Exquisitely detailed interiors meet over-the-top amenities and sweeping views from almost every vantage point to create this striking new seaside estate in Malibu with a Mediterranean holiday feel.
Think a rustic-modern, stucco-clad residence replete with 300-year-old salvaged wood ceiling beams, paired with a decked-out entertainment and wellness level, and most notably, far-reaching ocean and canyon views via ample windows, sliding walls of glass, and a 55-foot, double-edged infinity pool and spa.
Another stand-out aspect of this impressive home found at 6097 Murphy Way: a secluded setting near all of the area’s affluent offerings, according to Sacha Radford, who is co-listing the property with Mauricio Umansky and Sandro Dazzan, all of The Agency.
“It’s situated on approximately 14 acres of private land,” she says, “so it feels removed from the hustle and bustle, yet is convenient to all that Malibu has to offer.”
Tucked away down a 600-foot, gated driveway—in the coveted coastal community of West Winding Way—the six-bedroom residence was designed and built by Zoran Pevec of L.A.’s Archive Design Group in 2019. Expect 10,000 square feet of open and light-filled living space featuring rich woods, exposed Santa Barbara sandstone walls, and walnut and travertine flooring throughout.
Among the highpoints: a chef’s kitchen sporting a marble slab center island, Wolf, Miele, and Sub-Zero appliances, and butler’s pantry, as well as an elegant master suite with a fireplace, dual showroom closets, spa-like bath and ocean-view terrace.
Rounding out this property’s special appeal is a daylit lower level with yoga, steam and massage rooms, as well as an infrared sauna, a gym, theater and wine cellar. “There is no other home like it on the market in style and design,” says Radford. “It’s a timeless expression of joyful Malibu living.”
Mauricio Umansky, Sacha Radford and Sandro Dazzan
of The Agency
List Price $16.9 million
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
At night, this dazzling residence resembles a high-end designer light fixture, replete with soothing luminescence filtering beyond a striking façade nearly engulfed with cascading expanses of glass. During the day, the shimmering gem is flooded with radiant sunshine.
The result? A duo of scenarios ideal both for viewing the surrounding landscape and being at one with nature, in a nod to the uninterrupted indoor-outdoor experience so popular in Southern California.
“This house is special,” says Antonio Bruno, who is co-listing the newly finished property with Aaron Kirman, both of Compass, for $4.995 million. “No matter where you are, you feel like you are outside due to the walls of the house being made entirely of glass from floor to ceiling, and the sliding Fleetwood glass walls that pocket and disappear into the sides of the house, allowing the natural light and breeze of fresh air to pour inside.”
Situated at 2401 S Beverly Drive—in the desirable Beverlywood neighborhood, just minutes from Rodeo Drive—the six-bedroom home was designed and constructed by the Sfadia Family with the help of AE Design and Sunset Built.
Expect almost 6,000 square feet of open and light-filled living space on three levels featuring a pivoting front door, soaring ceilings, Italian porcelain and engineered hardwood flooring, expansive balconies and a Lutron smart-home system.
Among the highlights is a gourmet kitchen equipped with Wolf appliances and a butler’s pantry; movie theater with bar; and indulgent master retreat with a fireplace, custom showroom closet, private patios, and a lavish bath sporting a freestanding soaking tub and dual vanities.
Outdoors is a private entertainer’s backyard, complete with a built-in barbecue, covered patio boasting ceiling heaters, and more than enough space for a proposed pool.
“This home truly sticks out in the neighborhood, as the typical build has been traditional and Cape Cod,” says Bruno. “The builders wanted to change it up and give a family modern living, but keep it high-quality.”
Antonio Bruno and Aaron Kirman
List Price $4.995 million
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF ANDRES SANDOVAL
Living by the ocean often translates into beachy interiors where white tones and a farmhouse style prevail. Located at 1534 The Strand, in Hermosa Beach—just a few blocks from Pier Avenue shops and restaurants—this house proves design can be done differently.
