Minimalist Artist Creates Masterpiece for His Ocean Beach Home

by on June 14, 2022 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

By AnnaMaria Stephens / San Diego Magazine / June 8, 2022

San Diego artist Miki Iwasaki knew he wanted to move his family as close to the coast as possible.

He and his wife, both surfers, had fond memories of growing up in beach towns. Their two young kids already seemed to share their love of the ocean, but beach visits meant a drive from their Sherman Heights home, a place they admit they’d already started to outgrow.

Then an Ocean Beach property right by a favorite surf spot went on the market.

“It’s a block from where we got married at Sunset Cliffs,” says Iwasaki. “The area also has great schools. It checked a lot of boxes for us.”

Iwasaki, who studied architecture at Harvard, considered saving the original house, but it didn’t maximize the lot. On a street lined with towering, skinny palm trees—the kind synonymous with Southern California—he designed a cedar-clad modern replacement that feels right at home in the laid-back neighborhood.

Out front, the U-shaped house offers privacy from the street, while the inward-facing parts wrap around a large secluded courtyard, a design decision he says elevated the project. He credits his wife, Rachel Rabinor, a perinatal therapist, for the clever idea.

Miki Iwasaki in front of his OB home.

For the balance of this article and great photos of the house, please go here.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Vern June 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

Concrete and plastic grass. Now that’s architecture!


kh June 15, 2022 at 12:07 pm

“Minimalist architect tears down beach cottage because it doesn’t maximize the lot. Builds large stucco box on setbacks.”



CHRISTOPHER N KENNEDY June 15, 2022 at 1:37 pm

I’m a huge fan of mid-century modern/post-modern architecture, which also had a minimalist look yet retained a basic warmth. This is totally sterile and cold.


Douglas Blackwood June 16, 2022 at 11:24 pm

Ok then: what’s their surf spot? Will they be good neighbors?


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