Designer Michael Kreiss creates a relaxed residence on the coast for the basketball legend and his family.

Photography: Mary E. Nichols | Words: Peter Haldeman

Hall of Fame basketball player and businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie, asked Michael Kreiss, president of Kreiss Design, to create the interiors of their Tuscan-style beach house in Southern California.

A pair of mixed-media works, Decoding I & II by Jennifer Hollack, hang in the living room. Noting the lack of formality in the interiors, Cookie Johnson says she wanted people “to just come in and relax.”

Kreiss, who worked on the Johnsons's Beverly Hills house 19 years ago, mirrored the furniture arrangements of the family room and the adjacent patio. “When you open the doors, it's just an extension of the inside,” notes Cookie Johnson.

For the study, Magic Johnson opted for a comfortable, informal space, but one still suitable for conducting business.

A four-poster, oversize to fit Johnson's six-foot-nine-inch frame, anchors the master bedroom, which reminds the couple of a steamship cabin

The master patio overlooks coastal bluffs. “In L.A. the pace is so fast, we're always on the go,” says the former basketball star, who has his hand in a number of business ventures. “And then, when we get here, we slow down.”