How Architect Paul McClean Became The Giga-Mansion Maestro

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Southern California’s home styles are as diverse as its residents. There are the charming Cape Cod’s of Sherman Oaks, the Tuscan homes of Calabasas, the Tudor’s of Hancock Park and the Craftsman homes of Studio City–just to name a few. While there may be a type of home for every personality and lifestyle, one architect has become known as the home designer who defines California luxury living–Paul McClean.

Paul McClean, owner of McClean Design, stands in a house he designed at Doheny Estates in Los Angeles.

Orange County Register, April 10, 2017

McClean has come a long way from his Dublin, Ireland home as a boy where he used to draw houses and ask his parents, “what type of person does that?” Fortunately, for luxury home buyers, his parents steered him toward architecture.

As a student, he came to appreciate the modern home designs of L.A. “Growing up in Ireland, I was so intrigued by a home that you could open up to the elements and make the walls go away,” he told The Real Deal last year.

His big break came in 2014 when a stunning home he had designed years earlier was purchased by the late Swedish DJ Avicii. From then on, McClean became the in-demand nest designer for the celebrities and financiers who fly high above Hollywood on the Bird Streets.

Blue Jay Way house owned by late DJ Avicci designed by Paul McClean

photo by Brian Thomas Jones

With a client list boasting Beyonce and Jay-z, Calvin Klein, and the Winklevoss twins–McClean took his star-architect status to a whole new level when he teamed up with spec-home developer Nile Niami.

Among the pair’s giga-mansion collaborations, is “Opus” a 100-million, 20,000 square foot compound comprised of 12-foot ceilings, Roberto Cavalli floors, disappearing glass walls, a Cristal Champagne room, infinity edge pool, and a sky bridge.

Crystal Wine Cellar in Opus by Paul McClean

Opus may be the only mansion on the market that includes original Damien Hirst artworks as some of the more “affordable” things in the room.

What makes McClean a great architect is that at the heart of all of his home’s opulence and grander there is still a welcoming place inside for people to enjoy life.

Paul McClean designs

Paul McClean characterizes his creations with smooth staircases, towering wine cellars, glass walls, and waterways that build emotions as owners walk past them. “Our houses are all about light. Light and water,” McClean told the Orange County Register in 2017.

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s 120-million Bel Air Paradise built into the hillside with wrap-around floor-to-ceiling bulletproof glass walls and pools on every level. It’s a white maze of angles that can be seen from space.

Beyonce and Jay-Z's Bel Air Mansion

photo by Jim Bartsch

Anyone with enough money can build something big and gaudy–what makes Paul McClean stand apart is that he can design a 100,000 square foot mansion that still feels like a comfortable home.

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