Adulting looks different for everybody. For some it’s buying their first home. For others, such as 25-year-old Nyjah Huston, the Nike-sponsored American skateboarding phenom, it’s graduating to the second. Trading in his first house, a fun pueblo-style party pad in San Juan Capistrano, California, for a chic 5,300-square-foot place in nearby Laguna Beach with serious views, was a major milestone. It’s shared not with a handful of dudes, as before—“It was always messy, with people sleeping everywhere”—but with one of his closest female friends, who loves to cook. “I feel like this house is kind of the next step of the more mature me,” Huston says of the light-filled five-bedroom that first caught his eye several years ago but was beyond his budget. “I’ve always wanted to eventually end up in Laguna Beach.”
Last year, upon seeing the price had dropped, Huston thought, “Oh, wow, I actually have a chance to buy this place now! I always loved the style of it, the interesting modern architecture on the outside, and the views are amazing.” Still, he took some convincing because, as he says, there were “a lot of weird colors inside, weird greenish granite, and lots of carpet; we did a complete remodel on it.” He was encouraged by his mom/manager, Kelle Huston, who showed him photos of what could be. “She was a lot of help into making it what it is now,” says the world’s highest-paid skateboarder. “It was a long process, like six months to a year, but it was definitely worth it because I absolutely love the place now.”
Huston had a lot of input, but also left his mom, along with some help from designer Stace King, to make initial selections from which he could make decisions. He chose all the marble and quartz in L.A., and key pieces of furniture at RH. “It wasn’t something I would have pictured myself doing at this young of an age, but it was actually a pretty fun process to be involved in picking that out,” he says. Mom, meanwhile, homed in on her son’s aesthetic through tonal black, white, and gray interiors with an abundance of skulls of all kinds, from those stitched on throw pillows to cow and coyote craniums. “That’s all me and my type of style,” says the athlete, who consciously introduced wood elements during the renovation as well as hints of vibrant color through artwork.
Huston’s presence in the place is refreshingly conspicuous, not only in the spiraling line of skateboard decks that follow the staircase upward but also in the custom-built dirt bike underneath it—“one of my favorite things in the house.” Dozens of trophies and awards aren’t the only objects imbued with meaning. Huston bought an owl painting hanging prominently in the living room when he was just 18. “That painting symbolizes the time my friends and I would skate, literally, all through the day and night and even into the next day.”
Inside Pro Skateboarder Nyjah Huston’s Zen Laguna Beach Pad
Dedication and passion feel like tangible elements in a house that’s just the right amount of grown up and serene. “My favorite room is definitely the trophy room,” says Huston, who for the first time designed a space dedicated to his many wins. “I love to go in there and see all the hard work I’ve put in,” he adds. Visually, the entire home is evidence of 20 years of work, beginning when Huston was just five years old (at seven he got his first sponsor, Element, and at 11 he made his X Games debut). It’s filled with not only accolades but also poignant memories captured on film.
Perhaps that’s why Huston—skating into the 2020 Olympics fresh off an impressive winning streak—feels protective of his airy, sophisticated retreat that is, in many ways, a contrast to his dark, messy San Juan Capistrano party palace. “I’m only 25, but I feel like I’ve already experienced so much of life,” says the skateboard star. In a sure sign of maturity, he adds, “I haven’t had an official party at the house yet, because I’m just so obsessed with it I don’t want anything to get messed up—it’s very rewarding living here.”