of contrasting black, white, red and grey along with classic traditional textures and furnishings.
An Eagle’ s Nest
"When you play football, nothing is permanent as far as where you are. You don’ t accumulate a bunch of belongings or furniture," muses A.J. Feeley, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and former player for the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins. "For me, I’ ve always held off until I knew the house that I wanted to live in."
Seeking a vacation home for the off-season, Feeley discovered a tri-level cottage nestled in Del Mar’ s Crest Canyon just a short walk from the beach. Designed by architect Jim Snead and constructed by builder Joe Hanley, the home evokes Cape Cod features as well as Craftsman-style elements.
"The first time walking through, I fell in love with it," Feeley recalls. "It was a clean slate." So he teamed up with designer Kari Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors in Solana Beach to outfit his new home.
"What’ s wonderful about Crest Canyon is that it makes you feel like you are at the mountains yet also at the beach," Arendsen says. "What I liked so much about A.J. is his passion for the home. He has great style and a great eye. He knew what he wanted, and I pulled it all together for him."
Feeley credits Arendsen for assisting him in the design process and making choices that added warmth and personal touches to his new home. "She’ s become a good friend of mine," he adds. "She’ s awesome."
A brick walkway, rose garden, and white-pillared porch provide a welcoming façade for visitors to the grey-shingled home with white trim, black shutters, and cherry red door.
"We used a masculine color palette of contrasting black, white, red, and grey along with classic traditional textures and furnishings," says the designer, stepping into an open yet unpretentious great room. "I love the layout. It’ s all open, yet we have a semi-private dining room to the side. When he comes here, it’ s a retreat. He wanted clean lines, but also wanted to emphasize relaxation."
The result is a "perfect summer beach house," she says. "It’ s really a place where he can kick his shoes off, go barefoot, and relax."
Distressed mahogany bar stools from Baker provide comfortable seating for guests in the kitchen. Black and white contrasting marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and white Craftsman-style cabinetry with traditional knobs and pulls combine for a clean, classic look.
An archway leads to the living room, where a red-painted wall provides contrast to a black and white fireplace.
"The home is small in scale, which is ironic with a big six-foot, four-inch football player living here," says Arendsen. "By painting the wall red, it makes the room feel bigger."
Sea grass carpet, woven shades, linen draperies, and bamboo poles provide natural backdrops for a cozy fireside seating area. An L-shaped sectional with black and white stripes and black spindle chairs from Ralph Lauren provide comfort for savoring fireside warmth or viewing a plasma TV.
A carved deer reflects the home’ s woodsy environment, while a framed custom map of Del Mar village circa 1900 by artist Gretchen Jones provides vintage charm. Added masculine touches include a leather ottoman, large burl wood candleholders on the hearth, and a football on the mantel.
Deer antler candleholders and an iron tree-branch resin chandelier provide rustic illumination in the dining room, where bay windows provide views of Torrey Pines and a lushly landscaped backyard. Leather wingback head chairs and ebony ladderback chairs provide seating around an antique pine trestle table by Ralph Lauren.
A hand-woven crewel rug with zebra print adds an exotic element to the dining nook, along with antique woven Asian medallions of red and gold silk.
Spindled wood stairs ascend to a second story with a red-and-white guest suite and lofty master suite, where a ceiling fan in a vaulted white wood ceiling wafts cool ocean breezes. A Portman bed features clean lines and a creamy suede tufted headboard with ebony frame. Black and white bedding from Ralph Lauren and a custom white quilt add to the sumptuous yet casual comfort in this space. The lower level also includes a guest room with nautical motif.
Postabello side tables and a white linen wing chair with zebra print pillows provide "sharp contrast and clean comfort," says Arendsen, who added botanical prints to "balance the masculine nature of the room." French paned windows provide pleasing vistas of the Pacific Ocean framed through Torrey Pines and palms.
The master bath includes a raised spa tub, limestone tiled shower, and grey limestone counters complemented by white cupboards with classic crystal hardware. "This is very spa-like," the designer notes.
The home’ s third level, situated downstairs, was unfinished when Feeley purchased the home.
"It felt like a dungeon," says Arendsen, who hired Chad of All Trades to complete the lower level remodel. "We added all the molding, wainscoting, chair rails, and soft woven wallpaper. Now this is his little getaway."
