Highgrove House is an architect’s own home embedded in Malibu nature

A family home in tune with its surroundings, Highgrove House by Lorcan O'Herlihy is sensitive architecture embedded in Malibu nature

exterior of highgrove house within nature
(Image credit: Here And Now Agency)

Nestled in a lush, green Malibu hillside, Highgrove House is the family home of architect Lorcan O'Herlihy, head of Los Angeles architecture studio LOHA. The low, dark, simple volume of the structure is cleverly juxtaposed against the surrounding nature and the colourful leaves and blooms that embrace the building's almost industrial architecture. At the same time, sustainable architecture features ensure the residence is organically embedded into its setting. 

exterior view of highgrove house within greenery in california

(Image credit: Here And Now Agency)

Highgrove House by Lorcan O’Herlihy

An existing structure on site, Highgrove House was in a state of disrepair when works began. O'Herlihy and his wife, Cornelia, worked to optimise the home's functionality – both terms of their own use, and its environmental-friendliness. For example, it was 'important to keep the existing structure when possible because it cuts down the ecological footprint of construction. The key is to strategically design within those parameters,' says O’Herlihy. 

inside highgrove house in california looking out through large square window

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The house contains generously sized living spaces, as well as four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The design also includes a Modified Rainscreen System, which, the team flags, 'helps keep the interior cool without the use of air conditioning'. Passive ventilation and a strong connection to the outdoors, through large openings, terraces and operable glazing, further highlight this commitment to sustainability. 

living space and nature views in highgrove house in california

(Image credit: Here And Now Agency)

Growing up between Malibu in California and Dublin in Ireland, O’Herlihy bridges his experience of both places through this very personal project – a 'labour of love', as he describes it. 'Highgrove House is an idyllic example of the synthesis of an internationally renowned professional practice, with the intimacy of a loving family home,' he concludes. 

white kitchen with generous space in highgrove house in california

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grey low volume of highgrove house placed among blooms

(Image credit: Here And Now Agency)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).