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Coastal Eclectic

What do you get when you combine a natural sense of aesthetics and an entrepreneurial spirit? For Keith and Samantha Repult, the possibilities were limitless

By Andrea Kitay—Photos by Gaszton Gal

 

ost days you can find Keith and Samantha Repult at home in Pierpont, on the beach, plotting their next project. Like many of the residents of Ventura County’s beach communities, Keith discovered Pierpont’s narrow lanes as a weekend warrior from Santa Clarita. “We would come down and stay in our weekend home, and the weekends turned into weeks,” he says. “Next thing you know we bought a lot and decided to build a house ourselves.”    

A swirling stair railing connects levels in the three-story house. Tinted windows moderate the intense coastal glare, while richly-colored Brazilian Tigerwood floors lend a tone of warmth.

Impressive from the outside, their new home, finished a year ago, actually has a dual personality. The exterior’s stained soffits, hand sawn corbels, hand-troweled stucco, and tile roof suggest south of the border ease, even sunny Mediterranean climes. But the interior tells another tale. “Samantha calls it Bohemian,” chuckles Keith as he opens the door and leads me on a tour of the house’s three light and airy floors, stopping to point out the view of the sand from this vantage, and the surf from around the corner.

Confidently eschewing a decorator’s preference for a main theme, the couple filled the house with items that caught their eyes and won their hearts. But revealing a natural sense of aesthetics, they mixed and blended an eclectic collection of furniture, fixtures, and art into a pleasingly coordinated whole. From the heavy wood front door to the coconut-covered wall and pebble shower in the master suite to the third-story patio where daughters Syanne, 20, and Sahvon, 19, hang out with their friends, the house seems to glow with an oddly tropical warmth.  

Darkly-stained strips of wood outline a recessed soffit, cutting the overwhelming whiteness of ceilings and walls. In the adjoining room, plush couches are pure comfort.

A hand-blown sea glass chandelier casts a mellow glow on the front hall’s wood floors, and radiant heating installed beneath floors throughout the house keeps the interior comfy on cool mornings. As we move through three living rooms, four bedrooms, an office, and three decks, we navigate a maze of protective railings and baby gates. Built before now 16-month-old Jaxon’s arrival, it’s clear who’s running the show these days.

No sooner did the house seem finished than the two embarked on another project. The new venture, a quick stroll away from the home, is a cheerful Tommy Bahama style yogurt shop, complete with brightly painted walls and a thatched overhang. A former vegetable stand, it opened in December as the Yogurt Hut. And business seems to be booming.  

The Repults opted not to pursue a single design theme. Instead, using a natural sense of aesthetics they blended eclectic elements into a coordinated whole.

Who is this self-made and delightfully unpretentious entrepreneur? Keith, tall and sandy blond with a goatee, sports the typical Ventura beach uniform: shorts, sandals, and a relaxed shirt. Though he hails from Tennessee (you can still hear a trace of a drawl), he now considers himself a bona fide Californian, having hopped a bus and headed west more than 20 years ago. “I left Memphis with three dollars in my pocket and ended up doing really well for myself,” he muses. “But I think that stems from the fact that I had to make it or break it. It’s either live in the street or make it.”

That’s easier said than done. But Keith is a natural salesman, a skill he honed by selling plastics, real estate investments, imported antique cars, and even gold. “I can sell anything,” he says matter-of-factly. “Samantha and I are the perfect partners. Where I’m better at some things, she’s better at others,” he chuckles. “Nothing’s off limits for us, including diapers, dinner, and business.” 

A trip to the desert inspired two-tone couches in the master bedroom. The oversize chair was added when now 16-month-old Jaxon was born.

As it happens, the yogurt shop was Samantha’s idea, and with Keith in agreement the couple went for it. “We love it, and so does the neighborhood,” he says. “It’s a place for our community to come and hang out. We wanted everyone involved, so when we opened we gave out shirts to the kids at our local elementary, and now we’re having a competition to see who comes up with the best name.” 

Pierpont being a tight-knit community, it was a natural for these constant entrepreneurs to turn the little 390-square-foot shack on the corner of Pierpont and Seaward into something that would serve the community and their friends. “The corner here has two liquor stores. It needed something more to bring the community together,” says Keith.

Located on the first floor, the master bedroom opens onto the back patio and has a contemporary yet comfortable feel.

The place is humming when I stop in for a cup of nonfat vanilla with fresh strawberries. Lactose-free and nonfat varieties are offered alongside a peanut butter/chocolate blend and a sumptuous self-serve bar with and fresh fruit toppings.

A spa tub in the master bath overlooks the patio.

Like the Repult’s eclectically-designed house, their yogurt stand was a somewhat impromptu affair: the product of wise decisions made in the heat of the moment. “We didn’t know anything about yogurt when we started,” laughs Keith, “but what we’ve discovered over the years is that there’s nothing we can’t learn to do.”

04-01-2011

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