McElroy House by Ehrlich Architects


From the architect. Designed for a couple and their two sons, this 7,800-square-foot house is nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac in a private community with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. One enters the compound along a fifty-foot long teak clad wall. Once inside, the house opens up to take advantage of the ocean views and the Southern California climate. The challenge was to provide gracious and open living spaces despite a restrictive eleven-foot height limit imposed by the homeowners association.

The solution was to create a series of horizontally expansive spaces underneath a floating horizontal plane supported on stone masses, wood walls and slender steel columns. Oversized sliding glass doors can pocket completely away to literally dissolve the physical boundaries between the interior and the exterior, creating an uninterrupted flow from the rear courtyard to the main living space to the pool area, all against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

Guest and children’s bedrooms open onto the protected courtyard in the rear while the master suite commands a layered view over the swimming pool and of the ocean. The master bath opens onto its own private meditative garden nestled in between the house and the topography behind.

The extension of the stone floor to the outside along with a composition of teak, concrete and landscaped areas provide a variety of outdoor entertaining and living areas in which to enjoy the Southern California climate.

The garage, health room, storage and service areas are all located in the basement which frees up the entire ground plane for living.

Architects: Ehrlich Architects
Location: Laguna Beach, CA, USA
Site Area: 19042 sq ft
Area: 7500.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Miranda Brackett, Roger Davies


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