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A Bohemian Surf Shack in Topanga Canyon


A Bohemian Surf Shack in Topanga Canyon

December 3, 2014

“It all began when we were invited to see our friends’ cabin in Topanga Canyon,” says Mason St. Peter, of how he discovered the Southern California artists’ enclave imbued with decades of mystical bohemian lore. For designer and builder St. Peter and his wife, artist Serena Mitnik-Miller, the sleepy town that neighbors Malibu was love at first site. After a search for a rental proved fruitless, the couple, avid surfers, decided to build their own “happy place,” a 120-square-foot cabin six miles from the beach.

The design phase was quick–“maybe a few days collaborating with Serena”–but the build, which they did themselves, took a month’s worth of days, spread out over two years. With a bit of elbow grease, weekends devoted to the project, and hip furnishings sourced from their own General Store in SF and Venice (see Michelle’s Visit to San Francisco’s Foggiest Backyard), it has become a place that the SF-based free spirits find themselves visiting as often as every other weekend.

Photography by Mariko Reed, unless otherwise noted.

Above: “It’s for relaxation solely,” says Mason St. Peter and Serena Mitnik-Miller of their 120-square-foot cabin in Topanga Canyon.


Above: The couple positioned their cabin so that the sliding doors face south and sunshine is filtered through a grove of trees. For dreamy shots of California sun, see St. Peter’s Instagram feed. Photograph by Mason St. Peter.

Above: The couple drafted plans for their surf shack almost overnight.


Above: A ladder leads to a 625-square-foot deck, used for stargazing and spending time with friends.

Above: The wood siding, old red cedar, was sourced from Building REsources, a nonprofit in San Francisco that carries reclaimed materials for construction. All glass was repurposed from previous job sites taken from St. Peter’s other business as a designer and builder.

Above: Mitnik-Miller sourced all furnishings from their own General Store and from flea markets.

Above: A view from the inside, with a counter made of wood left over from the General Store’s Venice outpost.

Above: Hand-dyed shibori fabric, also used as dressing room curtains at the General Store, serves as cushion covers for the banquette. Want to shop the Venice store? See Sarah’s Shopper’s Diary.

Above: His and hers surfboards.

For more relaxed outdoor living, see:

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