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This Malibu Beach House Is Quintessential California Contemporary


Rocky and lush, lively and tranquil.… There are many different sides to the California coast. At the eastern end of the town, this Malibu beach house house sits right on the sands of mile-long Carbon Beach, known locally as “Billionaire’s Beach.” A community of famous names makes its home here, from music moguls and software billionaires to mega-successful business people, with figures like David Geffen and Larry Ellison among them.

When property developer and interior designer Saffron Case took on this project, the house was in very poor condition. “It hadn’t been remodeled since the 1980s, and its finishes were dated,” she explains. “Given its location, we knew it had to be a luxury beach retreat. A weekend refuge where you could surf and relax.”

The floor plan emphasizes wide-open spaces, with 180-degree views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean, in every room. Two different living rooms are separated by the dining room and kitchen, complemented by a bar. Upstairs, the enormous, paneled bedroom has a fireplace, ample lounge space, and a study that can be closed off with sliding glass doors. Space is the foremost luxury in this villa, which includes a grand terrace and balcony off of the substantial open communal areas. Case’s style is a mix of the modern and traditional, based on clean lines and muted tones. Treating the walls with white oak and cream plasterwork, the interior designer has created a cocoon that is relaxed and breezy, luxurious and elegant. “The house benefits from natural light and a bright exposure, so we were able to mix modern organic materials and furnishings for a soft neutral palette,” she says.

The bar, fireplace, and kitchen hood are all clad in aged copper, while the dining room chairs and coffee table in the living room are in dark oak. Facing the TV area with its wood and travertine elements, the bar has copper-clad surfaces that play off a peach-colored mirror behind glass shelves. The copper has been water-aged to create a “living” blackened finish that slowly evolves over time through exposure to the elements. At dusk, rays of sunlight striking the peach-colored glass and copper producing a magnificent effect. The same is true for the blond wood used generously in the floors, walls, door frames, and in certain elements—like the elevated sideboard in the living room, the sweeping entrance, and the study area in the paneled bedroom—all of which radiate warmth throughout the house. So too do the thick, shearling covers for the seats and cushions and the large curtains that, when closed, scatter the light streaming in from the ocean. It’s a view you’ll never grow tired of.

The hallway’s dramatic floor-to-ceiling wood paneling is topped by a large central skylight. A console in burnt and waxed Iroko wood by Arno Declercq via Garde is complemented by the long dark carpet that seems to lead right into the ocean.


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