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1950s beachside getaway is transformed into a sculptural new home

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Raised above the sand with decks cantilevered out the front, this revamped holiday home seems to hover over the surf

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Designing a house to make the most of a view is not an unusual objective for an architect. But what makes this project different is the spectacular nature of the site – and architect Mark Dziewulski's dramatic response to it.

The owners were attracted to the site as soon as they saw it. Positioned at the end of the long open stretch of Malibu Beach, it had no home next to it, giving the potential for wide Pacific Ocean views on three sides.

Being the end house also made it highly visible to the 50,000 cars that pass each day on the Pacific Coast Highway, which hugs the coastline at this point.

"All of this meant that I could make something dramatic and sculptural that would be seen," says Dziewulski.

What wasn't so attractive, though, was the existing building – one of the inexpensively built weekend getaways on the beach dating back to the 1950s and ‘60s.


The house had been strangely planned with a number of small spaces.

"Moving the third bedroom upstairs allowed the ground floor to be opened up completely for the new living, dining and kitchen area.

"These main spaces open up towards the surf with a wall of glass and extensive cantilevered decks with fire pits," says Dziewulski. "Having this indoor-outdoor connection plus flexibility for entertaining was very important for the owners."

In the compact design, the master suite occupies one side of the second level, with two guest bedrooms and their ensuites in the other half of the space.

To make the outlooks as expansive as possible on both levels, the architect designed an angled structure for the home so that the glazed facades are unobstructed.

"The design evokes memories of yachts and cranes, as a raised form hanging over the sea. It appears almost machine-like – as though the floors have been lifted and hoisted over the waves.

"It is literally cantilevered over the surf, which passes beneath it at high tide."

In contrast, the street side of the house is more private and sheltered, apart from double height glazing in the entrance which allows light into the centre of the house and gives views to hills at the back.

Care was taken during the construction process to ensure there was minimal impact on the site.

"It was built on the footings of the existing structure, so we didn't need to touch the beach or disturb the natural environment.

"We recycled framing and structure, and transformed them into something entirely new – saving a lot of landfill."

First published date: 30 July 2016

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Credit List

Architect Mark Dziewulski Architect
Structural engineer Bruce Resnick, Parker Resnick
Interior decorator Jennice Tronciale, Tronciale Design
Sliding doors and windows Fleetwood
Wood floors White oak 8" plank from Du Chateau
Stone wall at staircase Hera Veneer stone from Soli Architectural Surfaces
Dining room Arc table and Glove Chairs from Molteni Italia; Big Bang light fixture
Living room Holiday sofa, Panna Cotta coffee table by Molteni Italia; Gio Ponte grey armchair; Dada Stools, Domino side tables and Landscape brown leather lounge chair from B&B Italia; Low Pad Cappellini leather chair by Jasper Morrison
Master bedroom Crescent bed by Camerich; Le Corbusier vintage chaise; B&B Italia ottoman
Outdoor furniture West Elm chaise lounge, West Elm chairs and ‘in and out' long bench by Capellini
Entry light feature Oh Mei Ma Weiss by Ingo Maurer
Kitchen countertop White Calacatta Gold Marble from Stone Source
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Range, oven, coffee maker Miele
Hood Futuro-Futuro
Sink fixtures Dornbracht
Bath fittings Boffi Fukasawa
Sinks Duravit
Freestanding bath tub Victoria and Albert Barcelona Electric
TV/mirror Nova 4
Bathroom floor Honed Basaltina from Stone Source
Tub wall Statuary bookmatched marble slabs