Listed at $11,900,000 by Brent Talbot of RE/MAX Estate Properties, this property’s stunning price tag has a million-dollar view to match and many other surprises that only increase its value. The project is the result of a close collaboration between three minds: the owner, designer Gunnar Jorgensen, and architect Cindy Goff. “Cindy and I are used to working together and we really are a team,” says Jorgensen who invited Goff to join the project. “With this client, it was like working with family.”
Since the beginning, the owner made clear that he wanted something different, far from the cliché of what is usually designed when it comes to coastal homes. The first goal was to create an industrial vibe. “We drew inspiration from Chicago firehouses and schoolhouses to give this urban feel,” explains Goff.
“The creative energy felt upon entering this home would appeal to anyone from an active family to a rock star.”
Steel beams; the open mono stringer staircase that Jorgensen wanted to seem original to the house; the paintable brick that brings texture; and beautiful woodwork are some of the elements that make the house stand out.
“The ample living spaces spread over 2,809 square feet,” says Goff. “The objective was to get the most of the property—which was originally a duplex with the first and the second floors identical—as the owner wanted to accomplish a lot of things, including having a master bedroom that would act as a sanctuary.” The project began, and almost finished, with the design of the two first levels only.
The ground floor, which features big windows and can be completely open to the outside patio that overlooks The Strand, hosts the main living room and the kitchen adorned with a titanium backsplash and furnished with a wine dispenser, as well as a four-car garage, which makes things very convenient given the fact that parking is quite limited by the beach. The floating stairs lead to the first floor, which hosts four bedrooms.
The master suite provides beautiful views over the beach; at the back of the property is another space (that could become a second master suite) the owner uses to practice with his band. A gym, two additional bedrooms, three bathrooms (out of a total of five in the entire property) and the laundry room are also situated on this level.
“We had almost completed the plans when the owner asked us to add the third floor,” Goff recalls. The height limit of 30 feet in South of 22nd St. where the property is located (instead of 25 feet North of 22nd St.) was then maximized. With a Jacuzzi, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and built-in furniture, “the huge rooftop deck is what makes this house so special,” says Jorgensen. Dedicated to entertaining, this area also has an enclosed bar and a private Zen garden, as well as another bathroom.
“For this project, I had to think outside of the box,” says Goff, adding that thanks to Jorgensen knowing the owner well (this is their fourth project together), everything went smoothly. “Gunnar is a visionary. He has the idea and I make it work,” Goff adds. Inside, the dark color palette reflects elegance and sophistication. “However, we kept the spaces warm at the same time,” says Jorgensen. “It’s a modern coastal home with an industrial feel”
In taking meticulous care of every detail and finish, the home shows a high level of quality and craftsmanship. “In this house, the owner wanted everything to be ‘wow,’ ” Goff notes. The home embodies this idea. “Our client likes uniqueness and it’s definitely a unique home for this area,” adds Jorgensen.
In look and feel, he touts the house as having the advantage of perfection, with ground and top floors that amp up the entertaining and a middle floor that promises privacy when the party is over. Of course, in a place with this much “wow” factor, there is something to celebrate every day.
RE/MAX Estate Properties
List Price $11,900,000
That Bay Area has become the worldwide reference for innovation and technology. The whole planet constantly observes what happens in Silicon Valley to better understand how the future will be shaped. The bohemian tradition, cultural history and European influences, however, live on in San Francisco. Reminder: the stunning San Francisco Proper Hotel.
Nestled in a nearly 100-year-old Beaux Arts building, the hotel, opened in 2017, is an ode to the city. It is located in an area with old theaters and arts institutions that is currently enjoying a revival, with luxury residential projects and offices from large companies making their home here. Forgotten for years and then damaged by a fire, the hotel’s building was reimagined with the objective of contributing to the local community’s development.
On the exterior façade, real estate investment and management company The Kor Group took care of every detail. Inside, Kelly Wearstler designed sophisticated spaces with references to several artistic movements. “While carefully preserving the original elements of this classified landmark, we looked to bring something new to San Francisco by collaging a reimagining of past, present and future,” said Wearstler. “The spirit of pre-modernist European influence, hand-selected vintage furnishings, and works by local artists are all part of the warm, inviting design mix.”
