A Wildfire Destroyed Their Malibu Home. What They Rebuilt Is Inspiring—and Our 2022 Idea House – Sunset Magazine
Marina Fernández de Córdova was driving along the California coast with her son on her way to Malibu to visit her life-long friend, Andrea Tennant. Their friendship spanned decades and continents since they met through Tennant’s late husband, Christopher, in London. De Córdova, who is an interior designer and shop owner in San Miguel de Allende Mexico, had custom-made furniture pieces for Tennant’s house. She was excited to see how it was all coming together.
Then, she got a phone call that all Californians dread. Tennant was evacuating. A wildfire loomed. “I was supposed to sleep in the house that night,” de Córdova says. “The next day, it was gone.”
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Thomas J. Story
It’s difficult to forget the impact of the Woolsey Fire, which scorched close to 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and consumed over 1,600 homes in 2018. Malibu was the epicenter of the historic blaze. And the Tennant house, where Andrea’s now-grown children Andrew and Flora spent much of their childhood, was among the casualties. The street near Zuma Beach that the Tennants had called home for over a decade was hit hard. Today, construction sites and recently completed new builds line the road. But in the days, weeks, and months after the fire, it was a disaster zone.
“Many days later, we were allowed to return to the home and sift through the ashes,” Tennant says. “We found an award that was given to my husband, Christopher, posthumously. It’s in the shape of a bird, and one wing had broken. We found a silver baby cup that was Andrew’s, which melted and formed a beautiful shape.”
It was a devastating loss. But then, without a moment’s hesitation, Tennant started making plans to start again. “With all the courage in the world,” de Córdova says, “she decided to rebuild.”
“Walking away didn’t make any sense to me,” Tennant says.
We honored the original home in a style we refer to as ‘transitional.’ It isn’t too modern or too traditional. It’s a family home that’s made for entertaining and enjoying the beautiful Malibu climate.
Doug Burdge, architect
Thanks to the vision of Doug Burdge, of Malibu’s own Burdge Architecture, a new four-bedroom, six-bath home and guest house was erected on the lot, incorporating smart new materials, from heat-resistant windows and metal roofing to flame-retardant siding, all designed with fire risk and a drier, changing climate in mind. De Córdova commissioned handmade furniture and art, and sourced vintage pieces that helped tell the Tennant family’s story—they have roots in Scotland and England, and stops all over the world.
Thanks to a partnership with Sunset, the home features state-of-the-art appliances; Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery faucets, bath fixtures, and lighting; Northern Wide Plank flooring; Benjamin Moore paint; LaCantina folding doors; Jeld-Wen windows and interior doors; decorative stone from Eldorado Stone; Emtek hardware; Schneider Electric switches, dimmers, and receptacles; Infratech outdoor heating units; and a Kindred Outdoor fire pit.
“We honored the original home in a style we refer to as ‘transitional.’ It isn’t too modern or too traditional. It’s a family home that’s made for entertaining and enjoying the …….