Malibu house hunt: A stylish modern or a Spanish compound?


In the high-caliber housing market of Los Angeles, every neighborhood has a distinct style, offering a list of pros and cons that can leave even the surest of buyers second-guessing.

Better views lead to longer commutes. Living closer to the action may mean sacrificing space.

This series digs into these differences, pitting properties against each other in a head-to-head format and allowing the listing agents to proclaim why theirs is best.


Malibu — with its oceanfront estates, canyon ranches and mountain mansions — lets its residents live exactly the life they want to live. The coastal city’s luxury listings offer a mix of stunning views, complete privacy and a quick walk to the beach. Unless you pay a fortune, however, you probably can’t get all three.

For $3 million, which would you prefer: a well-designed contemporary home with lots of amenities, or a Spanish-style mountain estate with plenty of space both inside and out?

Las Flores Canyon residence
Shrouded in landscaping, this architectural home boasts smaller — yet sleeker — living spaces with highlights such as a solarium-like loft, a master suite balcony and a deck with a spa. It’s listed by Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates.

Address: 3541 Las Flores Canyon Road, Malibu, 90265

Price: $2.99 million

Specs: Four bedrooms and four bathrooms in 3,307 square feet (18,891-square-foot lot)

The agent’s pitch:


This contemporary home sits seconds to Duke’s Malibu, Las Flores Park, Sycamore Elementary, local hiking and the renowned Malibu beachfront.

The property’s ideal location gives the homeowner access to all that Malibu has to offer, found close to the sandy shores while also retaining the privacy of the canyon. Boasting four stunning bedrooms, it’s truly a gem.

A modern architectural masterpiece, this property is located in a private sanctuary on an 18,891-square-foot lot in eastern Malibu. Mature landscaping and majestic trees add tranquility and privacy, while the bubbling creek makes this home perfect for meditation.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a Malibu property that boasts a phenomenal location with quick access to postcard beaches, while also maintaining the privacy that Malibu has to offer.

Decker School residence
This 1980s estate is nearly double the size of the other home and features an abundance of Spanish style, but it sits a bit higher up in the mountains. It’s listed by Cormac and Wailani O’Herlihy and Shen Schulz of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Address: 33261 Decker School Road, Malibu, 90265

Price: $2.795 million

Specs: Four bedrooms and four bathrooms in 6,371 square feet (5-acre lot)

The agent’s pitch:

This mountain estate is approximately 6,300 square feet — and 3,000 square feet larger than its comparable listing on Las Flores. It sits on five usable acres with tremendous privacy and magnificent canyon, mountain and ocean views.

Anchoring the property is a tastefully designed Spanish-style home with handcrafted tiles, custom cabinetry, mature landscaping, a yard, orchard, gardens and large pool with a swim-up bar.

A complete compound within a short drive to Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Calabasas, it’s arguably the best price-per-square-foot value in the city. Just minutes to the Malibu Vineyard area, this is truly a bargain for those looking to buy in Malibu.