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The cliffside La Jolla home that inspired Tony Stark’s Iron Man mansion sells for nearly $21 million

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The Razor House is a one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece located in La Jolla, California, seated cliffside amongst California’s Torrey Pines State Park.
This unique estate was designed by one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designers, Wallace E. Cunningham; his design vision and inspiration transpired into the definition of modern luxury and natural elegance. When Cunningham was designing the home, one of the primary objectives was to capture the view in a large sweep while simultaneously extending the usable spaces. Razor’s cantilevered design offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

This modern estate was named after one of the local natural monuments, Razor Point, which is fitting as the property truly pays homage to the spectacular surrounding landscape. The residence is located near Torrey Pines Golf Course, Del Mar Racetrack and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Razor is constructed from white polished concrete, functional steel supports and floor to ceiling glass walls which capture the essence of the natural surrounding view. The home is equipped with a state-of-the-art automation system, controlled via iPad, allowing you to instantly change the music/video distribution systems as well as the light controls and motorized roller window shades in order to quickly adjust the home’s atmosphere. Razor is also outfitted with radiant heat and forced air cooling as well as a back-up generator for the highest levels of comfort and reliability.

Razor’s remote location and gated driveway offer a unique sense of privacy. Designed with the finest quality materials and finishes, Razor is outfitted with Travertine stone floors that run continuously from the interior to exterior. The home features solid walnut flooring in the library and on the family room ceiling. The cabinetry and accent walls are finished with Quarter-Sawn stained walnut veneer. The countertops, integral sinks, and accent walls are made from VeroStone engineered stone surfaces. The primary master suite’s walls are wrapped in suede and decorated with modern decor to complement the home’s design.

The main dwelling at Razor offers a total of 10,240 sq. ft. of living space including two master suites, two additional bedrooms, four full-sized baths, two half baths, two steam rooms/showers, gym, roof-top spa, and built-in outdoor BBQ. The master suite bathrooms include showers and freestanding tubs as well as wardrobes. The detached multi-leveled guest house offers a total of 1301 sq. ft. and includes two bedrooms and two baths, each having separate entry points on different levels. There is a computer room in the primary dwelling that houses all of the homes integration and automation systems.

One of the most unique design elements of Razor is the 5,100 cubic ft. infinity swimming pool which gives the surreal illusion of the pool flowing directly into the horizon of the Pacific. There is a subterranean garage can house 4+ vehicles as well as a full laundry room equipped with LG washers/dryers and a Miele rotary iron. The theater is perfect for entertaining guests; equipped with acoustically treated walls/ceiling, tiered floors, Stewart curved multi-aspect ratio screen and an HD digital projector.

The family room offers a custom Shagreen liquor cabinet and moveable Shagreen bar as well as three conditioned wine cabinets. The library encompasses a custom Ralph Lauren glass and stainless pool table. The main kitchen includes a Gaggenau cooktop, Miele dishwasher, Subzero refrigerator and freezer, and a Hoshizaki ice maker. The service kitchen is well equipped to cater to large parties with four Gaggenau ovens, Gaggenau induction cooktops and electric grill, Miele dishwasher and Subzero refrigerators and freezer.

Razor is also equipped with a glass elevator which operates from the subterranean garage level all the way to the rooftop terrace level of the home. The central courtyard stands out as a natural focal point that resembles a sanctuary, protected from the wind by high retaining walls, that is integrated into the geometrically designed estate. The awe-inspiring views from this estate make it one of the most impressive and exclusive luxury properties on the California coast.

An expert from “Materializing the Immaterial” by Joseph Giovannini
There was no received wisdom for how to handle the site, which had already been abandoned by several other owners and architects. Cunningham decided to collapse the site and the house into the same design so that the house forms the site infrastructure and vice versa. Cunningham would virtually build the site by building the house.

Designers of many other houses in this exclusive neighborhood imported styles from different continents and eras, but Cunningham, even if he wanted to adopt a style, could not because the functional demands on the house, including the vertical packing, determined the design as a feat of site organization and engineering. The amount of infrastructure work required by the site amounted to that of a small bridge. The house was conceived as an occupied structure. Cunningham, first of all, assumed the boundaries allowed by the Coastal Commission, which basically determined the permissible volume: a conventional suburban house couldn’t be planted here on a level podium because siting a large house on the limited amount of land basically required what Cunningham describes as “a multilevel cliff dwelling.”

Building the house toward the view necessitated deep retaining wall on the uphill slope, against which Cunningham would nest the three-story structure. Cunningham wanted the house to step down the slope so that each roof formed a terrace to the adjacent upper floor; recreating the outdoor space that the house itself displaced. As usual, the architect used structural elements of the house to frame desired views, determining what he wanted and did not want, to see. The architect hollowed out the interior; creating a perimeter house wrapped around an open courtyard, permitting daylight into rooms adjacent to the retaining wall.

Cunningham came to the project prepared by his designs for other commissions in which he had pursued similar strategies. In most, he abandoned the convention of the house, conceived as a stand-alone object in favor of a site redefined as an occupied field. At Razor Bluff, the field became three dimensional, extending several stories below the original surface.

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