House of the Day: 'Razor' With a Big Haircut


Razor house

As much a work of sculpture as a house, "The Razor" sits hollowed into a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla. From its perch above Black's Beach -- reputed to be the largest nude beach in the world -- it also offers uninterrupted panoramas of the ocean and the craggy, pine-blanketed mountains of California's Torrey Pines State Reserve. The home is named for one of the natural sandstone monuments that rises along the coast.

The original owner commissioned architect Wallace Cunningham to build the home and gave him an unrestricted budget more than 10 years ago. That free rein, exercised over eight years until construction was halted three years ago, brought the home's building cost alone to $34 million. So the minimum bid of $16 million required to purchase the place in an upcoming auction -- down from an initial ask of $45 million -- could be seen as something of a bargain.
"It's a steal," said listing agent Bob Hurwitz. "It shows what you can buy right now in the market on the high end."

Architect Cunningham is so fond of the place that he has offered to give prospective buyers a personal tour. And why shouldn't he be? The gleaming, polished concrete surfaces and floor-to-ceiling glass walls both capture and complement the jaw-dropping ocean views. Largely transparent, the building is designed to filter light in such a way that the home's appearance is different at different times of days. Even the pool interacts with the surrounding elements to create optical illusions at dusk.


"This home wasn't a spec house. It wasn't built to sell," said Hurwitz. But things change. As the real estate market began to teeter, the owner, a successful software designer, decided to move East. He put the home on the market about three years ago, stopping just short of completing the interior.

After initially listing the place at $45 million, the owner reduced the price gradually to $34 million. He received a verbal offer of $30 million at one point, but rejected it, unable to bring himself to accept selling the home below its construction cost.

Faced with serious financial difficulties, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy recently, putting the home under the control of a court-appointed trustee.

Hurwitz has decided to sell the home at auction because of how long the home has lingered on the market and because of numerous requests from interested parties "to expedite the sale." The auction will take place Sept. 28. Bidding will start at $16 million and increase in increments of $100,000.

(Note: The home's website has not been updated to reflect this price and still lists The Razor at $32 million.)

Also see:
The Most-Expensive Bank-Owned Home in America

'House Porn': Real Estate Blogs' Hottest Market


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