High into the chaparral-covered hills of Malibu, along the winding curves of Mulholland Highway, we found our piece of “major earth”.


Life is a very interesting thing…you can make all the plans in the world but mostly I find that life has a way of just happening regardless of the way we would like it to. In my experience it’s been the unknowns and times that plans have gone awry that have made my life the most interesting.

When The Kim and I started looking for land in early 2004 it wasn’t our intention to build a modern organic masterpiece…it just sort of happened and it’s still happening. It all started one day in Whole Foods market when we picked up a Dwell magazine while we waited in line for our groceries. Before that we were just planning on looking for a normal house in a normal neighborhood. With home prices going out of the stratosphere in Los Angeles and the allure of all these cool modern prefab homes we saw in Dwell…we were pulled off our course on to this new trajectory of finding some land to build a cool modern prefab home.

After we purchased our land and did some research we realized that with this parcel it wasn’t going to be as simple as picking a few hundred thousand dollar prefab and having it delivered to the site and boom instant home in a few months! We learned that in this particular area in could take a few years (or more) just to get the permits approved to do what you want…prefab or custom. Not to mention the work it would take to bring in utilities, water, surveying, geology testing, etc. With this knowledge we had to do a lot of soul searching and even contemplated selling the land for a number of months.

On the way out to the land one day…during the time we were considering selling our land another one of those “life just happens” kind of moments presented itself. I saw a sign…literally a sign on the side of the road! It had a phone number and the name of a contractor for a house that was being built on the lot above. On a whim I grabbed my cell phone and dialed the number to see if this builder could give me any pearls of wisdom that might change my mind about building vs. selling our land.

When I explained to the builder how The Kim and I bought the land with the idea to do a prefab…but was unsure now that we had full knowledge of what we were undertaking. The builder immediately suggested that we talk with his architect, Steve Yett.

That day I called Steve and we hit it off right away. As it turns out, Steve has an enormous amount of experience and knowledge designing and building in the Malibu area and he was able to answer all our questions and concerns. Our trajectory was again altered…we were now talking about building a custom home with an amazing architect.

Continue to: Finding some land >>