Homes & Design Photo Credit: Hilton & Hyland

House of the Week: Gehry x Dempsey?

A Malibu mini-estate by a famed Canadian architect comes with a celebrity pedigree and a steep price.

Price: $14,500,000 USD

Details: 5,547sq/ft. 3 Beds, 4 Baths

Neighbourhood: Malibu Hills, CA.

The Skinny: Right up until this moment, I’m not sure the names Frank Gehry and Patrick Dempsey were even contained in the same sentence. The first is one of the great hit-or-miss starchitects of our generation, designing the sublime Guggenheim Bilbao on one hand and the creepy Experience Music Project on the other. The second starred in the sublime Can’t Buy Me Love on on the one hand and….did you know Grey’s Anatomy is still on the air? Gehry actually designed this expansive pad for artist Ron Davis back in the 1970s—McDreamy bought it a several years back. It was on the cover of Architectural Digest, which is a nice kicker.

The Pros: Speaking of McDreamy—look at this outdoor space! Over three acres and it’s manicured in just the perfect laid-back So-Cal way: outdoor ping-pong table, firepits, huge comfy couches….and an Airstream where Dempsey and his wife would retreat for date night (and before you say aaaaaah, know that the sale is happening because they’re getting divorced, so an Airstream apparently ain’t the answer). The inside is textbook open-space, airy and cozy at the same time and Dempsey seems to have collected some pretty cool contemporary art (though the fluorescent tubes at the front aren’t Dan Flavin, which seems a little suspect).

The Cons: Evidently when the rain hits the houses metal cladding it can be quiet loud, but seeing as it evidently doesn’t rain in Californian anymore this may not be a problem. All joking aside, the hills above Malibu, where this house sits, are prone to wildfires so that’s not good. Further, when you tell anyone you spent $14,500,000 on a house in Malibu the first thing they say will be is “You must love living on the beach,” and then you tell them you’re not even close to the beach, and everyone will get quiet. Also three bedrooms is small for this price tag, as are four baths.

The Verdict: Beaches are overrated when they’re not private and the water’s too cold to swim in. The outdoor space in this home is really special and unlike most houses in this price range it actually seems like it would be easy to move into. But at $14,500,000 it seems a little overpriced when neighbouring, albeit much lesser, properties can be had for well less than half. Gehry’s name is worth something, but not this sort of bump up,

See full listing here.

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