The owners of this bluff-top residence approached us to completely transform a dated, ramshackle collection of buildings into a private sanctuary for family and friends. The new house had to provide visual and acoustic privacy from the nearby Pacific Coast Highway, allow social spaces for groups of varying sizes, and take advantage of the fantastic ocean views. Due to Malibu’s restrictive building codes, we decided to work with the existing vernacular structures rather than starting from scratch; so from the outset the project was conceived of as a compound, rather than a singular 'house'.
One is drawn into the property via a sequence of increasingly informal outdoor spaces, which roughly bisect the site. The motor court gives on to an entry court, which in turn melts into the pool area and an intimate seating area beyond. This spatial progression is flanked on the north by the old outbuildings, which were transformed to accommodate guest quarters, a screening room and catering kitchen. Across the court, the main house contains clearly defined public and private zones. The public spaces are composed of a large living and formal dining room separated by a wet bar, and a ‘family kitchen.’ The kitchen, which in the original house had been relegated to a back corner, has been moved to a position of privilege, overlooking the pool and ocean beyond.