House Design

See Inside a $49.5 Million Malibu Beach Home Once Owned by Rod Stewart

  • A house that juts out over Malibu’s coveted beach hit the market for the first time in 36 years.
  • Rod Stewart bought it in the 1970s and sold it to record executive Mo Ostin in 1987.
  • The house was designed to look like a set of cresting waves by California architect Harry Gesner.

Before crooner Rod Stewart scooped it up in the 1970s, or record executive Mo Ostin bought it from him in 1987, the so-called Wave House of Malibu was owned by Glenn and Gerry Cooper.

The Coopers were friends with California architect Harry Gesner, and commissioned Gesner to design a house for their family that encapsulated their affinity for the outdoors.

After the group found the site — a hidden cove with good surf up the coast from the famous Malibu Colony neighborhood — Gesner spent two days on a surfboard bobbing out at sea, peering back at the parcel. It was on a 12-foot balsa wood surfboard that the architect first sketched the house with a grease pencil, the lore goes.

By Glenn Cooper’s account, Gesner succeeded in his task.

“It was as if we lived within, not apart from the forces of nature, and surged with her changing moods,” Cooper told Lisa Germany in “Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner.”

“Such immediate challenges of nature caused all of us to be always responsive, alive, and aware. Such constant changes of the tides reminded us of the fragility of life, of the moods and forces of nature,” she said. “And the powers of nature drove us all to go farther, to be better, to meet the challenges of each day with undaunted bravado.”

With three rooflines shaped like cresting waves, topped with layered shingles that are evocative of fish scales, the Wave House has become an icon of California midcentury architecture since its completion in 1963.

The estate of Mo Ostin, the home’s most recent owner and one-time record executive who’s known for signing Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks, listed the property in early June for $49.5 million.

Here’s a peek inside.

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