Shaped as a welcoming space for guests and a meeting point at the same time, the lobby was restored by craftsmen who used traditional techniques. Inspired by a classic European salon and reflecting a residential atmosphere with cozy nooks and a lounge, this area transitions into the intimate Villon restaurant—named for the French painter Jacques Villon. Among cubist decor, chef Mikey Adams creates contemporary American cuisine with unexpected twists, following San Francisco’s culinary tradition.
Crafted by Josh Harris and Morgan Schick from BVHospitality, the 7×7 cocktail menu comprises seven categories with seven cocktails in each category, with a playful nod to the area of San Francisco (7 by 7 miles). A selection of beers and wines is also available. The ground floor of the hotel also hosts La Bande, (meaning a group of friends in French). Decorated with graphic black-and-white stripes, the coffee shop features house-made pastries, sandwiches and salads in a casual environment. Rooftop bar and lounge Charmaine’s, meanwhile, is one of the best spots to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city on the expansive terrace. For the interior space, Wearstler took inspiration from the Viennese Secession art movement.
Both chic and functional, each one of the 131 rooms of the hotel seems to be a pied-à-terre, where a downtown vibe combines with classic French and Italian details. Previously known as the “Paris of the West,” San Francisco has forged its own identity, mixing the best of Europe and the United States. And this hotel is certainly a good reason to discover—or rediscover—it.
PHOTOGRAPHS: BY MANOLO AND NOAH WEBB, COURTESY OF KELLY WEARSTLER
Located in small-town Surfside, in the northern beaches of Miami, The Surf Club is an iconic property initially developed in 1930. It started as a private club with exceptional views of the ocean that attracted famous guests such as Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra.
The Surf Club property reopened in 2017, after Nadim Ashi of Fort Partners acquired the storied social club. Having built strong relationships with some of today’s greatest creative minds, Ashi commissioned them to write the next chapter of The Surf Club’s story.
The property now consists of a Four Seasons Hotel with 77 guest rooms, 31 hotel residences, 119 private residences, a spa and two restaurants. All of this is nestled in three buildings designed by renowned architect Richard Meier. Created in collaboration with Miami-based architect Kobi Karp, this project reflects a classic modernist aesthetic.
Acclaimed for his pure and elegant style, Parisian interior architect Joseph Dirand designed the public areas, the spa and the hotel rooms. Many of the original installations and key features of The Surf Club were preserved, including Peacock Alley (the entrance corridor) and 40 beach cabanas. The old ballrooms have been transformed into Le Sirenuse Restaurant & Champagne Bar, where guests enjoy Mediterranean and genuine southern Italian cuisine in the care of chef Antonio Mermolia.
Under the pergola-shaded terrace, a refreshed outdoor space now hosts MARE, an oceanfront dining location designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. “MARE was created as a place where guests can relax and unwind in a more casual setting,” says Brudnizki. “Optimizing the unbroken views out to the ocean, MARE incorporates lush planting with upholstered outdoor seating in calming tones of sea green. A clever and spacious layout, mixing corner banquettes with round family-style tables, helps to create cozy spaces that are perfect for intimate drinking and dining.”
Extended in over nine acres, the property is also home to The Surf Club Restaurant, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, a 15,000-square-foot spa, four pools, three fitness centers and two shops (Les Ateliers Courbet for luxury design pieces and Haremlique for Turkish bed linens). Through the landscape design, Fernando Wong created a tropical ambience, which helps to blend the old structure with the new.
For those who want to stay longer and return frequently, it is possible to purchase one of the private or hotel residences, also designed by Joseph Dirand with finishes chosen by Lee Mindel in collaboration with Meier. These luxury residences occupy 1,400 to 7,750 square feet and range from $3.75 million to $35 million. Experiencing the glamour of Miami certainly has its price.
