Mills Musingo House

The existing two story house is situated on a small hillside site overlooking the Malibu coastline and Santa Monica Canyon. The client, a painter who also works as a film editor, and her husband, a musician and composer, propose to add a painting studio to the house without changing the interior of the existing house. The addition is conceptually and structurally a separate building, but, because of the restricted size of the lot and the views to the southwest and west, the studio is placed on a steel table which sits over the house. The footings of the existing house are undisturbed by the addition, which meets the ground on four steel columns.

The anthropomorphic aspects of the studio derive in part from the client’s collection of real, abstracted, and imaginary animals; the studio was seen as a suitable addition to the collection. The addition, an object on legs, is established as a counterpoint to the existing house, which grows up the hill as a result of previous additions, and expresses the polarity between light and dark, attic and basement, artist and film editor. As a workspace for a painter who spends many hours in closed, dark editing rooms, the studio has openings on all four sides, taking advantage of the sea breezes to ventilate the room, and clerestory windows to provide north light. Three large pairs of doors provide expansive views of the canyon and ocean. A cantilevered deck extends the studio floor outward, and a spiral stair connects with the living room deck below.