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21 Ultimate Gifts: Sol of Malibu

Erika Heet

The GIFT

  • A 57-acre hillside homesite in the private MariSol residential community in Malibu, Calif.
  • A 10,000-square-foot modern residence designed by Santa Barbara–based architect Barry Berkus.
  • A vineyard, a tennis court, an infinity-edge pool and hot tub, two ponds, three miles of private hiking trails, and a restored 1930s caretaker’s residence.

$30 million

Before megamoguls, movie stars, Barbie, and the Beach Boys all landed in Malibu—and long after the Chumash Indians named the area for its booming surf—the 27-mile stretch along the Southern California coast was the personal playground of 19th-century entrepreneur Frederick Hastings Rindge. Following his acquisition of the 13,300-acre Rancho Malibu (which he later expanded to 17,000 acres) in 1892, Rindge wrote of his dream to have “a farm near the ocean, under the lee of the mountains, with a trout brook, wild trees, a lake, good soil, and excellent climate, one not too hot in summer.” That dream can now come true for one Robb Report reader, who will end up with a singular slice of Rindge’s former territory—with most everything on his wish list and more.

Offered by MariSol (see “Lying Low”)—an 80-acre private community set on what was the northwestern portion of Rindge’s estate—this gift consists of the development’s most prized plot and an appropriately extravagant dream home. Santa Barbara–based architect Barry Berkus, who designed the one existing home at MariSol, envisions for this 57-acre hillside site a five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 10,000-square-foot modern residence that will take full advantage of the mountain and ocean views. The main house will be surrounded by native landscaping, two ponds, a vineyard, and large terraces that lead to an infinity-edge pool and a hot tub. Just down the road on the property, a renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom caretaker’s bungalow homesteaded in 1938 will remain in situ, and a tennis court will be added nearby.

“The idea was to create a relaxed but sophisticated beach home that portrays the feeling of being on vacation upon arrival,” says Berkus, who incorporated exaggerated, double-height ceilings into the plans for the main house to maximize natural light and enhance the view, which includes 10 miles of coastline and all eight of the Channel Islands. “There are separate suites for guests and extended family, with soaring roof planes and sliding glass walls opening to the ocean and outdoor courtyards,” he says. “It is an escape from urban life.”

Further separating the retreat from civilization will be a gated entry that gives way to the main drive. The drive will lead over a stone bridge spanning a man-made pond and waterfall, and will then climb gently through the vineyard toward the front of the house.

Berkus has selected concrete, stucco, glass, and stone for the house, which will be defined by rooftop architectural gestures that appear to extend toward the ocean. Should the buyer desire a different design, he or she can create a more personal vision, subject to architectural review. If the set plans appeal to the buyer, he or she will only need to be concerned with choosing interior finishes, adding casual furniture, and bringing bathing suits.

“This property is unlike any other in all of Malibu,” says codeveloper Richard Morris, who adds that the most important aspect of ownership of this estate is the responsibility that comes with it. “Only one will have the opportunity to fulfill Rindge’s dream, preserve his legacy, and become stewards of this pristine land.”

MariSol, 310.589.8848, www.marisolmalibu.com

The gift is available to one buyer and must be purchased by December 31, 2011. The price includes the 57-acre site, the Barry Berkus–designed residence, and other listed improvements to be constructed, subject to approvals by the local governing agencies. Completion of the improvements is scheduled for 2014.

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