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Geometry Lessons in Malibu : A Bold New Beach House Rises on an Old Foundation

February 22, 1987|VIRGINIA GRAY | Virgina Gray is an associate editor of Los Angeles Times Magazine.

Built 80 feet above the Pacific at Malibu, Red and Shirley Lachman's trilevel home has an unusual geometric exterior that takes full advantage of its hillside location and ocean view.

When architectural designer Randy Washington, of VCA / Randy Washington Group, accepted the project, he inherited a predetermined foundation--pilings had already been sunk 100 feet down to bedrock to anchor the house--that would restrict his building plans. Working within that constraint, Washington devised what he calls "a highly contemporized Moorish design"--with stucco walls, an unusual roof line, windows and clerestories in a variety of shapes, accents of glass block, and rounded balconies. The 3,800-square-foot interior is similarly geometrical. Washington designed the upper level to include the entry, living and dining rooms and kitchen. Already spacious, these areas seem bigger thanks to high ceilings that are punctuated with skylights and clerestory windows.

Walls and ceilings are white, highlighting the interior architecture. Furnishings in these areas are an eclectic mix that doesn't detract from the spatial drama: contemporary seating for the living area; country-style chairs and a banquette and round dining table, plus a few antiques and convenient built-ins. Two bedrooms, storage and laundry rooms are located on the center level. And a studio / guest room, bath and storage are on the basement level.

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