Upward Mobility

A trailer park in Malibu puts an entirely new spin on Luxe Beach Living

Written by Alexandria Abraham | Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by John Hathorn, Pence Hathorn Silver, Partners Trust and Ren Smith, Partners Trust
List Price: $4,725,000

Walking through this beach-front residence, which boasts soaring 15-foot ceilings, French limed oak floors and jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views, you’d be hard-pressed to realize that, just over a decade ago, the home was being hauled down nearby Pacific Coast Highway— broken into three, easy-to-reassemble, parts. Hence the term “triple wide.”

Welcome to the world’s most luxurious trailer park, Paradise Cove in Malibu. Here, amid 85 acres of perfectly positioned, ocean-front real estate, the mobile homes have morphed into some of Southern California’s most prized properties. Iconic directors, A-list actors and entertainment executives integrate seamlessly with surfers, lifeguards and teachers in this tight-knit gated community of 265 trailers. Call it the ultimate in high-low living: Most mobile homes in Paradise Cove clock in at about 1,000 square feet, yet many are adorned with marble counter tops and state-of-the-art appliances. A playground, tennis courts and a community clubhouse add to the old-school appeal of the area, originally founded for fishermen in the 1950s. These days, however, prices are pushing towards the truly astronomical: Just this year, the mobile home purchased by Stevie Nicks in 2014 for $4 million sold to an undisclosed buyer for a record-setting $5.3 million.

Although this four bedroom beachfront home looks perfectly turned out, it didn’t start that way when the owner first purchased it in 2001. “When the home first came to this site, it was unfinished. It had a great layout, but it was essentially a blank canvas,” says the owner, a television producer who set about transforming the home into a family beach retreat for himself and his children. He installed bamboo floors, painted the walls vibrant colors and added a wrap-around deck. “Now when you look at it, you’d never know it was a manufactured home,” he says. “It’s really interesting to see what people have created from manufactured homes here. They’ve done them in ways so you’d never know.”

More recently, however, the owner decided to update the interiors, giving the home a more “Hamptons-style, California beach look.” He tapped interior designer Maggie Pierson, a former Paradise Cove resident, to oversee the transition from a “whimsical beach house for kids” to a quieter, more soothingly designed retreat. Pierson set about installing wide-plank oak floors and refinishing all of the kitchen cabinetry with a sleek coat of white lacquer. When it came to furnishing the home, Pierson focused on natural tones throughout. In the living room, custom furniture and upholstered seating designed by Los Angeles-based Alwy Visschedyk keeps it visually quiet, with the other rooms following suit, modulating between creams, beiges and grays. “I wanted to change the whole look, and this renovation achieved that,” he says.

With the toned down interior, the home’s A-list ocean views become even more dramatic. A proliferation of windows spanning all sides of the home look onto what may be one of Paradise Cove’s best views of the Pacific, which can be admired from a majority of the rooms in the house, including the master bedroom with French doors that open to a deck looking straight onto the ocean. With its generous proportions and separate seating areas, the deck offers yet more living space and opportunity to take in the views.

According to the owner, the kitchen may offer some of the home’s best panoramas of the Pacific. “This is one of the best kitchens to cook in while entertaining guests, and it’s also one of the best sites on the coast to see whales,” he says of the curved counter, where a series of windows offer 180-degree sea vistas. The home itself is located on one of the very best sites within Paradise Cove, closest to the ocean with unobstructed views. Add to that the fact that, at 2,300 square feet, it’s significantly larger than many of the other homes and even comes with its own modest-size back garden.

“This is a unique place in the world. It’s a trailer park and it’s also one of the greatest places to raise kids,” he says.

Local real estate agent Ren Smith agrees: “Paradise Cove is this magical place where kids can still run free, and where neighbors care and watch out for each other. It’s a true community in a city where massive, isolated homes are the norm. Where else can you live this close to LA, where you get these kind of amazing views, direct access to your own beach, miles of beautiful coastline, and still have a neighborhood feel? There is nowhere else. That’s why the cove is so special.”

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