California Ranch Homestead

Pacific Palisades, CA

On an expansive canyon-view lot in the Pacific Palisades, our clients dreamt of a casual, comfortable, contemporary (and work-from-home friendly) estate to host family and friends from abroad for longer visits. They commissioned our studio to devise a master plan and several buildings to bring their transitional California farmstead vision to life. 

Our response was a 13,400 sq. ft. main house, along with a separate guest house and a pool house, celebrating indoor-outdoor living, capturing canyon and mountain views, and providing opportunities for discovery and exploration for the family’s four young children. We were also committed to preserving mature trees, a productive vineyard, and a wildlife protection corridor on this sprawling property – which formerly consisted of eight separate lots. The buildings were thoughtfully sited to maximize natural light and air and to minimize grading, only requiring the addition of one retaining wall. To define 21st-century California ranch style, modern details were paired with traditional materials, such as wood board-and-batten siding, steel windows and doors, rustic stone, and standing-seam metal and slate roofs.

The main house is nestled into the meandering site across three levels and wraps around an inviting sun-soaked courtyard with outdoor fireplace and fountain, perfect for summer evening gatherings. The garage and modest entry at street level protects privacy and preserves views. The home is divided into separate wings with distinct functions (work, sleep, and play – complete with a video game room!) that are connected by steel-and-glass links. The main stair sits within a double-height, steel and glass structure, carefully screened by a discreet, one-story stone facade at entry level. A commercial elevator ensures ease of access for all ages (and efficient unloading of groceries and luggage!). The light-filled primary suite opens to a private patio and spa. Her office and his study feature large steel-and-glass doors that open to the garden and spectacular scenery of the Santa Monica Mountains.

For relaxation, play and entertaining, a separate pool house includes a gym, kitchen with bar, massage room, and pool bath with sauna. And at the far reaches of the site, the private guest house features a living room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace and two guest rooms with ensuite baths.