My favorite homes in the world are long, low, lean; informal massing, sheathed in board and batten with plentiful sliding glass doors punctuated throughout, creates distinct, utilitarian spaces, spaces which all connect to and interact with the out of doors. This home, a 1949 original, is a property that is home to each and every one of the aforementioned qualities. This home is a true example of California post World War II design with its massive entertaining spaces and sizable private pool, a promising, seductive escape from reality just on the other side of the front door of your very own house. From the street, this world is separated by a naturalistic, rustic border before a roughhewn fence and mature landscaping screen the view. The locations of both the garage and front doors are well selected in the composition of the home and within the site itself—I will always be a big supporter of the wing garage with its pleasantly farm-like coziness and countryside kindliness. This type of entrance creates a certain type of atmosphere, an atmosphere heavy with the sense of the lasting connection between land, building, and occupant—the beauty. This home is all about finding and enjoying the easy beauty throughout the property.
While, unfortunately, there is not a floor plan for this property, there are numerous examples of Cliff May, the California ranch house architect of California ranch house architects, floor plans for his gracious home, many of which dot the same storied, and horsey, community as this home. All three of the floor plans help reveal the centrality of indoor-outdoor movement and communication during this period. A pool, large terraces, and covered exterior seating areas, or rooms, were necessary, if not primal, to the extension of the indoors out, or the outdoors in. These particular examples display a multifaceted, deliberate approach to creating homes that most advantageously interact with their landscapes.
The interiors of this house are well-suited to the coastal California climate: windows, immense sliding doors, and skylights abound. Behind the adobe-esque front façade and beneath the original, now banned due to its fire hazard, wood shake roof, the original, and lovingly reimagined, spaces enable you to start from a blank slate with this home, which is half the charm—the floor plan and structural bones are shine through, enabling one to clearly envision their future personalization.
For my own personalization of this particular home, I would use the general theme from the home, since demolished, in this listing for 106 Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach, California. Each space wonderfully interacted with the out of doors from unique, defined spaces; here, thick spare walls enabled walls of glass, inset shelving, and an intricate wood fireplace mantel to comingle and enhance one another. There were paneled bedrooms and paneled media rooms, which also featured a personal library. The kitchen was chic in its luxurious industriousness. The master bedroom suite was clean and crisp, the four poster bed heightening the experience, a detail I would carry over in a heartbeat. The exterior arbor, as well as the deep, deep blue pool would also be welcome additions in my customization project.
The current rear elevation and yard, planted with California natives and centered around a large, magnificent pool, reveal a multitude of possibilities in their spareness and undeveloped potential.
I see a long, rectangular, deep, deep, blue, blue, pool running away from the house toward the rear lot line, California natives ranging from agaves to century plants to native grasses for a miniature meadow, a chicken coop, a small citrus grove, a pergola, lavender. The pergola and citrus grove are inspired by the below images from Miranda Brooks Landscape Design, Brooke, Giannetti, another one of Diane Keaton’s former homes, and other (former) real estate listings.
This home is the California dream: a house in the city, and yet in the country. It would be a true privilege to live such a lifestyle. Similarly, it’s location right of Sunset Boulevard near the Brentwood/Pacific Palisades border is quite an enviable location for ocean breezes as well as its relative ease of transporting yourself around town.
The 26,463 square foot lot, includes the original 4 bedroom, 4 and a half bathroom, 4,513 square foot original 1949 California ranch home. David Offer, of Berkshire Hathaway, is. Currently listing the property for $8,250,000.
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