Historic St. Clair Home Gets a Facelift, ADU Addition


Oligino Laux Construction recently completed a successful remodel and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) addition of a historic home on Crescent Bay Drive, originally designed by prominent Laguna Beach architect Aubrey St. Clair. 

St. Clair was a prolific architect who designed Laguna Beach City Hall, the water district building, the Isch building – where the Greeter’s Corner Restaurant operates – the Bette Davis home and several other waterfront homes and buildings in town. 

Oligino and Laux went to great lengths to recreate the unique architectural features in the house trusses, millwork and moldings, which they duplicated in the ADU. The result was a near-replica of the original house’s design. They hope the accomplishment can help set the standard for Laguna’s historic homeowners who also wish to build ADUs. Construction of the remodel and ADU started in July 2021 and ultimately finished in early 2023. 

“When they hired us to do the remodel, we fixed up the main house,” Oligino said. “And then (owner) Brad Engelland wanted us to make the ADU look like it was built at the same time as the house. With a house built in the 30s, there will be some deficiencies and surprises. But building the ADU in the back is basically ground-up new construction. So that went pretty smooth. The City was very helpful in coming out and getting inspections right away.”

The nautically-themed home, now owned by Brad Engelland and Jon Stordahl, has a unique history. Built in 1933, the house’s first owners were Florence and Harold Turney. It changed hands multiple times and, at one time, was used as a women-only Hindu retreat house. 

“I reached out and was able to communicate with them and talk to the Reverend Mother of the community,” Engelland said. “And she was talking about how they come to every weekend, spend the weekend here in Laguna, then go back to La Crescenta for religious purposes, but it was a retreat house. So that’s why we have a Hindu symbol in the gate. It was on a little gate the community had made when they owned it. And then when we did the early remodel, we had them recreate it to keep the vibe of eclectic Laguna.”

Michael Laux stands in front of the historic Crescent Bay Drive home. Photo/Oligino Laux Construction

Engelland, an architect himself, worked with Laguna Beach-based design and planning firm James Henry Ward to draw up the plans for the ADU. 

“There were questions about what would be acceptable and what wouldn’t be, since we were one of the first ones working with the City and the ADU process,” Engelland said. “I did do the ADU design, but James Henry Ward actually did the drawings that went into the City for planning and for the construction drawings.”

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