Beastie Boys Legend Mike D enlisted architect Barbara Bestor to devise a haven that celebrates the best of California living.
Says Mike D: Thirteen years ago, my wife, Tamra, and I were living in a beautiful, spacious Spanish Colonial house in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was a California dream: three stories, steps down to a pool, commanding views of the city. It was close to Hollywood and Silver Lake, where everyone we knew lived, and we could walk across the street to Griffith Park for endless miles of hikes with our dog.
Then we discovered the beach.
Our son Davis had just been born, and we were looking for ways to get out of the house. Two friends introduced us to one of those hidden spots that only locals seem to know, a secluded beach reached by meandering rugged pathways—it was a patch of sand with only a few people around, children and dolphins playing in the water, and gentle, surfable waves breaking just beyond. Out on the horizon lay all of Santa Monica Bay, and on clear days, we could see Palos Verdes and even Catalina Island. It was intoxicating, and we visited so regularly that the first words Davis uttered were beach and ocean. Before we knew it, we were looking at homes for sale.
We were already in love with that particular beach, so proximity was key. We narrowed our search further so that our kids—we were about to have our second son, Skyler—might someday bike to friends’ homes or the water on their own. Then we found it: a large, flat property with a lawn that stretched out to a fruit orchard bordered by a neighbor’s horse pasture. Never mind the agglomeration of ramshackle structures (a three-bedroom house with a few loosely connected guest cottages) and an eyesore of a fence enclosing it all. Our multilevel Los Feliz home paled in comparison. We took it.
Tamra wasted no time ripping out the ugly fence all on her own. And our challenge became clear: to unite and logically redesign what had become a hodgepodge of nondescript buildings.
The architects we met universally wanted to tear down all the existing structures and build a pristine new version of our compound. This would require way more money and patience than we had. Then we talked to our friend Barbara Bestor, whom we’d known for years. Barbara had kids, and she understood how we wanted to live. She also had experience working within tight money constraints. A quick alliance was struck. Barbara would do all the architecture, and I would oversee the interiors, collaborating closely with her team. We were already in construction on our Brooklyn home, which I was also designing, so I felt prepared to handle the job.
One thing on which we all agreed was that the main house was too segmented and didn’t connect with the outside. Barbara’s smart solution was to raise the middle section, creating an entirely new great room, with radiant flooring, that opened up completely to the terrace and lawn. She cleverly inverted the standard gabled roof, swapping it for a butterfly shape.
We all love using bold color. The bright-yellow entry door nearly drove our painter to quit—so many coats were required to achieve the desired effect—but the result makes me happy every day. So do the vibrant tiles in the baths and the cerulean barn doors on the poolhouse. I had just designed a wall covering called Brooklyn Toile with the company Flavor Paper for our New York house, so a Malibu version featuring beach scenes was a natural fit.
Barbara embraced the indoor-outdoor living concept by adding skylights and clerestory windows and bringing the exterior walls’ board-and-batten treatment inside. We used the same upholstery fabrics for indoor built-ins and outdoor cushions and had matching dining table frames fabricated. I gave the interior model a resin-tint top courtesy of a surfboard glasser, while its sibling got a more sun- and weather-resistant hickory top.
The dining area has Bocci pendants and chairs from Amsterdam Modern. Artwork by Keltie Ferris; blue bowl and tall vase from Nickey Kehoe.