PHOTOGRAPHS: BY CHRISTIAN HORAN
Montana Avenue is justifiably thought one of the most enticing commercial streets in Santa Monica—and indeed, in the city of Los Angeles. Stretching from Brentwood toward the beach, just behind the Brentwood Country Club, it offers a pleasing mix of coffee shops and fast-casual eateries, banks and pharmacies, clothing stores and yoga spots, beauty salons and more.
For this, Montana Avenue is recognized as offering a small-town feel in the big city. Little wonder, then, that the homes within walking distance of this street are high on the list of the most coveted in Los Angeles. If the realtor’s mantra is location, location, location, then the home at 734 18th Street is already a dream, one designed by Ken Ungar, who is listed on Luxe Magazine’s 2019 Gold List, recently designed a home for actress Jennifer Garner and is well-versed in the art of creating luxury residences. Solar-powered, a bonus in increasingly energy-conscious California, the home is surrounded by mature trees and located on the sunny, west side of the street, with a wide apron that welcomes four cars (two inside, two outside).
Even before stepping through the large glass front door one is intrigued—a curiosity that the interior more than satisfies. White oak plank floors highlight the easy flow of the floor plan, from the front door to the back of the house. High ceilings, skylights and plenty of windows flood the interior with natural light. Fleetwood doors fully open the family room to the exterior, seamlessly merging indoors and out, in celebration of a lifestyle that makes Southern California the envy of the world. Yet despite its decidedly modern architecture, the home has the scale and intimacy more characteristic of a traditional home.
Perhaps it is the wood accents carried over from the exterior. From the walnut accent wall in the family room, to the custom-crafted dark wood cabinetry in the large gourmet kitchen, to the wall inset with a temperature-controlled Sub-Zero wine fridge that deftly divides the kitchen from the dining room, these features suffuse the home with immediate warmth. The dividing wall also serves another purpose: to bestow a home’s oft-overlooked ability to conform to the many needs of a modern family’s busy and successful life.
Most days will likely center around the rear of the house: children can commandeer the backyard (there’s plans and renderings—and plenty of room—for a pool just outside the kitchen’s generous windows) while their parents relax in the family room. As meal time nears, the children could drift inside, watching television or playing video games while dinner is prepared in a kitchen whose elegance is elevated by a pair of Tom Dixon light fixtures hanging over countertops made from white matte Dekton, a durable porcelain material usually used outdoors that resists staining and chipping. A coordinating, book-matched backsplash, top-of-the-line Miele appliances, including a convection oven and built-in coffee station, and a large butler’s pantry make even the simplest tasks a pleasure.
Casual meals can take place around the table in the breakfast nook or at the spacious island. On warmer evenings, the backyard is a particularly pleasing option: with a covered living space and kitchen with a 48-inch DCS barbecue, a rotisserie and a substantial island designate this space as the home’s outdoor entertaining area. For more formal occasions—a business dinner or cocktail party—the proper living room pairs with the dining room to offer the perfect setting while the mess of food preparation—or the balletic movements of a private chef—are hidden away. An additional wine display and storage tucked under the nearby stairs capture the remainder of one’s wine collection behind glass, ensuring that when dinner demands another bottle be opened, the conversation will continue without interruption.
While the staircase that ascends to the second floor suggests a floating design, its glass railing provides the safety that parents with younger children will appreciate. In addition to the four en-suite bedrooms upstairs, a den that orchestrates the three junior rooms into a unified whole, offering the children their own living area that can morph from playroom to homework area and hangout spot as they mature.
With its building plans approved prior to the change in the ordinance that reduced the ratio of home size to lot size by 20 percent, these rooms are generous with well-appointed bathrooms, walk-in closets and floor-to-ceiling windows. A window seat in one room, a balcony in another, a private hallway leading to a third—each space has a unique character sure to suit that of each occupant.
