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Famous Houses: Bird in Flight, a Modern Architectural Gem Connected to the Past

Famous Houses: Bird in Flight, a Modern Architectural Gem Connected to the Past
3 min. read

Located on a hillside in beautiful Laguna Beach, this one-of-a-kind property stands out with its remarkable angular shapes that are said to give it a unique “bird in flight” look. The home’s location and design offer spectacular views of the Pacific coastline, including beaches, coves and islands.

Along with the enviable panoramas, the house provides easy access to Laguna Beach’s popular art galleries, restaurants and shops, as well as the area’s white, sandy beaches and both The Montage and The Ranch golf resorts.


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Built in 1975, the property was designed by award-winning architect Chris Abel, who is said to have been influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s style for this particular project. Abel was well known for popularizing wood and steel homes in the Laguna Beach area, and this “bird in flight” piece is no exception, with its interesting combination of steel, wood and plenty of glass.

Currently on the market for $2,995,000, the 2,800 sqft home offers three bedrooms and three bathrooms and has been remodeled throughout to include many modern amenities. The master bedroom’s tall ceilings and abundant natural light create a spacious, airy feel and the spa-inspired ensuite gleams with high-end finishes, including a marble slab full steam shower.

The home was designed with entertainment in mind, which is quite evident in the showstopping kitchen, featuring high-end stainless steel appliances, a center island, a wine refrigerator and with easy access to a sleek dining area. The kitchen flows seamlessly into the living space, which highlights unbelievable views of the surrounding landscape through unique-shaped windows and two seating levels.

The entertainment features continue with a large split-level deck off the house’s lowest level. Here, you can take in the natural beauty of the coastline, as well as the relaxing coastal breezes, while enjoying a glass of wine from one of the 50+ bottles that can be stored in the home’s impressive wine cabinet.

Abel’s handiwork and design details can be admired all over the home, particularly in the use of wood, with custom bird’s-eye maple cabinets, the Koa wood wine cabinet and teak wood flooring. There are also plenty of custom features, such as the stained glass windows and even wooden doors carved by Abel himself.

Chris is just one member of the Abel family who made their architectural mark on Laguna Beach. His father, Carl “Pop” Abel, moved to the area from Denmark back in 1937 and built four homes here, the most well-known of which is the Bridge House on Oak Street.

Chris followed his father’s footsteps into architecture and design, as well as wood carving and jewelry design. He worked in San Clemente until 1968 until returning to Laguna Beach to build properties that have become very sought-after ever since. His use of clean lines and eye-catching details had made his Craftsman and Contemporary style homes just as popular today as they were when they were first built.

The “bird in flight” house is a stunning example of architecture that has stood the test of time through changing tastes and design trends, and it stands as a proud reminder of the Abel family’s architectural history in Laguna Beach that has spanned multiple generations.

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