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How did Encinitas' Crescent House get its name?

A modern concrete, glass, and titanium masterpiece

From the listing: “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”
From the listing: “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”

“Perched on 74 feet of ocean frontage, Crescent House is as sculptural as it is architectural,” opens the Zillow pitch for our stop this week at 532 Neptune Avenue in Encinitas. It’s a 2003-built blufftop mansion that occupies either 6329 (according to the listing) or 8883 (if you trust the public records) square feet of living space. “This modern concrete, glass, and titanium masterpiece presides over the Pacific,” the listing continues, before boasting that the nearly half-acre lot is one of the larger oceanfront parcels on the street. “Upon entering through the prominent stainless steel gate, you are transported, as if on an island, with supreme privacy and a feeling that everything else behind the walls disappears.”

People who live in glass houses should enjoy the view.

Maybe it’s just me, but passing through a steel gate where everything outside the walls disappears sounds like I’m starting a prison sentence as much as it does visiting a coastal mega-mansion. Setting that aside for a moment, let’s have a look inside. The first picture in the listing shows multiple levels of patios and decking overlooking the ocean; we’ll get back to that. But for now, we’re going to start out front. From the driveway, we’re looking up at a huge slab of concrete outfitted with some long, rectangular windows that I’m sure look narrower than they actually are. (If we were in some European country that takes the ‘rehabilitation’ part of corrections as seriously as the ‘restitution’ part, you still might be able to convince me about that prison sentence.)

Next we get to a windowless steel slab set into concrete walls that seem to be festooned with rivets of some sort at the corners – maybe this is the entry gate? I was thinking it’d be outside the driveway. Oh well, moving along. Inside, we’re faced with a sloping, curving outdoor walkway. There’s something shiny and black jutting out of the ground if you take the path headed down instead of the one heading up; I’m not sure if it’s functional or meant to add to the aesthetic. Is it a fountain, maybe? Still, there’s a lot of concrete, and while it won’t quite click until the very last aerial photo, these curves are what give Crescent House its name.

Coming out of the hallway, we next visit the pool, also crescent-shaped. Now things begin to make a little more sense: the black thing in the last shot was the edge of the pool, and apparently you can continue walking around under it? Still, I’m not sure I understand why the pool is surrounded by more concrete walls. Is it for privacy? Wouldn’t you want an ocean view while you swim? Oh well, it’s still a nice pool, and I’ll bet you can see over the walls from the partially-covered pool deck.

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From there, we move on to the backyard, which has no shortage of excellent lounging and/or entertainment spots that take full advantage of the oceanfront location. There’s even an enormous gas firepit with random steel triangles jutting out of it every foot or so. Maybe these help the fire generate some heat during the winter months, or maybe they’re just there for looks. Either way, they’re interesting and weird in a good way. Also: these backyard shots have finally and firmly dispelled the notion I’m in some sort of drab, gray detention facility.

When we do get inside, we’re confronted by a glass and steel floating spiral staircase, leading up from another plain concrete room. This takes us, apparently, to a sitting room, and a wall of shelves covered with row after row of dinner plates — all with faces painted on them, all staring directly back at us. I’m not going to be lingering here. Another small living room looks the same as the first, but instead of creepy face plates, there’s a TV mounted to the wall. After a quick peek, we’re back out in the hallway, where the stairs continue up. One piece of wall art looks like a chalkboard dripping blood, but due to camera glare, we can’t read what’s written on it. Not sure I want to.

At the top of the stairs, we reach a much larger living area, this one containing furniture, including a dining set arranged to take advantage of the ocean views through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. This is a good space, but the glass walls continue everywhere along the back of the house, including in the bedrooms. I’m going to assume that there are some fancy remote-controlled curtains to block these off come sleepytime, because I’m not sure I want nothing but a huge window between my bedroom and the backyard.

When we get to the bathroom, I get confused. There appears to be a triangle-shaped hole in the floor, right between the twin vanities. Is this a tub? It looks like it might be; I spy a couple of knobs that could control a faucet. But why here? It blocks access to part of the vanities, and with all of those sharp angles, it doesn’t seem like it would be very comfortable tub in which to lie back and relax. And again: it is a hole in the floor.

We round out our tour with some evening and aerial shots, which take us to another couple outdoor spaces that I don’t think we saw the first time around. The listing tells us the mastermind behind Crescent House is “3 time Architectural Digest Top 100 designer & visionary Wallace Cunningham,” and that it was featured in that magazine’s April 2005 issue along with an episode of HBO’s Westworld. “This unrivaled property is more than a home; it is a precious work of art merging the realms of sculpture, architecture & landscape into a majestic lifestyle,” the listing concludes. “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”

Crescent House is currently owned by a Miami-based holding company that acquired it for $11.1 million in 2016, according to public records. It was most recently listed for sale in late April with an asking price of $23.5 million that remains unchanged to date.

