A world-renowned adventurer and his wife purchased this house on a stretch of California coastline with a spectacular vista of the ocean and nearby cliffs. They wanted to redecorate, strengthen the relationship between the interior space and the view, and build a new library devoted to books, maps and other documents about exploration. Because of the California Coastal Commission’s strict regulations, the possible solutions were limited to interior work – with one important exception. The volume of the library was almost a cube; to enlarge the space from within and create a mezzanine, a stair tower would be necessary. The tower’s exterior was designed to resemble the many large chimneys already on the roof. Inside is a bronze spiral stair with walnut treads and a newel post in the form of a bronze globe identifying the north and south poles and the location of the house. The expanded interior provided enough space to build an elliptical dome, ringing it with a light from a custom bronze trough.

PHOTOS BY Matthew Millman