Tech entrepreneur and CEO of startup studio Science Inc. Mike Jones may have lived in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years, but he still values his Oregon upbringing.
When he and his wife were looking for a place to raise their children, they wanted a property where they could teach their children the value of nature and provide ample space for play. That’s not exactly easy to find in the confines of Los Angeles County.
They eventually found a stunning 6,000 square foot, five-bedroom house on three acres of property in Malibu, California, bordered by state parks on one side and a gorgeous ocean view below.
Jones invited us over to check out the property.
Mike Jones and his wife, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Jones, live with their two kids in Malibu, off the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. To get there, you have drive up a long and snaking set of roads.
And through a private gate. Their house is set so far into the property that you won't even see it until you make your way halfway through the 'driveway.'
The house was built in 1958, but you wouldn't know it from the outside. It is one of the most booked houses in California for shooting commercials. The house has been featured in Verizon, Bose, and Apple commercials, among others.
The house's entranceway opens up into the main living room, which is filled with comfortable places to sit and a candelabra entwined with plants. Jennifer picked out all the interior decorations, which often give their home the look of a large treehouse.
On the wall behind the living room is this DIY plant sculpture that the family made together. There is art by each family member all around the house.
Most of the house has a large, open floorplan. The first living room leads into this other seating area. The Jones are often entertaining guests with dinner parties, charity events, and company parties.
On the day we visited, the family was planning for a Viking-themed dinner party for their kids and their classmates from a nearby private school. The school has an experimental education system that eschews grades and tests until the third grade and focuses on holistically integrating art and practical activities into every subject.
It's a good thing they have this chef-worthy kitchen. While we were there, Jennifer offered mint tea made from leaves grown in the family's garden and Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese puffs) fresh from the oven. The Jones travel with their children often -- their most recent destinations have included Thailand and Austria. 'I didn't get to travel until I was older. It was my dream for them to be able to see the world beyond,' says Jennifer.
Despite Mike's day job as the head of one of Los Angeles' premier tech incubators, the house is noticeably devoid of technology. The only room in the house with a television is this den. The only television show that Mike and Jennifer let their children watch regularly is Shark Tank. 'We want to teach them the value of entrepreneurship and not waiting for your time, but making your time,' says Jennifer.
The den is filled with mementos and souvenirs from their travels. These Islamic tablets were purchased at the Jemaa el-Fnaa market in Marrakech, Morocco.
This is their daughter Ocean's room. She has a canopy bed. Her hero is Amelia Earhart and she currently wants to be a pilot.
This is their son Orion's room. His bed is shaped like a tree house. The opposite wall is covered with a tapestry of constellations.
This is Mike's office. It is pretty spare, apart from the photographs adorning the walls. Jones is an avid travel photographer. While we were there, he showed off some photos from a recent trip to India he made to run a Science Inc. hackathon.
There is a large deck and pool in the back that the family frequently uses for events. Every year, Mike hosts a 200-person 'brain games' event for Science Inc, where each company breaks up into teams and competes.
Though the house is situated on a large hill, the deck is built around numerous huge trees. It adds to the treehouse feel.
They keep these hydroponic drip systems on the deck to grow garden vegetables. Mike says that they are so effective that it takes only a month to grow a full head of lettuce.
Behind the paddock is a larger paddock for riding, as well as tons of hiking and riding trails for the family to explore.
There is also a large horse barn, but they have converted it to house other animals. The family breeds chickens and rabbits. On the day we visited, a couple of chickens had escaped, a big problem with coyotes in the area.
Over the last several years, the Jones have hosted a summer camp for their children and their classmates, as well as Easter egg hunts (with over 1,000 eggs hidden on the property) and Halloween parties. They converted this open barn to be a lounging area for parents during such events.
The family keeps bees on the property, after a friend asked if he could house his hives there. The beekeeper now comes and teaches the children the ins and outs of taking care of bees and how to gather honey. 'It's been neat for the kids to understand beekeeping,' says Mike.
The house used to be owned by singer Olivia Newton John, who put in huge flood lights to keep out intruders. A previous owner also put in a laser security system. 'We've been tearing out all this junk (since we moved in),' says Mike.
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