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West Bay

Newport Beach, CA

West Bay

Newport Beach, CA

Balboa Peninsula runs parallel to the Pacific coast, just south of Newport Beach, enclosing a sound that is alive with pleasure boats. That makes it a picturesque location for houses that back up to the marina, but most are generic structures squeezed onto narrow lots. A young entrepreneur commissioned McClean Design to build a house on a triple lot as a family retreat and a place to entertain their many friends. He and his interior designer, Lynda Murray, were eager to make a bold statement, and that gave the architects an opportunity to spread their wings. The square plot allowed them to devote the street frontage to a garden and a large garage. The garden pulls in sun from the south, which warms the house in winter. Translucent glass sheilds the garden from the street while revealing silhouettes of moving figures on the other side. Boldly figured white marble clads much of the exterior and is used extensively throughout the three-story house. Materials were selected to withstand the corrosion of salt air, but there are luxurious accents, notably an onyx wall in one of the powder rooms. Once inside the street gate, you look through the transparent fac├žade to the water. A glass bridge sails over a lower-level swimming pool, and leading to the great room, which runs almost the whole width of the house. Heaters and a two-sided fireplace allow the covered patio and spa at one end to be used year-round. Pocketing sliders open onto a terrace just above sea level. A stainless steel, spiral staircase with limestone treads links the three levels and sparkles in the light of suspended globes. From here you can get a sense of the whole house, front to back and vertically. On the upper level, the primary suite and two bedrooms open onto a terrace overlooking the harbor. Still more impressive are the 360-degree views from the roof terrace that encompass mountains to the north, sunsets over the ocean, and the distant blur of Catalina Island. An outdoor video screen and kitchen make this an ideal stage for parties. The spirit of hedonism also flourishes on the lower level, in the pool with its water wall and padded seating alcove, in the sauna and driving simulator, and in a theater that any Hollywood producer would covet. Two guest bedrooms and a gym open onto the pool. No wonder invitations to this house are prized.