Working with longtime clients on our fourth project together, this home fulfilled their dream of building a family beach house in Malibu. Inspiration came from the husband’s having grown up in the area with a lifelong love of surfing; and from the longitudinal site, which lent itself to a streamlined structure of monumental, unbroken planes echoing the beach and horizon. With very tight height restrictions, the house is relatively compact and the plan simple. Five main, large spaces all face the ocean, with high glass railings creating a sweeping openness toward the water, and rooms stretched and extended with outdoor living areas. Neat, horizontal teak planking and decking as well as space-saving interior cabinetry throughout draw on the nautical concept of a beautifully crafted yacht. Weather-resistant materials give the structure an organic, easy modern feeling, with soft white split Texas limestone sharing a texture with the sand; travertine and highly figured marble laid horizontally in broad panels, suggesting landscape agate.
With a protected beach habitat, landscaping for the property becomes an understated, natural extension of the house. The low horizon lines of the structure allow it to nestle into the hillside and merge with the terrain, fully angled and sited to the contours of the beach. This positioning allows for an oblique deck on the lowest level of the house that extends from a large family room and includes a hidden plunge pool, facing the ocean. Overhanging rooflines and metal louvers protect decks from the sun without interrupting the long, stepped proportions or openness of the beachfront façade. No trees interrupt the lines of the site; rather, a loose, randomized planting of shrubs and iceplant succulents anchor the surroundings and help to sustain the native landscape. Where all the teak in the house is preserved in its original honey tone, the stairs to the beach have been allowed to weather in the elements and age to a driftwood color.