My Favorite Room: Cary Elwes’ touch of Morocco in Malibu

The outdoor space of Cary Elwes Malibu home, designed to be simple and comfortable, was inspired by trips to Morocco with his father. Elwes, a star of the classic The Princess Bride, says he and his daughter like to sit on the sofa and enjoy nature.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

With the exception of the oversized wood-and-iron arched door, the white-walled exterior of Cary Elwes’ Malibu home is unassuming from the street.

But beyond the entrance lies an Andalusian- and Moroccan-inspired secret garden where terra cotta tiles trace a path along a private terrace that overlooks the Pacific. Large pots filled with olive and citrus trees, towering palms and gardenias are accentuated by the rich cobalt-blue tapestry of the patio’s furnishings.

Elwes, who played the Dread Pirate Roberts in “The Princess Bride” and currently stars in Crackle’s “The Art of More,” said the home is an ode to his youth.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in southern Spain, and my father used to take us to Morocco a lot,” he said. “So I created a space that reminded me of my childhood.”


Elwes, 54, bought the four-bedroom home with his wife, actress Lisa Marie Kurbikoff, in 1995 and remodeled the patio — his favorite room — in 2008.

What makes the room special?

I sit under the shade of a nice palm tree. It’s very calming and quiet and overlooks the ocean. One of the things I love is that I can hear myself think.

You have a lot of nectar-producing plants. Was that intentional?

Yes. I created it for my daughter so that she could have somewhere to play. And I put in plants and flowers that would attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. We sit on the sofa together and wait for the hummingbirds to come. It’s a very special spot. I like it because I’m outside and one with nature.

Describe your design style.

Simple and comfortable.

Who helped you design the space?

West Hollywood landscape designer Laura Morton. She travels to Morocco a lot. When we started, there was nothing but dirt. I asked Laura to give me a Moroccan paradise where I could sit down and read and write, and that’s what she created.

What have you written here?

I wrote the book “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride” on the patio and also wrote the screenplay for the film “Elvis and Nixon.”

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture?

I have an authentic Moroccan sofa carved from wood and customized with cobalt blue-and-white-striped cushions and beautiful backrest cushions that you sink into. It’s dark brown, like an espresso color. It came from Morocco, and it’s very comfortable.

Best post-redesign memory?

When I showed my daughter, Dominique, the finished garden and we watched our first hummingbird together.