Fellows Malibu Tour 2015

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Fellows visit Butterfly House, Hayman’s Hideaway, and Malibu Colony Modern

A recent outing by the Fellows took them to three spectacular gardens near and on the beach in Malibu. The weather was fair and the sea air sultry. Each garden offered a different design style to experience and gather inspiration from, as “Fellows” heard the story of how the garden was created. The narrative of each garden lead to discovery, as the visual language of each site spoke to the viewer, while they heard the various solutions employed by the designer to solve the sites challenges.

The first property, the Butterfly House,  a superb example of the integration of house and garden, has appeared in the nation’s leading home design magazines. The gardens are seamlessly integrated with the cascading California Mediterranean style villa with views of the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Santa Monica Mountains to the north.  Entering through a mature olive grove, one is embraced by towering eucalyptus and a California bay laurel hedge.  The parking court is edged by a pineapple guava allée that connects the house with the studio and citrus grove.  Integrated with the house are a series of step-down entertaining terraces, vest pocket lawns and rose covered pergolas culminating with a walled pool garden.  The owners are transitioning the garden to less water dependent plants that attract butterflies and birds throughout the year.  Beneath the mature Arbutus ‘Marina’ and California oaks along the dry creek, they are planting an understory that thrives in dry shade. Buzz Yudell, of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects, designed the house and created the master plan for the property. The main house was completed in 1988; the studio and pool garden in 1990; and it was purchased by the current owners in late 2012.

The second property, Hayman’s Hideaway, has the feel of the French Rivera, with an entrance full of mature trees, and plenty of space for their dogs to run! The Haymans later acquired the house next door and co-joined two properties overlooking the bluffs and the blue Pacific, complete with a path down to the beach. At this location, the Hayman’s Chef Michel prepared exquisite finger foods and thirst-quenching libations for everyone to enjoy.

A Robert Graham statue of Betty greets you as you head toward the gardens, whose floral borders are filled with Fred’s signature yellow color in the form of Henry Fonda roses and sulphur butterflies.

The homage to Fred’s career continues in the guesthouse, where the celebrated interior of ‘Fred Hayman Beverly Hills’ has been recreated, complete with celebrity photos and furniture from that fabled store.

The third property, a Modern Malibu Colony home, owned by the Margolis family, has been “7 years in the making.” Property landscape architect and designer, Scott Shrader, best narrates the transformation of this three lot property in his own words.

The original design included two lots, one for the house and the other for the tennis court once owned by Neil Diamond. In the early days, beach side homes on the Malibu Colony also had lots across the street that housed garages, gardens and many times tennis courts. This particular one next to the Margolis’ was once connected to Neil’s house across the street.

At my first interview, I mentioned there was little for me to landscape and, therefore, needed to pass on the job. However, I did say that if they could acquire the tennis court on the other side of the property, I would be interested in creating a garden for them at that location. A few months later I got the call that they followed through and purchased the court front their next-door neighbor. This has now created a triple lot in the Malibu Colony, which is the largest continuous piece of property within the Colony.

Given the house was not designed with this opportunity and it was already nearly completed, I had to get somewhat creative in connecting the two properties. I opened up a wall and created steps down to what is a larger entertaining outdoor space that included an outdoor fireplace at the end as the focal point, and a 50-foot long trellis for outdoor dinning given the owners do many fundraisers.

Limited lawn was used; all plantings are California native or compatibles for the most part. A large degree of gravel was used to also lessen water consumption and also to help replenish the ground water, which is only 5 feet below grade.

The front of the house includes walls on both sides of the house to help connect the property and make it feel as one.  The wall was set back to allow for an alley of Olives and additional parking which is a premium in The Colony.

A front water feature water garden was just completed, which I call the hello and goodbye garden. It’s a place to first greet guests when they enter and also a nice place to say goodbye.

Needless to say, the day’s adventure of exploring the three spectacular Malibu properties was full of inspiration. Along the way, the group was treated to savory hors D’oeuvres, which were accompanied by thirst-quenching libations. Great conversations erupted, as the visual richness of this special day filled the heads and hearts of everyone with enthusiasm, ready to retreat back to their own gardens, to perform the inspired “fine tuning.” The finale was lunch at the Beach Club, with the view and sound of the ocean; natures compliment to a lavish lunch and an unforgettable day at the beach.

Contributing author: Timothy L. Lindsay

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