Having grown accustomed to small spaces, severe restrictions on building size imposed by geologic conditions and building codes were not seen as insurmountable by a couple moving from SoHo to the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu. The 2.5 acre site provided sun and air and enormous panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island and the red sandstone outcroppings of the local mountains.
Conditioned space was limited to 800 sf, so the program was reduced to a living area and a sleeping area, with a bathroom in between the two main spaces to afford privacy. A continuous band of cabinets houses the kitchen in the living area, the laundry adjacent to the bathroom, and ample closet space in the sleeping area. These built-ins reduce the required furniture in each room to the essential.
Perched on a slope and entered from a parking area below, the house is completely private. Operable glass windows and doors circle the conditioned space on three sides, providing a connection to the outdoors. Inside the house one is part of the local chaparral and wildlife at short range, and enjoys the long vistas of the surrounding mountains and ocean below. Deep eaves and deck space also surround the enclosed living spaces and provide ample protected outdoor living area.
Site cast concrete walls, ceramic tile and a steel frame provide a non-combustible building shell in an area threatened by wildfire. Cork carpet flooring is both soft underfoot and renewable, and the wood slats on the interior walls and ceiling lend a hand assembled warmth to all of the interior spaces.