A Malibu resident for the past three decades, designer and builder Scott Gillen (perhaps best known for Unvarnished) has built nearly two dozen one-of-a-kind homes in the Malibu and Venice areas. Gillen, who formerly worked as a commercial director, is known for his signature open-concept homes with hand-sanded beams and walls of glass.
“I think spec builders are just that—spec,” Gillen says. “They just want it to look pretty and sell. My designs, I hope and I feel, are more timeless. I only use materials that will stand the test of time. I want to come back 10 years from now and be proud of what I built.” Gillen, who recently snapped up a 24-acre coastal plot in Malibu for a record-setting $50 million so he could create five custom homes, has also been hard at work on the New Castle, a nearly 15,500-square-foot home that hits the MLS later this week.
Situated atop an oceanfront bluff at 23800 Malibu Crest Drive, the fully furnished home was built on the site of the original Malibu Castle, a Scottish-style structure owned by socialite and philanthropist Lilly Lawrence. Though the original building burned down in a fire in 2007, the New Castle rivals the old in terms of grandeur. Because of new building codes, a masterpiece of this size will not be able to be built in the future, making the New Castle even more rare and desirable. “You will never be able to build a home of this magnitude in Malibu ever again,” says Gillen.
Situated at the end of a 400-foot-long double-gated driveway, the five-bedroom residence offers stunning ocean vistas. One of the home’s standout features is a custom teak wine and cigar room, which cost over $1 million to build. The wine portion showcases 440 handpicked bottles from Napa Valley, and the cigar lounge features a dedicated ventilation system. “[The wine and cigar room] is a glass Rubik’s Cube in the center of the home where every pane lines up perfectly, allowing you to see through to your very own ocean view,” Gillen says.
Throughout the home, 80-year-old dry-aged oak floors, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and Gillen’s signature hand-painted, hand-sanded beams create a modern, airy environment. Custom pieces include a 12-foot, hand-hewn teak dining table, a 31-foot Minotti couch, and a black-walnut matte-finish tub in the master bath. Outside, the infinity pool cascades into a two-story waterfall down the side of the house. A two-bedroom guest house, spread across 4,000 square feet, includes a Bulthaup kitchen, great room, gym, and cold plunge spa.
To make the home more sustainable and environmentally friendly, Gillen built a Tesla charging station and a butterfly sanctuary on the grounds.
The home is listed by Sandro Dazzan and Brittany Monforte of Coldwell Banker and Branden Williams of Hilton & Hyland for $85 million, making it the most expensive property currently on the market in Malibu.