Encinal Bluffs Family Compound

Malibu, California

Project Details

Project Partners
Robert A.M. Stern
Roger H. Seifter

Download Project PDF


This residence, sited atop a bluff overlooking a spectacular stretch of Pacific coastline, disposes the elements of a single house into independent structures organized around garden courts in the manner of the hill towns of Provence, Tuscany, and Spain. In place of a traditional fountain square, the focus is a courtyard with an edgeless pool, anchored by a deep loggia at its north end and framed by the formal living and dining spaces to one side and the master bedroom suite and guest accommodations on the others. A network of smaller courtyards and intimate gardens that open from each building are interconnected by half-hidden pathways. Broad shaded terraces and outdoor staircases celebrate the steeply sloping site; their generous proportions make them gathering places in their own right. Limestone rubble walls, exposed rough timber framing, and old terra cotta roof tiles reinforce the hill-town character.

Inside, finishes and d├ęcor continue the Mediterranean allusions: simple, planar plaster walls are offset by intricately framed wood ceilings; the stone paving of the outdoor terraces flows into the more public indoor spaces. Near-zero sight line steel casement windows and doors are a distinctly Californian reference, borrowed from the region's Mediterranean revival of the 1920s and 30s.

Shellstone pathways meander down to the beach below, stopping at a horizon-edge spa and a cozy beachhouse retreat along the way.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image