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Alicia Keys’ house is a modern architectural masterpiece

Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz live in a striking mansion perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean known as The Razor House.

swizz beatz and alicia keys house in la jolla, san diego

A 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer, not to mention best-selling author, entrepreneur and The Voice judge, Alicia Keys is a trailblazer.

With a thriving career that spans more than two decades, the Empire State of Mind singer is one of the biggest names in the music industry. And her personal life is equally full of achievements.

Back in 2010, she married record producer/rapper Swizz Beatz (by his real name, Kasseem Daoud Dean), and the two welcomed two children to the family: Egypt Daoud and Genesis Ali Dean.

So it only makes sense that this exceptional artist lives in a house that’s just as impressive as her neverending list of trophies and awards.

exterior view of Alicia Keys' house, known as the Razor House
Alicia Keys’ house in La Jolla, California. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

In 2019, Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz paid $20.8 million for a striking cliffside mansion in San Diego’s upscale La Jolla neighborhood.

The high-profile purchase even made its way to our TV screens, as part of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listings LA show, which brought the already-famous property back into the spotlight.

The one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece — widely known as The Razor House — has been getting people talking since it was first designed in 2007 by San Diego-based architect Wallace E. Cunningham.

The imposing concrete and glass mansion is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

And while many have been dubbing it ‘the Iron Man house’ due to its resemblance to Tony Stark’s house, it may be time for a new nickname that suits its famous owners better.

singer alicia keys and husband swizz beatz, the owners of the razor house
Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, the famous owners of the Razor House. Image credit: Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A closer look at Alicia Keys’ house, an architectural marvel overlooking the ocean

The modern cliffside mansion was designed by AD100 architect Wallace E. Cunningham, most famous for his striking residential projects, which he likens to sculptures.

More specifically, as the architect himself put it, he designs “one-of-a-kind sculptures for people to live in.

And that couldn’t be more true for some of his iconic residential projects: the Harmony House and the Wing House in Rancho Santa Fe, and the architecturally distinct Razor House that Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz now call home.

the razor house alicia keys home
Alicia Keys’ house in La Jolla, CA, known as The Razor House. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the concrete and glass structure has long been rumored to be the real-life version of Tony Stark‘s futuristic mansion.

But the home has never made an appearance in any blockbuster movie.

the razor house alicia keys home
View from the Razor House at sunset. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

It was, however, used for a VISA Black commercial and a luxurious Calvin Klein ad, but that’s pretty much all the screen time the mansion got.

That’s a shame because the house itself is worthy of the biggest screens on earth.

Nearly every wall in the residence is glass, while the floors are mostly hewn from travertine stone. An extra-long infinity pool (one of many) juts out over the cliff’s edge, turning swimming into the stuff dreams are made off.

Front-facing view of Alicia Keys' home, made out of glass and concrete
Front-facing view of Alicia Keys’ home. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys’ house has endless concrete terraces that make the most out of the mesmerizing views of surrounding hills and the ocean below.

The three-story home comes with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 baths, with nearly every room opening up to stunning views.

circular sofa with ocean views inside Alicia Keys house
Inside Alicia Keys’ house. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

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Bedroom with glass walls and ocean views inside Alicia Keys' house
Bedroom with ocean views inside Alicia Keys’ house. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

Fashioned with a state-of-the-art kitchen and giant round living room anchored by a fireplace, Alicia and her music producer husband, Swizz Beatz, have everything they need to unwind with their sons, Egypt and Genesis, including several outdoor lounge areas. 

Inside Alicia Keys' house, La Jolla, CA.
Inside Alicia Keys’ house, La Jolla, CA. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency
Inside Alicia Keys' house, La Jolla, CA.
Inside Alicia Keys’ house, La Jolla, CA. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

Among its most notable amenities, the Razor House lists: an extensive fitness space, two steam rooms, a den, a theater, and a library with a custom-made Ralph Lauren pool table.

Inside Alicia Keys' house, La Jolla, CA.
Inside Alicia Keys’ house, La Jolla, CA. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

The Razor House was initially listed for $30 million

Initially listed for sale in 2018 for $30 million, La Jolla’s most famous home took a little over a year to make a buyer fall in love with it up to the point of committing enough to put a ring around…. those house keys.

the razor house alicia keys home
The Razor House in La Jolla, CA. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

But when it did, it nabbed more than just a nice selling price and some very famous new owners.

Putting an end to the property’s year-long run on the market, Alicia and her powerhouse music producer husband Kasseem Dean, better known as Swizz Beatz, purchased the Razor House for a cool $20.8 million.

The $20M+ selling price (despite being a considerable drop from the initial asking) made it one of the most expensive homes sold in La Jolla, California in 2019 — proving once again that whatever Alicia Keys does, she does in style and ready to set new records!

Neither Alicia Keys nor Swizz Beatz (who has produced hit singles for the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Beyoncé) had any connection to La Jolla or the larger San Diego area when they bought the home, leading people to speculate that the iconic residence will serve as a vacation home for the couple.

But a tour given to Architectural Digest in late 2021 proved them wrong.

Not only do Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz live in the Razor House, but they’ve turned it into an elegant, art-filled, inviting home. Take the tour:

The history of the Razor House before it became Alicia Keys’ home

According to the San Diego Reader, the futuristic structure was named after the land it sits on, a three-quarter-acre lot near Razor Point.

Created for original owner Don Cooksey (a software designer and entrepreneur who later filed for bankruptcy) many architects initially backed away from the ambitious project, calling it “rebuildable”.

That’s until Cooksey approached Wallace E. Cunningham, who bought the modernist gem to life — and built the dramatic estate to match the breathtaking landscape that surrounds it.

By 2011, following the financial hardships of its initial owner, The Razor House ended up in bankruptcy sale.

the razor house alicia keys home
The Razor House in La Jolla, CA. Credit: Gary Kasl courtesy of The Agency

According to Realtor.com, Donald Burns, a Florida-based telecom entrepreneur and inventor of the magicJack — a device that allows you to make calls from your computer — purchased the property as a second home at the 2011 bankruptcy sale.

Burns paid $14,097,000 for the home and invested heavily in the property.

“He made a lot of upgrades to it,” Matt Altman, one of the property’s listing agents and star of reality TV show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles said.

“He updated to the next level. He wasn’t doing this to make money; he was doing this to make a nice home. He did a significant amount of work on this house.”

The entire home is automated and optimized for iPad control of everything from audio and visual systems to motorized window coverings and control of the home’s radiant floor heating, air conditioning.

There’s also a backup generator to ensure power never goes down, and an entire computer room is dedicated to housing the home’s automation control systems. So basically, The Razor House may not be Iron Man’s house, but it does comes with its own Jarvis.

*This article was first published in September, 2019, reporting on the famous couple’s purchase of the home. It has since been updated for timeliness and accuracy.

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Written by Georgie Mihaila

With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded FancyPantsHomes.com

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