2024 RDAA | Custom Urban House | Graoni Beach House | Montalba Architects

Situated on the coastline with views to Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands, this home’s full-scale renovation made several big moves. Vertical fins fastened to the Shou Sugi Ban rainscreen help to resist battering from waves, sun, and wind, while subtle shifts in the angles create movement and depth on the two main beach-facing façades. With views to a point of land on the east, “you feel that shift on the interior as well, reorienting you from a typical straight-ahead view of the ocean to a skewed view on angle,” says David Montalba, FAIA. The entry progression creates a sense of compression, through a gate, and then into the expansive great room anchored by a colossal Texas limestone fireplace. “The inside has lighter tones that reflect light and create a warm, embracing space as you’re looking out at the beach,” he says. “We wanted the fireplace to feel like some organic stone thing you’d see in an ancient culture, yet contemporary. Organic in spirit but crisply and thoughtfully detailed.”

The bookcase-lined stairwell is both a light well and wind scoop, where motorized windows at the top draw fresh air through the house. A setback second floor creates space for a deck off the primary bedroom. Our judges applauded the formal moves and detailing, adding, “It’s urban in its own context.”

Custom Urban House

Montalba Architects

Graoni Beach House

Malibu, California

Architect: David Montalba, FAIA, Montalba Architects, Santa Monica, California

Interior designer: Matt Blacke, Los Angeles

Project size: 2,950 square feet

Site size: 0.17 acre

Construction cost: Withheld

Photography: Kevin Scott

Cabinetry: DPC Millwork, Pac West Millwork and Fabrication

Cladding: Delta Millworks’ Kebony Burn & Brush

Countertops: Walker Zanger, Hullebusch

Entry door/windows: Sky-Frame

Fireplace: Ortal, Carnevale & Lohr, Malm

Flooring: Dinesen Douglas fir

Kitchen Appliances: Gaggenau

Lighting/Lighting Control System: Lutron

Roof windows: Western Skylights, VELUX

Sinks: Cocoon (primary bath)

Specialty appliances: Gaggenau

Thermal and moisture barriers: Weather Resistive Barrier

Toilets: TOTO

Tub: Apaiser

Vanity: Cocoon (powder room)

Ventilation: Panasonic, Armacell (exhaust ducts acoustic liner)

Washer/dryer: LG

Wine refrigerator: Gaggenau