The famed Razor House mansion is front and center on the Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles season 12 premiere. Here’s what you need to know about it, including its famous designer, stunning floor plan, and the subterranean five-car garage.
The Razor House Was Built In 2007 by Wallace E. Cunningham
According to the Los Angeles Times, Wallace E. Cunningham built the Razor House in 2007. The modern mansion is an architectural marvel of glass and concrete that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California, a seaside town that is part of the greatest San Diego metro area.
Cunningham is a 65-year-old American architect primarily known for his work in Southern California, though he has also designed homes in Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Illinois, and Nebraska, according to his website. On the site, Cunningham says of his work, “The concepts of spirituality and motion are integral to my work. I try to tap into the psyche with unexpected manipulations of form and light, which are intended to be as sculptural as they are architectural. Natural light is a crucial element in my designs and is used to define, fragment, and animate space. The environment is a primary source of inspiration and a driving force as well.”
The Razor House Floor Plan and Details
The L.A. Times says the mansion is 11,545 square feet, plus there is a 1300-square-foot detached guest house. Between the two structures, there are six bedrooms and five bathrooms. The house stands three stories high with rooftop terraces and a subterranean five-car garage. Inside the main house are a rounded living room, a game room, a tiered movie theater, two kitchens, a curved floating staircase, two master suites, and an infinity-edge swimming pool.
Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles realtors Josh Altman and Josh Flagg were visibly gobsmacked by the estate, saying how it is rumored to be the inspiration for Tony Stark’s house in the Iron Man movies and that it’s a mansion fit for any superhero.
“This house is insane. If you’re Batman, you can fight your villains on the cliff and by the time you hang glide to the bedroom, you can be Bruce Wayne, ready to entertain. Any superhero you wanna be, you can be in this house,” said Altman.
Flagg added, “The Razor House is, I think, one of the most spectacular pieces of architecture … and the fact that it’s in La Jolla, on that magical cliff, it makes me wanna cry.”
Alicia Keys Is Now the Proud Owner of the Mansion
The Razor House originally went on the market in the summer of 2018 for $30 million. By August 2019, the price had dropped to $25 million. Then in September 2019, it came to light that singer Alicia Keys purchased the house for $20.8 million, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The previous owner was Donald Burns, the co-founder, and former CEO and president of Telco Communications Group and the inventor of Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology. Burns told the Wall Street Journal in a 2018 interview that he bought the property in 2011 for $14.1 million after the original owner filed for bankruptcy.
The original owner was Jimmy Donald Cooksey Jr., a software designer and entrepreneur who filed for bankruptcy in February 2009. He had originally listed the property at $45 million, but the price dropped precipitously when it became a bankruptcy holding. According to MDR Condos, the mansion originally cost $34 million to build.
In a 2008 interview with Architectural Digest, Cooksey said of the mansion, “I’ll never have a collection better than that view. That’s my art. That thing’s alive.”
“The whole concept of the house was about organizing the view,” said architect Cunningham, who worked with Cooksey in getting the house just right. “The house doesn’t offer a series of vignettes but a large sweep. The idea of extending usable spaces everywhere to capture the view, that was really the big thing. Because you’re looking to Japan. You know it’s out there. In 100 years the coast will move in, but even if the house looks and acts like a glass pavilion, the structure and its weight give it a sense of permanence. The glass offers the view, but it’s the concrete that makes it feel timeless.”
Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.