Surf quiz: How many drowning swimmers, other surfers, have you pulled from the claws of death?

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Who didn’t want a piece of 3904 Michael Avenue, a short drive from the mythical Ladera Heights, the black Beverly Hills, a domesticated paradise?

Two days ago, it was revealed that the Los Angeles home of Surf Shacks creator Matt Titone had been released. for a little over a mill and a half.

Who didn’t want a piece of 3904 Avenue Michel, there at the junction of Venice, Mar Vista, and only a few minutes drive from the mythical Ladera Heights, Black Beverly Hills, a domesticated paradise, palm trees and swimming pools etc., and a short walk from the Venice seafront?

Old beaten up garage transformed into a dream studio.

It turns out it was sold five months earlier for $ 1.55 million, forty gees less than its sticker price, and its owner, Matt Titone and his wife Courtney, had divided the town for Silver. Strand to Oxnard.

I thought I would ask Titone about this and the switch from LA to Oxnard.

Tired of selling California’s best Airbnb?

I don’t know of the best Airbnb in California, but we had fun getting out of the renters’ back house and taking pictures occasionally. We definitely walked away with some fun stories doing it all… Similar to what they say about owning a boat: selling this house was one of the happiest days of my life.

It was really pretty, kind of a joint that I imagine living my days in, a little degeneration in the hot tub, warming up exhausted limbs in front of the fireplace and so on.

Thanks dude! Yeah, it was a great place. I bought it in 2008 as a young single. It was actually a pretty sketchy foreclosure that barely stood at the time. All of my friends thought I was crazy for wanting to buy it. My then girlfriend (now wife) Courtney moved in and cried when she first saw him – not tears of joy. There was fabric wiring throughout the 1940s house (huge fire hazard), moldy, termite infested walls, and a completely cracked slum cabin in the backyard attached to the garage. I even had to come with one of my bigger, tougher friends with baseball bats during the escrow period to hunt down the drugged squatters. It was pretty boring.

In short, it took about ten years for the place to look as chic as the photos you see today. We just took one project at a time over the years because we could afford it. Courtney was really the driving force behind every home improvement project, she has a big eye for that stuff. Then, when my brother Sam graduated from architecture school, he convinced me to let him redesign the garage into a guesthouse to live there. So we took out a new loan and we did. Sam even did pretty much all of the finishing work himself (along with our friend Tyler Canali and my helper). This was obviously the biggest project we have done for the house and the reason it is getting attention.

The back yard was definitely my favorite part with the outdoor shower, hot tub, fruit trees, and fire pit. It was a sweet little oasis among the nightly police helicopters, traffic and bustle of Venice high school just across the street.

But you sold!

You know a lot of love has come into this house over the years, but I was extremely happy to move on. We now have two young boys and the house was only 890 square feet with a small bathroom – sleek, but not even a tub. The house in the back was amazing, but after my brother Sam (who designed it) moved in we mostly rented it out and didn’t use it ourselves. As a family of four we just passed the place and weren’t cool enough to keep up with the pace of LA life! We have wanted to move north since the birth of our first son almost five years ago, so I was thrilled when it was finally time to pick up sticks last year.

And you swung north to Oxnard. Tell me the difference between life in LA and Reynolds country?

Yes, we’ve been at Le Nard for over a year now. We love Ventura County in general, it’s much colder than LA, but still very close if ever we want to visit. I think the biggest difference is really the access to more nature and less people.

Do you see Reynolds often?

Ha! No, not really… I saw him in the water tear himself apart a few times here and there. It’s always cool to see the pros in the water, it makes you feel like you made the right choice surfing in the right spot at that time – then you realize how bad you are at surfing when you see them. I also saw Bobby Martinez and Tom Curren hang out a few times when it was big last winter. It was quite special to see these legends do their thing in proper, pumping surf.

Ever been to the Silver Strand Fight Club?

The first rule of the Silver Strand Fight Club is not to talk about the Silver Strand Fight Club.

Do you see our t-shirts?

Haha! No, but I want one!

I really like your amazingly beautiful Surf Shacks series and so on. Have you ever wanted to photograph an ordinary house? No artfully placed photo books, brightly colored surfboard racks, beautiful wooden decks, and more. but beige rugs, department store furniture, the stench of nicotine, shattered dreams, despair?

While the books end up having more of an ‘ambitious’ (I hate that word) edit, we’ve covered our fair share of more of the ‘average joe’ or slightly sloppy surf huts you allude to on the series at over the years. These are certainly not all Dwell-worthy mansions.

For me, it was never about how beautiful and stylish the house is, rather I was always more focused on the personalities featured in the series. I only focus on surfers who are doing something creative for a living (or as a passion) that interests me. As it turns out, these folks more often than not have really funky and stylish homes that reflect their creative personality – whether it’s a cheap salt bin rental, their van they live in, or an upscale coastal property.

(Titone photographed some nice shit holes in his day. See, here, and, here, and here.)

But yeah, I actually wanted to showcase more houses like this – they just can’t be too ordinary. I really wanted to shoot my friend Rick Massie’s house in Venice for the second book because I felt like there were too many high end houses coming together in the final cut and we had to balance it out. with a little more “reality”. There just wasn’t enough time to do it amid Covid lockdowns etc. He has a rusty outdoor gym in his backyard where he does repairs and airbrushes for most Angeleno surfers. There’s always a fun scene at his house with random people picking up their boards and pals slamming Tecates, telling stories every afternoon. Rick is a super funny, interesting, and creative character, so he fits the show perfectly, it’s not necessarily about what his actual house looks like (if that makes sense?). Maybe save it for Vol. 3 a day.

Rick’s ding fixing and sprays.
Rick Massie’s outdoor gym. Nothing stainless here.

And, tell me, Surf Shack you would most like to live in until your last breath?

I can’t really choose one. To me it’s kind of a swing between Jeff + Kara Johnsons A-frame in the hills of Santa Barbara, the McKinley Bungalow in Montauk, and the Composed of Goodwins Kauai. These are three of my favorite places and all three are really beautiful homes which are totally my style. If I had a ton of money, I would just buy these three houses and switch between them depending on the season.

Taste Surf huts here, volume one, volume two.


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