Former NFL star Ryan Kalil is nothing if not humble. “In many ways, I was an accidental professional athlete,” says Kalil, two-time American NCAA player and five-time NFL Pro Bowler. “I played 13 years in the NFL, but since I retired [in 2019], I have been a bit busy with a life outside of football. Again, like most things Kalil says, there is a strong undercurrent of modesty. Since leaving the league, the 36-year-old has gone on to become a film and television producer, co-founded his own business (Deadly media), started a foundation with his wife, Natalie, for lupus research and the fight against homelessness, while also becoming minority owners of a professional women’s football team (Angel city fc). And, the couple did it all while managing a move across the country to a gorgeous new home in Manhattan Beach, California.
“We’ve lived in Charlotte for a long time,” says Ryan Kalil of his time in North Carolina during his 12 seasons with the Carolina Panthers. “There, all the houses were big and the backyards had so many open spaces. And then we arrived in this little seaside community where [the] the land is sparse. From scratch we were just looking for something totally different from what we had in Charlotte. ”
To get their new home exactly the way they wanted it, Ryan and Natalie brought in talent from both coasts. From North Carolina, Architecture by Pursley Dixon designed the exterior of the house while Joe Lucas of Los Angeles Lucas Studios fitted out the interiors. The Kalils wanted to be good neighbors by creating something compatible with the rest of the surrounding houses. Yet, they also wanted to own something unique to the area, something special that they could call home. So they entrusted the architects with the challenge of designing a structure that was both striking and unpretentious. “We chose materials that are not uncommon in the area, but we used them in unexpected ways,” says Craig Dixon, founding partner of Pursley Dixon (and responsible for the Kalil project). His partner Ken Pursley adds: “We have tried to minimize [the size of the home] from the street by entering the second floor into the roof line, while creating a dramatic moment with a graceful bay window to bring light and views to the interior spaces.
The results speak for themselves as the house doesn’t attract unwanted attention, yet still stands out. “I think some homes fall into the trap of blindly trying to build a box to maximize square footage,” says Ryan Kalil. “And for us it seemed more important not to do that. We wanted the outdoor space to go hand in hand with the interiors, and if that meant a smaller area than on board. The architects did a fantastic job with our vision.
But a beautifully designed home without matching interiors is about as charming as a wrapped gift with nothing inside. Fortunately, the Kalils have forged a great relationship with their interior designer to tailor the space for a husband and wife with four young children. “[They] asked me to really take them out of their box of gray, blue and white, ”says designer Joe Lucas. “So we worked together to find colors and patterns that were fun and interesting, but also timeless. It was my job to steer clear of the trends of the day, to create something that five years from now wouldn’t seem out of fashion.
Walking around the Kalil house is a wonderful combination of style and purpose. Small details like a utility room with matching wallpaper on the sides and ceiling create spaces that are both chic and functional. In a stunning pantry (just off the kitchen), teal-colored drawers playfully contrast with the room’s blinds. “We didn’t want to live in a museum,” says Natalie Kalil. “We have four children, a lot of cousins, a lot of neighbors with children. So we decided that everything had to look good, while still being able to withstand wear and tear. “