The thousand-foot cliffs and precipitous mountains of Big Sur, California, have a long history of attracting contrarian thinkers. “There being nothing to improve on in the surroundings,” writes Henry Miller in Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch. “The tendency is to set about improving oneself.” Surrendering to the stunning natural beauty of this sparsely populated region seems to be what people do here, and architect Mickey Muennig is no different. He renovated the Partington Point House, shown here, in 1995.  Living On The Edge: 5 Modern, Cliff-Side Homes by Aileen Kwun