A game room sports a custom ebony pool table with elaborately carved legs and taupe felt, illuminated by an antler chandelier. The game room wall displays a framed "Year of the Quarterback" poster from a golf classic tournament at the University of Oregon. Nearby, a wine cellar with brick flooring and cedar shelves holds a collection of favorite vintages.
"This was fun," Arendsen observes, stepping into a media room that combines masculine elements with neutral sand and brown hues. A limestone fireplace surround with heavy wood mantel served as a "launching pad" that inspired the room’ s décor, she adds.
Swivel leather rocker recliners and a linen sectional with striped print and hide pillows provide comfortable seating, while a cowhide ottoman invites guests to prop up feet while enjoying home theater. "All of the heating, cooling, electrical, light, sound, TV and radio are universal, with one remote control on each floor," the designer notes.
A large photo of a crashing wave provides a stunning focal point in keeping with the home’ s coastal location, along with a nine-foot Duke redwood surfboard hanging on the opposite wall. The media room also features a fully-stocked bar, where football photos and memorabilia are discreetly displayed. Window seats with storage flank the fireplace, overlooking the bi-level backyard.
Outdoors, architectural shade sails protect patio furnishings from sun fading. "Stay tuned for more outdoor living and a Jacuzzi," the designer discloses. "There are many dreams here."
Now Feeley looks forward to spending his first off-season in his new seaside home — stepping out of the limelight and onto the beach in Del Mar. "Philadelphia, it’ s a big sports town," he notes. "You’ re definitely more recognizable there than in Del Mar. It’ s a great change of pace."
He also savors spending time at his coastal retreat home with his girlfriend, a player with the Women’ s U.S. National Soccer Team. "She enjoys it as well," he says of the classic yet cozy haven.
The 3,000-square-foot beach house is a sharp contrast to Feeley’ s other residences: an urban loft in Philadelphia and an expansive contemporary home in Miami, as well as to the Oregon farming community where he grew up.
"It’ s a change, but a welcome one," he says of his new neighborhood. "I feel fortunate that I can appreciate the great falls and winters in the city, then in summertime be able to go back to Del Mar and be a beach bum: live on the beach, surf, and golf," concludes Feeley, who scores the makeover as a win. "So it’ s the best of both worlds." (760/473-2791, www.kariarendsen.com) — Miriam Raftery, photography by Vincent Knakal
Whether dining poolside or on your patio, you can easily bring the charm of the Mediterranean to your summer gatherings. Italian dishes in rich shades of paprika and saffron are perfect for casual meals. Red coral, along with raffia woven placemats, napkin rings, and linens in chocolate help celebrate warm summer nights. Serve chilled beverages on a striking beveled glass tray with exotic prints of sea life. Pair cocktails with colorful marinated peppers and fruits. Then add a touch of a European garden with a miniature boxwood topiary tree centerpiece. — Lynn Hoaglin, photo by Vincent Knakal
Pulvermacher oceana tray, Vietri dishes and placemat, Turnwald red coral napkin ring, Mud Pie fork and spreader, and faux pear from The Poached Pear in Flower Hill Promenade; Boxwood topiary, chili and kumquat bottle, and glass grapes from Bella Castilla in Rancho Santa Fe; tulip wine and water glasses in topaz, and pearlized utensils in champagne from Birdcage in Solana Beach
Sensational Summer Accessories
Adding fresh accents to your home changes the décor and feel instantly. A lime green indoor/outdoor rug evokes the feel of a freshly mowed lawn without all of the maintenance. Fill a hand-woven basket made with pine needles, or a carved horn bowl with fresh fruit and vegetables. After a relaxing weekend day, serve a whole grilled fish on a finely detailed cast aluminum salmon-shaped platter. Use capiz shell square plates and votives to add a shimmery reflection of the sea. Sit back and watch the stars on a cotton stripe pillow.
— Lynn Hoaglin, photo by Vincent Knakal
Arthur Court aluminum salmon platter, Mexican pine basket, horn bowl, capiz shell plates, faux artichokes, pine needles, and Europa metal candleholder from Country Squire Gifts and Linens in Rancho Santa Fe; Chilewich rug, fish handled servers, and cotton stripe pillow from Solo in Solana Beach; capiz votives, and faux protea and orchids in vase from Dig in Flower Hill Promenade