Few people ever find their dream house. But Kym Gold, the passionate co-founder of iconic jeans brand True Religion, is talking to me from hers. She is standing by the open French doors leading from the elegant living room to the wide terrace that has been the setting for countless parties, looking out over the hot tub and pool, across the neat lawn that skirts the yoga cabana, and out to the Pacific Ocean beyond.
And having found it, she never plans to leave. “I’m living in my dream property,” she says with the broadest smile. “There is no other view like this.”
The house is an exquisite Spanish Mission-style property in one of the most exclusive locations in Malibu, set on a bluff overlooking the absolute beachfront homes on Malibu Road – still called the “Old Road” by locals as it was part of the original Pacific Coast Highway, long since moved inland.
With five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths, a private gym, home office, guesthouse and music studio, the exquisite home spans some 7,800 square feet and sits on a generous two-acre plot boasting a putting green, a basketball court framed by hydrangeas, and lush fruit and vegetable gardens where Gold grows her own lemons, oranges, tangerines, avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers.
The shady veranda, pool deck and tropical gardens have been the venue for many parties and family celebrations
The property offers sweeping ocean views, especially ravishing in the first light of dawn and the last rays of sunset, and beach access via some stairs. Gold bought the home seven years ago for $10 million.
When it came to house hunting, this was the first property Gold saw. But it wasn’t the first time she’d seen the area. Knowing how she came to buy this house is to understand the passion and conviction that are the hallmarks of Gold’s extraordinarily successful career.
One of identical triplets – and a Malibu native – Gold and her sisters used to drive through the area on the way to high school. That, she told her two sisters of the then- vacant bluff above the ocean, is where I want my house. Some years later, and within a week of that first viewing with her real estate agent, she had bought it.
She then set about remodeling across the board. She built the guest house and music studio, added stairs down to the beach, a deck overlooking the ocean, and an extensive terrace at the rear of the house with a pergola, a feature fireplace and a barbecue – for which she ordered an 18-foot wood table from South Africa – and landscaped the exterior.
“The bones were fantastic,” she says, “but I really wanted more of an indoor-outdoor ambience, so I knocked down walls to create a seamless feel. I didn’t want a choppy house, I wanted that wherever you went there would be music, candles, flowers, it would be free flowing.”
She describes her style philosophy as “modern with a spice of Bohemian chic.” Gold opted for an open, minimalist feel with clean lines and a broadly white palette, yet made it warm and inviting with accent colors, contemporary artworks, and fabrics that change with the seasons. “I like that people feel very comfortable as soon as they walk in, like an old comfortable feel mixed with something modern,” she adds.
The crisp white backdrop of the living room is punctuated by ceiling beams, which – like the grand stone fireplace and aged doors to the dining room – were imported from Italy, giving the property a tangible Mediterranean vibe. The rectangular kitchen is dominated by an impressive marble-topped island while the large double oven and expansive fridge hint at Gold’s love of entertaining and good company.
That seamless, indoor-outdoor feel is a key feature of her favorite part of the house. The master bedroom opens directly onto the terrace, anchored on one side by the fireplace. Gold says she and her partner end most nights here with a glass of wine.
The home is complimented by original artworks created by her sister, Michelle Oppenheimer
The master bedroom, like the house, offers Gold a sanctuary. Fortunately, many others get to share in that as she built a house for entertaining. “I love to entertain, I made this house for entertaining. I wanted to create little nooks and zen areas all throughout the house.”
Gold recalls one party she hosted three years ago for a children’s charity. “That was a fantastic party. At one moment it was like I was listening to the radio, I looked outside and there was Kenny G practicing on my lawn. We raised about $150,000 at that event. So many celebrities came to support it, we had David Foster, Adam Sandler, Catherine Oxenberg, Jane Seymour, Jay Leno, and Paul Reiser was the MC.”
Has growing up in Malibu shaped her style? “Absolutely. There was a sense of calm growing up here; it’s not that way necessarily now because it’s much more urbanized. But it gives you a real indoor-outdoor feeling with the colors of the ocean, the salt and the sea, the landscapes, the trees, the birds, and so on, that essence of a beach community.”
Since selling her shares in True Religion in 2007, Gold has dedicated her formidable energy and determination – never take no for an answer is her motto – to Babakul, a fashion/ lifestyle brand for the contemporary woman, which she set up with friend and business partner Sophie Wizmann.
Indeed, Babakul – it means hippy in French – is Wizmann’s nickname for Gold. From the outset she was keen to build a brand that empowered women to feel confident and sexy. “It’s a collection from denim to silks to knits with a lot of detail,” says Gold. “I really wanted the looks to be timeless, the colors to be subtle, the fabrics to be soft. It’s a cohesive, seamless day-to-night collection.”
While she has lived in London – a city she loves for its music, fashion and energy – she says there is nowhere she would live now but in Malibu. Gold concedes that she has been of offered millions for the house, but has never been tempted to sell. “Where would I go? I have everything I want right here.” babakul.com
Image Credits: Laure Joliet.