KAA Design Group: Paseo La Cresta & The Long View

Fantasies of life set in Southern California inevitably involve water. It might be a pool, its mirrored finish punctuating a green lawn. It might be the ocean, pounding away at the shore, its foaming waves full of promise.

Atop a Bluff in Palos Verdes, KAA Design Group Creates a Zen Residence That Celebrates Astonishing Views

For this Palos Verdes home, perched high on a bluff above the ocean, it’s the majestic panorama of the Pacific. Sweeping up the coastline, the view encompasses Santa Monica to Malibu, even pulling the sparkle of Los Angeles‘ downtown into its embrace.

“Taking advantage of that view was a must,” says architect Grant C. Kirkpatrick, founding partner of Los Angeles-based KAA Design Group.

KAA Design Group led by Grant Kirkpatrick and Partner Duan H.M. Tran, has been a leader in contemporary architecture for over two decades justly awarded for its designs, many of which celebrate California’s singular coastal beauty.

“We believe that architecture starts with a story,” says Grant Kirkpatrick.

“A beautiful home is founded on marrying the unique lifestyle and needs of a client with the singular characteristics of a particular site.”

Meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, supported by a community of artisans, builders, and master fabricators bring this philosophy to life. The firm’s highly collaborative process, which incorporates a design technology platform that leverages several high-end tools—such as 3D print modeling, photorealistic renderings, video animations, and virtual reality—helps their clients visualize their home.

It’s these principles that brought the clients, long-time Palos Verdes residents, to their doorstep. They hoped that the firm would be able to pull the home, built sometime in the 1980s, firmly into the present, creating a welcoming contemporary backdrop that would not only form the ideal backdrop to gatherings large and small but channel the welcoming spirit of their close-knit community.

“It was a Spanish adobe wannabe,” says Grant Kirkpatrick, remembering his first impression of the original thick-walled structure.

“The main feature of the house was its location.”

While it had a good overall layout, including a traditional central courtyard with a pool and a wide porch on the ocean side, its dark and uninviting rooms were completely disconnected from those commanding northerly views. To remedy these issues, KAA was going to have to take the structure down to the studs.

“We envisioned a more contemporary ranch-style home,” says Grant Kirkpatrick.

The new design completely erases any memories of the old home, saluting the view from nearly every room. The exuberant seascape is brought into focus by a subdued palette of white and charcoal plaster, warm mahogany, Italian tile, and a slate roof, which lets the vibrant blue of the ocean shine. Glass walls visually expand the center of the home and pivot its focus from interior to exterior. Overflowing with natural light, the entire residence is now an elegant retreat that keeps those unparalleled ocean vistas front and center.

“We wanted it to be more unexpected,” says Grant Kirkpatrick.

That starts with the entryway. A low pergola and lush green walls frame an imposing dark wood door that opens to a tease of sparkling water glimpsed within the parameters of the glass front door. A long pale IPE walkway and a metal trellis with a canopy beckon visitors into the central courtyard over an animated koi pond.

Based on the Japanese concept of “roji,” the dewy ground traversed prior to entering a traditional teahouse which leaves behind the chaos of the outer world in favor of the tranquility of the beverage ceremony, the design underlines the home’s objective of rest and relaxation.

An H-shaped floor plan captures the courtyard in one embrace and the home’s views in the other. The great room, positioned at the center of the house, is punctured with enormous windows and hugged by the transparent porch, bolstered with mahogany columns, glass railings, and Italian tile, that provide a buffer from the wind while keeping the focus on the view.

A generous kitchen with a vaulted skylit ceiling runs along one side of the home. Outfit with wire-brushed oak veneer cabinets, Ceasarstone countertops, and a 16-foot long island, pocketed sliding glass door completely open it to the exterior. The room’s muted gray tones provide respite from the sun.

Sparkling in the light that filters in from above, a stunning glass display tower showcases the owner’s substantial wine collection. Outside, a seating area, dramatically cantilevered over the bluff, is warmed by a firepit.

Interiors by Tim Clarke Design support KAA’s inspired vision.

“It was about keeping the view exposed,” Tim Clark shares.

“It was almost like my job was less about embellishments and more about being true to the architecture.”

The result is a light and airy home that acknowledges its surroundings.

“Clearly the view is the thing that drives the home,” says Tim Clarke.

Full speed ahead.

KAA Design Group | kaadesigngroup.com
Grant Kirkpatrick & Duan Tran

Photos: Manolo Langis

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