UK transplants and best friends Jon and Dougal are the co-owners of Racing Green – a company that takes their home design business across the pond to Los Angeles. Using their European learnings to capitalize on the luxury real estate market in the Hollywood Hills, they combat LA’s saturated and highly competitive home market by capitalizing on land no one else dares to touch: cliffside properties.
They prey on risk-ridden plots, which have remained empty in an otherwise overcrowded city- and for good reason-- the stakes are too high. Literally. Where every other construction company says ‘hell no’, they say ‘hell, we’ll go’ - and risk the epic disaster of failed foundations and impossible permits. Each build scales to new heights- revealing premium homes and hillside mansions with views to die for. They are- in every sense of the phrase-living life on the edge.
In Hollywood’s golden years, celebrities and LA’s biggest stars occupied massive, teetering hillside homes – with unmatched views and the drama to parallel their careers. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, earthquakes are a very real threat for hillside dwellers, and occupying a stilted home means literal collapse when they happen. This style of luxury homes was abandoned in the late 60’s, but California builders still remain wary of property too close to the cliff’s edge.
At the heart of Jon and Dougal’s business is providing the luxury market with an innovative new way to get those jaw-dropping Hollywood views: the secret is in the foundation. Because stilted houses are dated and unsafe, the team at Racing Green invests upwards of half a million dollars into custom, state-of-the-art foundations so that cliffside views can still be a reality for buyers with deep pockets- even though other builders have timidly written them off as too dangerous. They probably don’t ride motorcycles either.
Dougal Murray is founder of the Racing Green Group and specializes in Luxury Real Estate Development and Investment strategy. Dougal is both a licensed contractor and realtor, and has a proven track record in real estate development in both London & Los Angeles markets. He is also the host of the increasingly popular podcast ‘That Property Show’, and has over half a billion in M&A transactions under his belt.
Jonathan Waud joined Racing Green Group in 2015 as Operations Director. He is a licensed Realtor and has worked as Design Consultant to some of Hollywood’s biggest names. With over a decade of experience in the Californian interior design market, Jonathan has received international recognition for a number of his high profile interiors projects.
There’s a whole lot of money on the table coupled with a powder keg of danger and risk, but the views pay off. When you’re in the market for a $4m+ home teetering on the edge of the Hollywood Hills, the foundations are just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the course of the season, viewers will pick their jaws up off the floor as Jon and Dougal scout, break ground, and construct a cliffside mega-home from the cornerstone to the countertops. While audiences salivate watching these monster builds come together brick by Brit, Jon and Dougal’s approach to handling wealthy clients and absurd design requests will leave no viewer in want of wisecracks or wit, episode to episode. As its co-founders zoom through the sprawling city of Los Angeles on the backs of vintage motorcycles, Racing Green will skirt a little danger for the sake of appearance; and the day-to-day operations are as diverse as the city itself.
1. REAL ESTATE: APARTMENT & HOME
As licensed real estate agents, Jon and Dougal’s work doesn’t just start and end at the construction site. They have perfected the role of greater LA’s go-to elevated fixer-upper duo, taking on Pasadena canyon homes with hidden potential or a downtown LA loft apartment in need of some TLC. Every episode, as a beat beneath their big-scale construction, they’ll work with a deep-pocketed buyer to tour LA properties, helping clients unlock the possibilities in houses with potential to turn heads. In a world where everything looks like Joanna Gaines, their design style is as diverse as the city itself. A Spanish- Style Colonial, Concrete Contemporary, Industrial-Chic Loft, or Mid-Century Classic-- nothing is out of their range of prospective design.
Occasionally, Jon and Dougal’s celebrity clientele manage to secure the perfect home, but the new owners have yet to capitalize on the view. Launching their custom concrete and paving division a few years ago, the team has yet to meet an exterior they couldn’t turn into a tricked out vista or a calming cabana. At Racing Green they believe that the outdoor ‘money shot’ design is just as crucial as stunning interiors. After all, in LA, people shamelessly judge a book by its cover.
3. PERSONAL PROPERTY & ENDEAVORS
Recent personal purchases have the guys running together –and separately- through the neighborhoods of LA and beyond to manage their own risky purchases ... and their significant others. Jon, having just taken things to the next level in his relationship, is preparing a converted loft in the center of West Hollywood so he and his girlfriend can move in together. Gulp. Dougal cruises back and forth to Palm Springs with his wife in tow, as the process of revamping their stunning Spanish-style home is underway. Upon completion, Dougal wants to sell this desert oasis but his wife may have other ideas. In fact, she definitely has other ideas.
4. MANAGING JOB SITES
Waking up on a typical Monday morning, Jon and Dougal head to the job site of their largest build- a $7 million hillside home being constructed from the ground up. Casual. Beyond the nuts and the bolts (really, really big bolts), the even more unpredictable challenge begins: managing a team of 30-40 men in 110 degree heat after a weekend of heavy drinking and who knows what else. To quote Dougal when asked about this part of the job, ‘It’s more drama than a Colombian soap opera’. Understood.
5. RENTAL PROPERTIES
Since moving across the pond to LA, Dougal has lived entirely mortgage free (what?) in his predictably stunning home by managing and maintaining fabulous rental properties. With hopeful renters booked up to five months in advance- he knows the earning potential that lies in catering to tourists who want to see La La Land in style. When you have the design chops create a luxury short term rental experience with premium locations and views, collecting top dollar from bougie travelers is a breeze. Dougal never tires of pinpointing these untapped gems- even helping clients do the same- and using his real estate savvy to market these bad boys to death.
From music producers to Hollywood directors, the Racing Green client roster is star-studded. And getting them to show up is only half the battle.
Yes, they have addicting British accents and yes, they wear leather skinnies. Every visual- from their looks to their lots- provides premium chaos and style as LA’s finest dream-team make waves in the industry. While they meet with top tier clients, negotiate & design for the elite, and construct some of the most dangerous builds that you can still legally get away with in California, it’s impossible to look away.