The views alone might be worth $80 million for this revived Malibu Castle

For years, a fortress-like estate dubbed Castle Kashan towered over Malibu’s famous shores.

It was an opulent mansion owned by socialite-philanthropist Lilly Lawrence, who decorated it with Faberge eggs, Persian carpets and Baccarat chandeliers. She named it in honor of her father, an exiled Iranian oil minister.

The landmark property, however, was destroyed in 2007 by an early morning brush fire. At the time of its destruction, the palatial estate was listed for $17 million.

A decade later, the famed Castle Kashan has been revived. Now called the Malibu Castle, the property’s new incarnation was built by developer Scott Gillen, who recently put it on the market for $80 million, a Malibu record for highest listing price ever.


Gillen bought the 3.5-acre lot for $9.7 million from Lawrence two years ago, constructing the modern digs on top of the ruins of her faux 1978 Scottish castle, which she had owned since 1998.

The new 12,500-square-foot estate reigns atop the same 360-degree promontory and has company in the area’s manic market: David Geffen’s oceanfront Carbon Beach estate along so-called Billionaires’ Beach sold for $85 million in May, besting a $74.5-million four-year record.

Gillen has built 22 properties in the area during the last 13 years. He likens the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home’s open-space layout to executing a camera tracking shot — this being L.A., he also films and directs commercials and produces TV shows.

“As you walk through, you see what I want you to see, as if I’m viewing everything through a camera, like a shot that continually unfolds,” said the 55-year-old, adding that no upright posts mar the home’s free-flow vibe.


Like many ultra-luxury homes, the Malibu Castle comes furnished with top-of-the-line trappings.

Artist's rendering: The new home is 12,500 square feet and offers views of Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island as well as Malibu Canyon.
(Scott Gillen / Unvarnished)

Gillen has tailor-fit some Minotti and Bottega Veneta furniture into the sweeping design. A one-year concierge service is included in the $80-million price.

The Malibu Castle harbors a home theater, wine cellar and cigar room (Gillen smokes daily at the Malibu Cigar Lounge, and plans to light up one of his rare vintage cigars when the castle sells).


A 5,000-square-foot guesthouse has a gym, spa and a Bulthaup kitchen.

While standing (or lounging) on the home’s 7,500 square feet of decking, all of Malibu seems to spring open like a pop-up book, with views of Malibu Colony and Surfrider Beach, as well as Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island. To the backyard’s north: rugged Malibu Canyon.

The great room’s 12-foot teak dining table is set parallel to the 75-foot infinity pool, and lies just off another chef-ready Bulthaup kitchen. Doors and windows are also built from teak, paired with 80-year-old dry-aged oak floors.

“I like to stack things up, to create depth,” said Gillen, referencing the 120-foot-long great room fronted by the infinity pool, and backed by all that coastal wonder. Along with the copious decking, the home features vast sheets of glass that frame the ethereal views.


A 400-foot-long gated driveway leads to the estate, ending in a motor court and an open-air valet area with underground heaters — essential for fulsome parties that are synonymous with such coastal properties.

When she was the owner, Lawrence offered Tiffany-boxed diamond earrings as party favors; she even baked the earrings into one of many $10 cupcakes sold at a charity event.

Gillen imagines more understated affairs. “An art party with maybe 100 people,” he said.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury listing agent Sandro Dazzan can see the Malibu Castle hosting triple that number, especially on such electrified nights as the Fourth of July. The promontory has superior views of ocean barges launching fireworks just off the coast.


“I picture a crazy party, with music echoing down the creek, and there’s the castle lit up, almost like a disco ball in the sky,” Dazzan said.


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