Occam’s razor states that usually the simplest solution to a problem is the best solution. This principle is displayed in the Lindemann Residence in Malibu, California.
This new home needed to serve three functions. The first was that it must be one of the most desirable summer rental properties on the beach. The second was that it could function as a family compound for three generations of relatives. The third was it could become a future primary residence for the youngest sibling’s fledgling family.
It also had to be constructed on, what would be for beachfront homes in Malibu, a tight budget.
Simple East Coast forms were chosen for the structure. Expansive glass doors and windows were judiciously placed and sized so that no steel frames were required. The spatial organization was clear and concise: downstairs in the beachfront area of the home is a large communal space; upstairs beachfront is a three-bedroom family wing; downstairs rear (street) is the garage and two en suite bedrooms; upstairs rear is a two-bedroom carriage house apartment.
The front and rear buildings are connected by a highly functional circulation and utility hallway. This organizational scheme creates a sheltered courtyard, which is activated by a large stone fireplace. This outdoor space is complemented by a large beachfront terrace with an outdoor dining table, barbecue area, fire pit and Jacuzzi.
The interiors are simple and complemented with several objects and materials from the owners’ cache.
Even on the tight budget, simple “moments” were created to personalize the residence. A small sitting area under the stairs became an unanticipated crowd pleaser at parties. An indoor/outdoor doghouse solved an age-old problem with pets on the beach. And the simple placement of doors, windows and balconies in the courtyard create a Shakespearean outdoor room at no additional cost.
Septic System Considerations
Finding space for a new, advanced treatment septic system on a 30-foot wide beachfront lot is not an easy task. For this new home, we needed to use traffic-rated (extra strong) tanks located in the required off-street parking area. The actual drain fields that absorb the treated effluent were located in the side yard walkway and in the courtyard. In fact, we used the required square footage for the drain field to determine the dimensions of this outdoor space, which we then embellished with dry laid limestone, an outdoor fireplace, and both built-in and free-standing seating. The mechanics for the system needed to be accessed from a public right of way. We chose to design a gated, yet accessible, area for the “bells and whistles” of the system off to the side of the structure.