We found an interesting article from the Architecture Digest January 2013 issue featuring a beautiful Malibu home! Read the article below or view it live: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/decor/2013-01/richard-hallberg-barbara-wiseley-mailbu-california-home-article
A FILM PRODUCER’S LAID-BACK MALIBU RETREAT
A film producer’s Malibu weekend house is a laid-back escape with elegant minimalist architecture and earthy neutral-tone interiors by designers Richard Hallberg and Barbara Wiseley
The Amazing Adventures of Avi Arad would not make a bad title for the tale of a son of Jewish refugees from Poland who grew up to become the world’s preeminent producer of superhero movies and television shows. As a youngster in Israel in the 1950s and ’60s, Arad found his escape in the products of the Marvel Comics empire. Following a stint in the Israeli army during the Six-Day War, he went on to have a successful career as a toy designer in the U.S. Then, in 1998, he, along with a business partner, gained control of Marvel in a court battle so colorful that a book, Dan Raviv’s Comic Wars, was written about it. “The rest is history,” quips Arad. He left Marvel (now owned by Disney) in 2006 and started his own eponymous film company, after having produced such blockbuster franchises as Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four.
He and his wife, Joyce, a lawyer turned artist, lived in Connecticut with their three children for a time, but the Arads decided to move to California a dozen years ago, after endless commutes to Hollywood. Like more than a few hard-driving movie moguls before him, Avi was drawn to the natural beauty and tranquillity of the seaside community of Malibu. “I would have moved immediately to the beach,” the producer muses, “but one of my bribes to get Joyce to relocate here was to start with a house in the city.” First they built a place in Beverly Hills, an 18th-century-French–style mansion decorated by the Los Angeles–based Richard Hallberg and his then–business partner, Barbara Wiseley. Once that project was completed, the Arads set out for the rolling dunes of Malibu in search of a weekend retreat, the remaking of which would be entrusted to the same design team.
On a particularly photogenic stretch of land along the beach, the couple came across a modest English cottage with a sterling Hollywood pedigree—previous tenants included Casablanca producer Hal B. Wallis as well as actress Mary Tyler Moore. The setting was ideal. The pitched-roof house not so much. “We wanted something European,” Joyce explains. “Something that felt like you were really on vacation. Like on Mykonos, where the buildings relate to the water and have clear colors and a certain simplicity.”
Hallberg and Wiseley’s response to that poetic brief was to replace the cottage with a two-story white box punctuated by floor-to-ceiling bronze-framed French doors that take full advantage of the breathtaking sweep of sand, sea, and sky. Opening the front gate, in fact, reveals a sight line that leads through the house to the glittering ocean. That transparency, along with the welcoming courtyards and gardens lush with agave, ice plants, and feathery grasses, anchor the structure to its spectacular site. Several tons of stone floor tiles, reclaimed from 18th-century French châteaus, ground it further; utilized inside and out, the hardy sand-color tiles create an aesthetic link to the landscape while serving as an earthy, old-world counterpoint to the crisp, spare architecture.
The interiors are pale and airy. Visual interest derives not from pattern or color but textural variety—a furry flokati on pitted limestone, sleek petrified wood against nubby sisal—and a dynamic mash-up of furnishings and objets d’art. “There are antiques and modern things, Roman things and Chinese things,” Hallberg points out. “Though everything is disparate, the items somehow talk to each other, because they have the same kind of integrity and a naturalness that plays a huge part in creating the casual tone of this place.”
In the living room, for example, organic accents such as a craggy stone cocktail table and a gnarled Chinese root, displayed atop a white pedestal, converse with 17th-century walnut armchairs clad in pale-gray leather and custom-made club chairs dressed in brown raffia. The art is similarly catholic, ranging from contemporary works—a monotype by Seiko Tachibana, a graphic painting on burlap by Mark Hagen—to a shell mosaic to 300-year-old primitive animal drawings in gilt-wood frames.
The easygoing vibe extends outside, where the Arads can unwind beside a trickling stream, channeled through an 18th-century limestone trough, or watch the breakers roll in while relaxing on a driftwood bench set amid blooming ice plants. “Richard and Barbara brought to the table a balance between overwhelming and underwhelming, where you get this peace,” Avi observes. “Each area has its own Zen, but it all works in concert.”
If it is a little surprising to hear an action-movie magnate speak of Zen zones, it helps to remember that Avi regards the beach as the ultimate antidote to all things Hollywood—and the perfect place for playing with his young grandchildren. Which is not to say the world of superheroes is ever very far away. “Spider-Man memorabilia is my bling,” confesses the producer, who can often be spotted strolling among the dunes, a red-and-black Spidey baseball cap set firmly on his head.
Extract from Architecture Digest January 2013 issue