The master suite, overlooking the backyard, is certainly deserving of the term. Sparkling Tom Dixon fixtures that hang on either side of the bed are jewelry to the sumptuous trio of spaces—the bedroom, bathroom, and balcony—that make up a luxurious retreat designed for rejuvenation, relaxation and the reconnection for a couple’s harmonious existence. Functionally, two custom closets, with plenty of storage, two toilet rooms, two sinks and a well-lit makeup area, provide copious space to accommodate the chaos of busy early mornings.
The home is “…just the right blend of hard and soft,” concludes real estate agent John Hathorn, “with thoughtful attention to details that give it a layer of luxury that you can sense. And then there’s the scale and the walkability. I could go on. It’s just a really livable, wonderful home.”
John Hathorn | 310.924.4014
DRE 00960182 | Pence Hathorn Silver | Compass
List Price $6,895,000
Breathtaking vistas are primed for the taking at this striking custom residence now on the market in Palos Verdes Estates. “This house has large verandas on both levels and great outdoor living spaces,” says listing agent Charlie Raine. “Unobstructed ocean views are offered throughout the home, allowing for incredible sunsets throughout the year and beautiful views of Catalina Island, as well as Malibu.”
Expect a five-bedroom property with open, fully updated living space boasting hand-carved beams, wrought-iron railings and honed plaster walls. Among the highlights: a formal dining room; gourmet kitchen, built-in bar and breakfast area; and sumptuous master suite with a spacious closet, and a spa-like, chandelier-topped bath with a shower, tub and dual vanities. One of two living areas has French doors that open to reveal a terraced backyard with numerous built-ins, seating areas, a fireplace and lush gardens, while the three-car garage includes a large studio with sliding barn doors
2960 VIA ALVARADO
LOWER LUNADA BAY
3,714 SQ. FT.
Listed by Bill Ruth, Charlie Raine and Carissa Wright of Ruth and Raine
This newly completed, modern residence now listed in Mar Vista has all of the makings of a true oasis. Think a quarter-plus acre lot replete with a pool and spa, fire-pit, outdoor kitchen, dining and barbecue area, mature trees, and plenty of grassy areas with room for a playground or even a private yoga setting. Situated on a secluded cul-de-sac atop a hill, the home also offers unparalleled views of Downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica mountains, along with convenient access to the beach and nearby shops.
“This elegant and sophisticated estate is perfect for those seeking ultimate privacy and retreat,” says listing agent Kerry Ann Sullivan. An open floor plan offers seamless indoor-outdoor environs showcasing a dramatic formal entry and staircase, wall-to-wall windows, skylights, iPad-controlled sound and security systems, and Tesla Solar. Among the standout features: a wine cellar and a chef’s-style kitchen equipped with high-end appliances.
11900 WESTMINSTER PLACE
5,500 SQ. FT
Listed by Tami Halton Pardee and Kerry Ann Sullivan of Halton Pardee + Partners
PHOTOGRAPHS: PETER MCMENAMIN (TOP) AND BRANDON ARANT (BOTTOM)
It was Le Corbusier who said: “Light creates ambiance and feel of a place, as well as the expression of structure.” Set along a coveted Manhattan Beach walk street, a minute’s walk to the ocean and under 10 minutes from downtown, this inviting Modernist home—a bounty of cheerful living spaces spread among two structures—is a well-executed example of this idea.
A standout feature of the property is a majestic rooftop deck spanning nearly 1,000 square feet. “I can’t remember when I’ve seen a rooftop deck this large,” says real estate agent John Corrales, whose firm specializes in Beach Cities coastal properties.
The home’s introduction is an inviting one: an impeccable front yard with a tidy green lawn and desert landscaping. This, along with rustic wood planters and a lounge area provide earthy contrast to the home’s angular, largely glass front exterior. Designed to maximize the exterior environment from the inside, the ground floor conjoins with the outdoors via a sliding glass wall, turning the place into an ideal spot to while away an afternoon or host a neighborhood party.
Indoors, the home’s sunny, clean lines are ornamented with high-end finishes. Floors throughout are French white oak hardwood, adding texture to unfussy white rooms. Baseboard and molding are used sparingly and with purpose, mainly to delineate distinct living areas in an otherwise open floor plan. Hard to miss on the first floor is the staircase, a sculptural centerpiece made of chunky wood steps and subtly tinted glass railings, held in place with a single white beam support.
