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A Story in Ultra-Modernism

Architect Jonathan Segal teamed with builders Randal Howard and Nick Neuman to create a modern masterpiece that’s stuffed with the latest must-have features (including a quarter-million-dollar “brain” that controls everything from the drapes to the thermostat, using an iPhone) but feels as open and airy as a Bird Rock sunset.

Photo by Paul Body

 This cliff-dwelling castle is a classic study of modern design — and its location, perched atop prime La Jolla real estate, offers nothing short of spectacular 180-degree ocean views from three stories of solid glass walls. Dr. Stefan Lemperle and famed architect/urban develo­per/designer Jonathan Segal joined forces to dream up one of Bird Rock’s most impressive homes, furnished with contemporary sensibility and with every must-have feature in mind (including a quarter-million-dollar “brain” that controls everything from the drapes to the thermostat — from an iPhone).

Lemperle, president and CEO of AscentX Medical, made one strong request of the architect: Make it as ultra-modern and high-quality as possible.

“If there was a decision to be made,” notes Segal, “Stefan wanted only the best of everything.”

The 4,800-square-foot house sits on a 4,300-square-foot lot and was designed “to visually and aesthetically create as much space, real or perceived, as possible.” The top three tiers of the four-story structure are above ground, but to expand beyond the strict La Jolla height limitations, they decided to dig down. The home boasts a 2,000-square-foot subterranean level that rivals any downtown lounge, with its own expansive bar, swanky seating area (complete with a river-rock pond) and media room. To prevent it from feeling too “dennish,” light wells allow plenty of na­tural sunshine to stream through.

Above ground, metal sculptures and paintings by local and international artists flank the walls and outdoor entertaining areas. A highlight of the home — besides its landscaping, stainless steel rooftop spa, chef’s kitchen and 9-foot seamless panel windows that line each floor — would have to be the concrete gas fire pits along the length of the house, designed as a natural element to connect the ocean to the structure while also providing a toasty outdoor entertaining area.

This modern masterpiece is sleek and cutting edge yet eminently serene. One might wonder what a billionaire living on his own would do with such a home — but the better question might be “What could he not do?”

 

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