Thursday, August 28, 2003
Brokers walking into Mike Dawson''s restored 1930''s Spanish colonial mutter approvingly as they take in the details. It''s hard to stay focused on each element, as the handsome features of each room beckon the eye. For starters, there''s the unusual shape of the curving stucco-sided home. Steps lead up to a curved portico, flanked with small glassless windows patterned with iron. The front door, decorated with a matching cutout, is set back from the street.
In the comfortably-sized living room, a large, curved stained glass window decorated with blue, green and purple flowers allows for light without sacrificing privacy. Dawson, who rented the home for a year in the late eighties before purchasing it, removed ugly green drapes and heavy blinds and replaced them with the stained glass.
"It was very dark, a cave," he recalls. "I thought it was time to open it up. The sidewalk is fairly close to the front windows and when I was trying to figure out some way to block that out and allow light in, I thought of the stained glass, so I put it across the whole front."
It works. Dawson also put stained glass in the windows of the connecting dining room and front bedroom.
Underneath green wall-to-wall carpeting, Dawson discovered very dark shellac over oak floors, which he stripped and brought to is current warm brown tones. He also refinished all the wood trim in the house, including the mantel over the fireplace and the picture hanging crown moldings along the high ceilings.
"It''s all original, old-growth Douglas Fir," Dawson says. "It''s beautiful stuff--the whole house is built with really nice lumber."
Dawson also took out an old coal stove in the kitchen, which used to heat the house, and put in new appliances, cabinetry that he built himself, a large skylight, and a big bay window over the kitchen sink with almost unobstructed views of the mountains.
"Once or twice a year, you can see the snow on Mt. Toro," he says.
One of the most practical features of the house is a built-in breakfast nook in the kitchen, faced with the same granite as the kitchen countertops. Ample pantry space and a laundry area behind the kitchen leads through a curved archway to the stairs down to the back garden, filled with roses and fruit trees.
Decorated with original Stickley furniture, the two-bedroom, two-bath house has an Arts and Crafts feel, with antique light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. It also happens to be in one of the most charming and convenient neighborhoods in Monterey.
"You can walk anywhere," Dawson says. "Another really neat thing is that the whole block is kid-friendly. It''s very popular on Halloween. Every year we get more kids."
But for Dawson, one of the most pleasant features of the house is sitting in that cozy kitchen nook in the morning while the sun streams in.
"It''s the warmest, sunniest place in Monterey," he says. "You can see the clouds forming in Skyline Forest and it''s beautiful over here."
Price: $695,000. 487 Monroe St., Monterey. Contact Vera Ambrosio of Coldwell Banker Del Monte Realty at 626-2224.