At this Rancho Palos Verdes home, the outdoors appears at almost every turn. In one direction, there's a glowing sunset or fog rising off Santa Catalina Island; in another, the green hills (at least in winter) of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Wide-angle ocean views define the Midcentury Modern that's more glass than walls, blurring the lines between inside and outside.
Little of the single-level house can be seen from street level on the hilly cul-de-sac. A long, curved path winds past a few wispy evergreens, skirts a koi pond and continues over a narrow wooden footbridge before the entire house comes into view. It's a nice trick — creating a private space for a home that's so very open and transparent.
The 1965 house follows the shape of a rectangular pool that serves as a courtyard. Two long wings face the pool and are connected by a living room. Dark beams and white ceilings emphasize the lines of the house, which is topped with a gently arched butterfly roof.
The living room retains much of the original feel of the renovated home. A gray block open fireplace with a granite ledge stands opposite built-in wooden panels and cabinets. Here, the old and the new mix seamlessly. The darkly streaked original bamboo floor in the living room blends well with a light-colored bamboo used to replace an indoor concrete walkway.
The wings of the house that were once walls with small, shoulder-high windows have given way to floor-to-ceiling glass. This is a house that has benefited from upgrades made by current and prior owners who were mindful of retaining its character. The most recent changes: adding a 700-square-foot office and a media room that was once a garage.
Along one wing of the house are the master bedroom and bathroom as well as a second bedroom. The large bathroom has original tiling on the floor and walls, clear glass basins and a deep Japanese-style bath. In the opposite wing, the dining area flows into an eating area with a long granite counter and an up-to-date kitchen.
Outdoor elements include the pool with a wide perimeter for lounging and a patio/deck area facing the ocean with a garden area overlooking Crest Drive.
Owners Melanie and Arthur Kipferler bought the house in 2008 and moved in after living in Europe for more than a decade. They house-shopped online and were drawn in by the Bauhaus-like design — and the ocean setting, of course.
"We had hoped to stay here, make it really permanent," Melanie Kipferler said. But her husband has taken a job in London, so the couple and their two sons will be leaving.
Kipferler winces just a little when she talks about leaving the home with the views of Catalina that she treasured and fell in love with from afar. "You don't do this twice," she said, thinking about a future house. "You don't get this lucky twice."