Anna Child Group
BY MARILYN KALFUS / STAFF WRITER
The landmark Laguna Beach “rock house,” a cutting-edge home wedged into a large, oceanfront boulder, is for sale at $15 million.
Designed by Orange County architect Brion Jeannette for a software entrepreneur with a wild streak, the 3,000-square-foot, steel-and-glass residence has a reinforced concrete roof that sustains the weight of the original rock.
Aliso Rock was broken apart and excavated for the home’s construction in the mid-1990s. Then parts of the rock, topsoil and vegetation were reassembled and replanted.
Inside, the two-bedroom house at 31107 S. Coast Highway boasts striking, custom designs, including a creek running through the interior, a round kitchen with black terrazzo floors inlaid with abalone shells, a floating ceiling cove around the living room skylight, an interior concrete hallway crafted to resemble the exterior rock, and handmade glass tiles evoking a mermaid’s fins.
An open family room with a new, 90-inch, flat-panel TV screen can be quickly transformed into a dark home theater with a remote control that raises a retractable wall and closes blackout curtains. In the second bedroom, the bed pivots for a better look at the scenery. Elsewhere, a hidden wine cellar stores about 800 bottles.
Beachfront terraces include a heated spa and a separate cold plunge set against a rocky waterfall, as well as a firepit and built-in barbecue and bar. Nine teak steps lead down to the sand.
While the house is next to Aliso Creek and near Aliso Beach, the orientation of the property and some strategically placed plantings create a sense of privacy.
The house, which took shape after years of meetings with city officials, drew widespread attention even before it was completed in 1996. In the early ’90s, a Russian newspaper published a front-page story on it under the headline, “Only in America.”
Dennis Morin, an innovative industrial-software magnate, commissioned Jeannette to build the residence. Morin died in 2012 after battling cancer.
Annie Speck, Morin’s fiancée and an interior designer, has lived in the house for more than six years. “He brought a lot of the wildness to it,” she said of Morin’s impact on the home’s appearance.
Morin founded Wonderware, a high-profile leader in the growing 1980s software industry. Speck said they met years later at the Sapphire Laguna restaurant, when he was recovering from hip surgery and she offered him her seat at the bar.
“I live in the rock house,” he told her.
A talented chef, he invited her to the whimsical house for dinner. “He was very much the entertainer,” she said. “He knew how to wow.”
Speck said they became a couple quickly, and she went on to contribute to the home’s interior style. “We designed a lot of custom pieces for the house together,” she said.
Now Morin’s trust is selling the residence, and Speck is considering a move to central California.
For more information on this Laguna “Rock” House and others; contact Anna Child today!
Anna.Child@coldwellbanker.com AnnaChild.com 714-398-6913
The listing agent is Rob Smith of Surterre Properties.