Special care has been taken in the kitchen, which features a waterfall-design island made of Quartzforms (a non-toxic quartz material lauded for its resiliency). The island’s veined design—which includes black, gray and white tones—visually brings together the room’s glossy white cabinetry, oversized Ann Sacks backsplash tile and an 8-burner Miele range outfitted in stainless steel and black. Neatly tucked behind custom cabinetry, giving the kitchen a sleek, gallery-like look, are appliances such as a built-in Thermador refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher and U-Line wine cooler.
Per the homeowner, both outdoor space and capitalizing on the beachside environment were central to the design of the property. A large skylight in the midst of the home brings in additional natural light, and a fresh-air courtyard at the rear of the home, adjacent to the living room and kitchen, is a unique touch that allows one to reach the secondary structure with ease, a place that houses the garage as well as sun-filled guest quarters.
To have a separate space for guests—complete with a balcony and a living room—is an unexpected luxury one might expect in a larger home. However, Corrales says, “There are people who don’t want a 4,500-square-foot home. A lot of times we get people who walk into our office and say, ‘We don’t want one of those mansions. We just want a beach home, but it would be nice to have guest quarters, too.’”
With four bedrooms and four bathrooms in total, the home’s thoughtful design spans 2,709 square feet, yet feels more spacious due to the scale of rooms and a near-constant connection to the outdoors. The second floor is home to the master suite—an uplifting space decked with awning windows and ocean views—that includes a gleaming white bathroom and a walk-in closet. Nearby is an additional bedroom, as well as a spacious family room with enough room to double as a play space for kids or a quiet study.
The home’s abundance of blue-sky views and ocean air is attributed to the skillful floor plan and the placement of windows, both of which make the most of the home’s great location. “Finding a home on the 100 block that’s on the north side, and south facing, is so difficult,” points out Corrales. Inventory is rare, and the allure has much to do with the area’s proximity to the ocean, optimum Pacific views and natural light. “You could take out all of the lights in the home,” notes Corrales, “and live in the sunlight and moonlight.”
Stepping onto the rooftop deck, one enters a jewel-like retreat from a bustling world. A place with 180-degree ocean views and possibilities galore, from watching the sunset and gazing at stars to enjoying nightly dinners and hosting bashes for over a hundred year-round.
“There are nine layers of protection on the deck—it’s bulletproof,” Corrales says of the construction, which features floors of glossy Brazilian ipe wood, chosen for its beauty and resiliency. Engineering includes heating, a kitchen and two different lighting systems to dial in the ambiance of one’s choosing.
There is a well-designed collection of distinct spaces, from a shaded sitting area and a fire-pit lounge to a bar area and a kitchen-side dining area. Not to miss is a bubbling spa tub, smartly equipped with an ozone system to purify and reduce maintenance.
“It’s almost like there are two living areas,” concludes Corrales. “Inside the house—and up on the deck.” It’s the success of this property’s design that, within a manageable footprint, the most desired beach house items have been incorporated: a light-filled floor plan promoting easy and elegant living; separate quarters for the comfort of guests; and perhaps best of all, a well-crafted sprawl atop the rooftop, expressed in sky and ocean, and designed solely for luxurious enjoyment.
John Corrales 310.346.3332 DRE# 01263687
and Lauren Forbes 310.901.8512 DRE# 01295248
List Price $7,985,000
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL JONASON
The belief that architecture should be dictated by nature guided this 3,390-square-foot project designed in the high desert of California by Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, principal/owner at Olson Kundig. Located in the Tehachapi Mountains area, the remote site on which this family retreat was built presented both challenges and opportunities.
For the homeowners, preserving the rural landscape for future generations and living in a space that emphasizes connection—among family members and between the family and the environment—were key elements of the project.
