Thursday, November 2, 2006
On three contiguous lots, in a park-like setting with the ancient shoulders of giant rocks shrugged above ground, a huge, flat, thick lawn spreading under sky-high trees deeply encircled by flowers and rimmed with river-rocks, the house at number 1 Wawona in Camp Stephanie is a certifiable ooo-la-la discovery.
It could be the ambassador for homes there, though it has not been remodeled since 1986 when the expansion concept was carried out ingeniously, thoughtfully and much ahead of its time. Until ‘86, it had just one room on pine-heart floors, a massive river-tumbled stone fireplace and something of a kitchen. The house retains its rustic heritage while beautifully evolving into the epitome of form-meets-function.
Venerable rock-slab stairs greet visitors, drawing them past landscapes to a sort of exterior foyer, a wooden deck measuring approximately 15-by-20 feet, where people tend to linger at the door both coming and going. Enter now into the original space, the great room, which emanates comfort and solidity via the heft of refined wood construction, and the fireplace on an outer wall.
Not only is the fireplace impressively scaled, so are the smooth stones that made it. The mantle is long, the chimney thick and wide, the fire pit deep. N’er a gust shall bring ‘er down.
The ceiling contains a nearly-room-sized, high inset architecturally balancing everything. Two custom windows, nifty as all get out, fit flush to each side of the fireplace. Equal in size (around 40 inches across), each is half an arch that stands within two feet of the ceiling, meeting the floor on the square. They seem to float the weight of the fireplace within grand light and lovely views, even as the chimney enters the roof and the stone icon remains unyielding, magnetic and powerful.
The kitchen, open to the great room, is uncluttered, designed with good looks and ease of operation. The cabinets are oak with subtle and effective use of corners, plus an appliance caddy set above one counter (all Corian). The handsome and quite rare four-burner Chambers stove has wrought iron trivets, each thick as a thumb, and cooks conveniently below the high breakfast bar while facing any company in the main room.
The second of two bedrooms is separated from the living room by wide French doors. Its window overlooks the sloping gardens of a wondrous setting, and as a study or studio, the room is hard to pass up.
Perhaps the créme-de-la-créme of the house is the master, with stunning space and light from the amalgam of a high pitched ceiling, extra wide French doors (opening to a garden seen only from that room) with big sidelights, skylights and geometrically shaped panes all designed as brilliant understudies, the light itself the star.
Such a cool bathroom is in the hall between the bedrooms. Here the iron/porcelain clawfoot is the centerpiece, with a greenhouse window above it. A deep skylight overhead directly illuminates the genuine prettiness of the layout and detailing.
Separate from the house is the garage and guesthouse.
Because it’s in probate, Eric Marsh, broker, is spokesman.
“The property consists of three lots with native rock out-cropping and mature trees, including one enormous walnut and a stunning buckeye, brilliant when in flower, stone walls and paths, rolling lawns like thick carpet and rock-lined beds with hundreds of shrubs and flowers that will share nothing but truth and beauty when in bloom.”