  • 532 Neptune Avenue| Encinitas, 92024
  • current owner: Crescent House LLC | listing price: $23,500,000 | beds: 4 | baths: 6 | house size: 6329
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From the listing: “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”
From the listing: “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”

“Perched on 74 feet of ocean frontage, Crescent House is as sculptural as it is architectural,” opens the Zillow pitch for our stop this week at 532 Neptune Avenue in Encinitas. It’s a 2003-built blufftop mansion that occupies either 6329 (according to the listing) or 8883 (if you trust the public records) square feet of living space. “This modern concrete, glass, and titanium masterpiece presides over the Pacific,” the listing continues, before boasting that the nearly half-acre lot is one of the larger oceanfront parcels on the street. “Upon entering through the prominent stainless steel gate, you are transported, as if on an island, with supreme privacy and a feeling that everything else behind the walls disappears.”

People who live in glass houses should enjoy the view.

Maybe it’s just me, but passing through a steel gate where everything outside the walls disappears sounds like I’m starting a prison sentence as much as it does visiting a coastal mega-mansion. Setting that aside for a moment, let’s have a look inside. The first picture in the listing shows multiple levels of patios and decking overlooking the ocean; we’ll get back to that. But for now, we’re going to start out front. From the driveway, we’re looking up at a huge slab of concrete outfitted with some long, rectangular windows that I’m sure look narrower than they actually are. (If we were in some European country that takes the ‘rehabilitation’ part of corrections as seriously as the ‘restitution’ part, you still might be able to convince me about that prison sentence.)

Next we get to a windowless steel slab set into concrete walls that seem to be festooned with rivets of some sort at the corners – maybe this is the entry gate? I was thinking it’d be outside the driveway. Oh well, moving along. Inside, we’re faced with a sloping, curving outdoor walkway. There’s something shiny and black jutting out of the ground if you take the path headed down instead of the one heading up; I’m not sure if it’s functional or meant to add to the aesthetic. Is it a fountain, maybe? Still, there’s a lot of concrete, and while it won’t quite click until the very last aerial photo, these curves are what give Crescent House its name.

Coming out of the hallway, we next visit the pool, also crescent-shaped. Now things begin to make a little more sense: the black thing in the last shot was the edge of the pool, and apparently you can continue walking around under it? Still, I’m not sure I understand why the pool is surrounded by more concrete walls. Is it for privacy? Wouldn’t you want an ocean view while you swim? Oh well, it’s still a nice pool, and I’ll bet you can see over the walls from the partially-covered pool deck.

Sponsored
Sponsored

From there, we move on to the backyard, which has no shortage of excellent lounging and/or entertainment spots that take full advantage of the oceanfront location. There’s even an enormous gas firepit with random steel triangles jutting out of it every foot or so. Maybe these help the fire generate some heat during the winter months, or maybe they’re just there for looks. Either way, they’re interesting and weird in a good way. Also: these backyard shots have finally and firmly dispelled the notion I’m in some sort of drab, gray detention facility.

When we do get inside, we’re confronted by a glass and steel floating spiral staircase, leading up from another plain concrete room. This takes us, apparently, to a sitting room, and a wall of shelves covered with row after row of dinner plates — all with faces painted on them, all staring directly back at us. I’m not going to be lingering here. Another small living room looks the same as the first, but instead of creepy face plates, there’s a TV mounted to the wall. After a quick peek, we’re back out in the hallway, where the stairs continue up. One piece of wall art looks like a chalkboard dripping blood, but due to camera glare, we can’t read what’s written on it. Not sure I want to.

At the top of the stairs, we reach a much larger living area, this one containing furniture, including a dining set arranged to take advantage of the ocean views through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. This is a good space, but the glass walls continue everywhere along the back of the house, including in the bedrooms. I’m going to assume that there are some fancy remote-controlled curtains to block these off come sleepytime, because I’m not sure I want nothing but a huge window between my bedroom and the backyard.

When we get to the bathroom, I get confused. There appears to be a triangle-shaped hole in the floor, right between the twin vanities. Is this a tub? It looks like it might be; I spy a couple of knobs that could control a faucet. But why here? It blocks access to part of the vanities, and with all of those sharp angles, it doesn’t seem like it would be very comfortable tub in which to lie back and relax. And again: it is a hole in the floor.

We round out our tour with some evening and aerial shots, which take us to another couple outdoor spaces that I don’t think we saw the first time around. The listing tells us the mastermind behind Crescent House is “3 time Architectural Digest Top 100 designer & visionary Wallace Cunningham,” and that it was featured in that magazine’s April 2005 issue along with an episode of HBO’s Westworld. “This unrivaled property is more than a home; it is a precious work of art merging the realms of sculpture, architecture & landscape into a majestic lifestyle,” the listing concludes. “If art imitates life, live here and art is life.”

Crescent House is currently owned by a Miami-based holding company that acquired it for $11.1 million in 2016, according to public records. It was most recently listed for sale in late April with an asking price of $23.5 million that remains unchanged to date.

  • 532 Neptune Avenue| Encinitas, 92024
  • current owner: Crescent House LLC | listing price: $23,500,000 | beds: 4 | baths: 6 | house size: 6329
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