Kundig designed a self-sufficient home with sustainable strategies and durable materials that can withstand the climate and its consequences (fire risks in summer, extreme cold in winter). “The design approach was driven by a scavenger mentality, seeking always to do more with less, including using salvaged and recycled materials whenever possible,” says Kundig.
Striving to maximize efficiency and minimize disturbance to the environment, the project incorporated 25 tons of structural steel salvaged from a decommissioned cement plant nearby, and wood found in an existing on-site barn was used for some interior elements, such as the dining table.
Inspired by the tradition of pitching tents around a campfire, the concrete, steel and glass house comprises three private wings (one for the couple and one for each of their two children) organized around the central family hearth—the living area. In the main gathering space, a 12-by-26-foot sliding window wall retracts with the turn of a wheel from a 1950s-era gearbox that was found on site, opening up to the outdoor patio.
“I believe that smaller projects and micro details present opportunities for quickly testing ideas—both poetic and technical—on how to create an architecture that relates to its context and connects people to place,” states Kundig. To that end, he oriented and designed the project to maximize daylight and natural ventilation, and as such it produces all its own electricity by way of solar panels and consumes potable water sourced on site.
Meaning the house operates completely off the grid. “It is my belief that architecture should be responsive to its site and give rather than take from its surroundings, and this net-zero project exemplifies that,” Kundig notes. “I am grateful to our client for inviting me to work on this project and for having such ambitious goals for building performance and sustainability.”
Named “Sawmill” in reference to the mining, ranching and logging past of the valley, the house “stands as a testament to high design as an environmental ethic—a building that connects people to place,” concludes Kundig. olsonkundig.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF KEVIN SCOTT / OLSON KUNDIG
One is forgiven for thinking this design hails from a Hollywood backlot—its owner, after all, is a film producer. But this is no set piece from a sci-fi picture, though it is a blockbuster, a genre-breaking design by architect James Whitaker of London-based Whitaker Studio.
“In the spring of 2017, my client in LA had some friends visiting and, having a little time to spare, they all went on a road trip to visit the client’s plot of land in Joshua Tree,” Whitaker remembers.
“Whilst there, amongst the arid landscape and jutting rocks, one of the friends said, ‘You know what would look great here?’” She opened her laptop and showed the group a photo. “The picture was of an office that I’d designed several years ago but had never been built,” says Whitaker. The next time the client was in London, he rang Whitaker and asked to meet up.
The meeting would result in the Joshua Tree Residence, a structure made from shipping containers that fan out from its site on a mountainside where it nestles into the landscape close to the national park. “Each container is orientated to maximize views across the landscape or to use the topography to provide privacy, depending on their individual use,” explains Whitaker, noting that the car garage is roofed in solar panels to provide power for the house.
The material palette—walls are painted white plaster, the floor is polished concrete—is deliberately simple to make way for “the main event.” The shipping containers and the space they create. “Everything else is secondary to that,” says Whitaker, explaining that each container is positioned to frame views out across the landscape or use the topography of the land to screen the house and provide privacy; those pointing skyward minimize direct sunlight while connecting each space with the outside. “Really this is what I enjoy the most about this project, the taking of something highly generic and transportable, and turning it into something very unique and site specific.”
The design represents a new architectural frontier, but for Whitaker it’s merely work. While he admits to having “no appetite for producing the same stuff as everyone else,” he does not consider his work experimental or conceptual.
He starts with the fundamentals of all good architecture—the views, how it feels to be in a space, how light reacts with form—then expands his thinking, which in the case of this project was to consider, “how can we re-purpose this into something that is unique and original?”
Did Whitaker see this architectural comet coming? “Not at all. I had no idea that it would have such universal appeal,” says Whitaker, who will need the entirety of his architectural references—including Herzog and de Meuron, OMA, John Pawson, Frank Gehry, and Richard Rogers—to complete a series of new projects from an office building in Spain, to the master planning of a new town in the Caribbean, to a house project in Iceland. He’s done the desert, why not ice?
