There’s a Brand New Property on Strawberry Lane, and It’s a Good One
Bring on the Southern charm.
- Written byAmber Klinck
- Photographed byShane O’Donnell
Barbara and Mike Murphy had a clear vision of what they wanted when they began building their family home in Rolling Hills Estates. “We wanted a home that we could open up to our grandchildren and our kids that would still be comfortable for the two of us,” Barbara says. “And something that reflected the two of us so it’s very traditional, a little bit farmhouse, but everything is fully automated.”
“We do Thanksgiving for 50 people every year,” Mike notes. “We do Super Bowl parties and all sorts of events.”
In addition to often hosting friends and family, the Murphys are avid animal lovers. They needed a property that could cater to the needs of their horses, donkeys, dogs, chickens and even peacocks. So when an opportunity to purchase an acre of land on the celebrated street Strawberry Lane presented itself, they knew it was the perfect place to bring their vision to life.
Guiding the family through the process of building their ideal home was Christine Vroom of Christine Kimberlee Designs. “Christine has been with us for about three years,” Barbara notes.
Christine adds, “I met the Murphys in early 2016 as a referral from their amazing and talented architects Pritzkat & Johnson. We hit it off right away.”
When asked to describe the style of the home, Christine explains, “It was designed to evoke a Georgian Revival Kentucky horse property estate.” To make this happen, Christine pulled inspiration from a number of sources. “I did a lot of research on the Colonial Revival styles of molding buildups. I did a study on Churchill Downs, as well as sifting through typical southern charmers.”
In addition to mastering the style of the space, every detail of the home features the highest level of craftsmanship. “Every molding was hand-selected, most of the tile was custom-designed, the floors were a custom stain,” Christine notes. “Each corner had intent behind it. And the team we pulled together was absolutely spectacular. We could not have done it without each person involved. His Life Woodworks, O’Rourke Construction, Exquisite Tile, Belmax Floor Company, Electrocorp, and K.Fair Landscape Design are just a few of the heavyweights that made the project happen. Every inch of the 5,500-square-foot home reflects excellence, but it is also incredibly warm and inviting.”
“It was an extraordinary task with a complete team effort.”
The great room of the home has sky-high vaulted ceilings with reclaimed wooden beams. The kitchen and great room merge for a communal feel that’s ideal for entertaining. Light pours in from every angle.
For the Murphys, who love to host, every detail for maximizing functionality was considered in the kitchen. Everything has a place, with ample storage. Cutting boards are located above the trash for quick cleanups; pots and pans hang for easy access from the lower cabinets. There is a walk-in pantry as well as a hidden sliding pantry shelf. Every appliance has a home, and there are built-in paper towel rolls—a convenience only someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen can truly appreciate.
Cambria countertops add beauty and longevity for a kitchen that’s often in use. Stunning tilework, a glass mosaic and a delicate chandelier decorated with teacups hanging in the pantry all add charming personality to the space.
Off the garage and down the hall is a storage lover’s dream. Having a closet specifically for dry cleaning and a coffee bar that rivals any barista station is impressive. But the laundry room takes the cake with its raised dog-washing station, hidden staircase for easy four-legged access and concealed dog food and water bowls.
The large family room has a clubhouse feel and is stocked with a pool table and shuffleboard table. With the touch of a button, the room transforms from light and airy to cinema-ready as blackout shades cover the windows and a massive screen hidden in one of the beams appears.
“I’m into tech,” Mike says, “so I wanted this house to be state-of-the-art.” The lighting, music, shades—everything can be controlled remotely.
As you walk into the formal dining room on the main floor, the upstairs library is visible above. Large doors that open to an adjoining outdoor patio blur the lines between the indoor and outdoor spaces. A large glass window offers a glimpse into the walk-in wine cellar located underneath the staircase.
Antiques passed down from family as well as porcelain and crystal treasures make their home in a charming sitting room. The master suite serves as a sanctuary, with doors that separate it from the rest of the house.
The library has a sprawling deck with views of Downtown Los Angeles as well as the pool, pool house and barn located below. The property boasts four stables, a chicken coop, a vegetable garden and direct access to miles of trails.
Barbara holds one of her grandchildren in her arms as Mike waves to another little one exploring outside. They all have plans to get in the pool that afternoon. There is no shortage of beautiful homes in the South Bay, but it’s refreshing to see one being truly lived in and enjoyed by so many.
“I will forever be grateful to Mike and Barb for allowing me in so close to design a truly one-of-a-kind custom home that will forever bless their lives and the people close to them,” Christine says. “I absolutely love the Murphys. To be honest, they were my dream clients.”