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After extensive renovations, this clifftop home fulfills a dual purpose as a movie set and a private family retreat


Remodeling a house so that it will suit two or more different purposes is an increasingly popular option today. With developments in technology and communications, working from home has become a practical and appealing choice for many business people.

However, when an office area is included in a newor renovated home, issues such as privacy and the importance of planning separation between work and home spaces often arise. When interior designers Janet Bussell and Barrie Livingstone were commissioned to remodel the home featured here, the dual purposes required made the task more complex than simply allocating space for a home office.

Architect Ron Goldman originally designed the 7000 square foot home in 1985, and various movies including The Terminator and Terminator 2 have since been filmed there.

Perched on a limestone bluff 40ft above the ocean and highway, the house is set in two acres of lush tropical gardens.

As a result of exposure to the harsh environment over the years, the condition of the house had deteriorated, and the swimming pool had been damaged by an earthquake.


When the new owners decided to renovate, they wanted to retain most of Goldman's original architecture, but upgrade the interior and exterior.

"The owners are record producers who travel extensively in the course of their work and lead very busy lives. They wanted a home base that would be a peaceful and serene retreat for their family," says Livingstone.

"At the same time, they still wanted the house to be suitable as a location for films, television photoshoots and commercials. Because of its size, proportions and layout, the house is ideal for film-making," he says.

The property contains three separate buildings – the main house, a guest house and garaging. The seaward side of the ground floor of the main house contains the large open-plan living area, with four bedrooms and bathrooms behind it. The entire upper level of the house is taken up by the master suite, which overlooks the ocean.

When the main house is rented for film-making, the owners can retreat comfortably to the separate guest house nearby.

Most walls on the ground level of the main house are glazed, so the main living space commands dramatic 360° views of the ocean in front of the house and trees and mountains on the landward side.

The main living area has 18ft high ceilings and a kitchen at one end. Full-height sliding doors in the living area and in the bedrooms are 6ft wide and open onto stone walkways that surround the house. Wide paths were created to provide film crews and their cameras with easy access to most areas of the house.

"As well as being ideal for movie making, the free flow between indoor and outdoor spaces suits the moderate climate and ensures the house is always comfortable to live in," says Livingstone.

In the interior design, Bussell-Livingstone has kept to a simple, duochromatic color scheme of blue and white at the direction of the client.

"From the beginning the owners specified a color palette of bright white, lilac and blue because these colors promote tranquility, creativity and spirituality," says Bussell.

"All windows and doors are glazed with blue tinted glass. Instead of mixing colors to create variety in the design, we have mixed our materials – stainless steel, marble, glass and sheer fabrics," she says.

Doors and windows are glazed with blue Azure-Lite glass, the kitchen cabinetry and barstools are blue and the sheer drapes are blue. Walls and ceilings are all painted white and the sofa in the lounge is upholstered in white suede. Pure-white Thassos marble slabs and tiles imported from Greece have been laid on the floors and staircases throughout most of the house. Carpet in the master bedroom was custom-dyed to match the drapes.

The predominant color in the house is a shade of periwinkle blue – ensuring the house has a warm feel.

Even the garden follows the blue and white theme. Flowers are either white, blue or lilac and the concrete in and around the swimming pool has been specially treated to make it a brilliant white.

"Blue isn't just the owners' favorite color – it also harmonizes with the sea and the lush green of the tropical foliage that surrounds it," says Bussell.

First published date: 08 May 2003

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Credit List

Original architect Ron Goldman AIA
Interior designer Bussell-Livingstone Interiors, ASID (Malibu, CA)
Structural engineer Parker Resnick
Main contractor Artemis Design and Development
Windows Azure-Lite Glass from Malibu Glass & Mirror
Flooring AAA Thassos marble, installed by Rubin Marble and Granite
Wallcoverings Benjamin Moore paint, Bisazza tiles on interior fountain wall
Furniture Living room – sofa designed by Bussell Livingstone Interiors, cocktail table by Chueca of Spain; dining table by Brueton/Pinnacle, chairs by Cantoni, side and arm chair by Paris, fabric by Kravet New Ultra 101; main bar – Venus barstools by Johanson, upholstery in Robert Allen Sensuede Blanco
Window treatment Robert Allen Soleil in Cornflower
Lighting Tech Lighting cable system; hanging fixture – Flos/Globall
Paintings Johannes Klok
Audio equipment McIntosh
Kitchen design Jan Stevens and Bussell-Livingstone Interiors
Kitchen manufacturer Snaidero
Kitchen cabinets Snaidero high-gloss Dream Blue Metal Bright lacquer
Faucets KWC in Polished Chrome from Euro Concepts
Oven, ventilation Gaggenau
Cooktop, steam oven, dishwasher, coffee system Miele
Kitchen furniture Bar stools, chairs, table bases from Gordon Intl and Thonet Bombo series, in Periwinkle
Master bathroom – tub Americh from Speciality Hardware
Vanity Colored art glass from Joel Berman Glass
Cabinetry White high-gloss laminate
Basin Kohler from Altmans
Faucets, fittings Moen Villeta in polished chrome from Altmans
Bedroom furniture Sofa designed by Bussell-Livingstone Interiors
Bedroom carpet Custom dyed to match fabric
Landscape architect Scott Schraeder
Planting Tri-Valley Landscape
Poolside furniture Lounges, chairs, dining table by Hugonet; small round tables by Aaro Saarinen