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF WHITAKER STUDIO
A 25-minute drive separates the city of Page, Arizona, from this unique hotel owned by the Aman brand. Amangiri—which means “peaceful mountain”—is nestled in a 600-acre protected valley in Canyon Point. The site offers a breathtaking panorama toward the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Set against the backdrop of a rock escarpment and built around a central swimming pool, the hotel blends with its surroundings, thanks to the inspiring vision of the three individual firms that collaborated to give life to this remarkable project: Marwan Al Sayed Inc., Wendell Burnette Architects and Studio Rick Joy—who named themselves I-10 Studio for the duration of the design and execution of Amangiri.
Designed as thick concrete masses in tones that match the surroundings, the buildings emphasize environmental elements that define the region: rock, sand, water and sky. The sublime outdoor swimming pool wraps around the central rock formation, highlighting the perfect balance between architecture and nature. “Leading from the main pavilion are two separate wings that bend and fold against the rock formation,” the architects say.
“The wing to the east is composed of 17 suites that are reached via an external walled street designed as an abstraction of a slot canyon, replete with the sound of water and the moisture of growing moss. The wing to the south, also with 17 suites, unfolds across the desert sand and undulating rock formations providing a strong connection to them and the surrounding mesas.”
Providing framed views, the 34 suites—several of them with private pools—feature a raised stone island in the center with a desk, a bed and a couch. On the private terraces, the lounge benches and fire pits evoke the feeling of camping under the stars, with the welcome addition of luxurious accommodations. Custom-designed by the architects, the furnishing, lighting, and every interior detail reflect the spirit of its specific regional landscape in a contemporary way.
Several dining options allow guests to admire the inspiring site day and night. With a capacity for 76 people, the main venue—which overlooks the swimming pool—has an open kitchen and wood-fired oven, where Native American-inspired cuisine is prepared. Additional venues, including a private dining room for 10, the Chinle Site, Fireside Pavilion, Sunset Trail, Desert Lounge and 6,000-year-old Broken Arrow Cave offer many opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the landscape in different configurations.
Set amid five separate pavilions and water elements, the 25,000-square-foot Aman Spa—also designed by the three architecture firms—honors the healing traditions of the Navajo though the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water. In Amangiri, nature reigns supreme. aman.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF AMAN
Imagine endless days spent in the lap of luxury at this brand-new, AMG Capital-built estate in Bel-Air that serves as a private retreat ideally suited to family living and entertaining soirées alike.
Here, one not only will find massive, resort-style grounds boasting an expansive yard with lounge areas, a fire-pit, zero-edge pool, cabana, open-air kitchen and putting green, but also seamless indoor-outdoor environs replete with high-end finishes and upscale amenities throughout. Add it all up, and this lavish yet livable residence exemplifies the sought-after California dream.
“It is very rare to find a flat 22,000-square-foot lot at the end of a cul-de-sac creating your own compound,” says Cindy Ambuehl, who is co-listing the property with Max Hutchison, both of Compass, for $7.750 million.
“AMG Capital does A-plus work throughout, and it shows in every corner of every room, from the really sexy bar lounge, to the oversized kitchen and family room opening to the backyard.”
Found at 15482 Milldale Drive, this six-bedroom, nine-bath smart home offers 7,512 square feet of open, contemporary living space on three levels featuring white oak flooring, soaring ceilings, designer lighting and high-end fixtures.
Among the highlights is a pub-style parlor with a walk-in bar adjacent to the family room; downstairs hideaway with theater, massage room, gym and guest bedroom; and formal dining room outfitted with an attractive glass-encased wine closet.
A professional chef’s kitchen is equipped with dual islands, Wolf appliances, and a butler’s pantry with a secondary refrigerator, cabinetry and counter space, while the plush master suite holds a fireplace, balcony, lounge, trio of walk-in closets, and spa-quality marble bath with a freestanding soaking tub, dual-vanities and steam shower.
“The house is really unique, because it is incredibly hard to find a place this large that has both emotion and functionality,” concludes Ambuehl. “High quality, great design, on trend…it’s a definite must-see.”
Cindy Ambuehl and Max Hutchison of Compass