Thursday, December 27, 2007
It’s located in one of the most coveted parts of California, in one of the most desirable areas of Monterey County, within an exclusive enclave of heavily forested land so secluded that tourists couldn’t find it with a map (nor can delivery people, guests or the sheriff sometimes), yet it’s just four miles from Carmel. Homes here have close-up views of the ocean and our national treasure, Point Lobos, but hardly any of each other. In the case of this 2,400-square-foot house on half an acre, the gorgeous sights are through a scrim of longstanding pines and oaks with Spanish moss growing from boughs like the lacy drapery of fairies. The property is enchanting and it’s foreclosed.
Given the horror of bad luck, bad planning and/or bad business practices, the “foreclosure conversation” heard around every corner lately makes it hard to imagine anything good coming from it all, but apparently that already has begun. Anyone wanting to buy top-drawer property for the price of a trendy crawlspace can start by paying $1,395,000, a figure that not so long ago could hardly have bought half an acre of empty land here, much less this particular half acre, house, stone walls, handsome landscaping and views.
There are things lurking, however. Although the house is a solid, comely Monterey Colonial originally built around 1940 with high-quality materials and pride in workmanship, taking it on may awaken dragons for some people. To others, it just may be a quirky house or challenging project or even a dream come true.
Some of the dreamiest things in it are six granite stone fireplaces, including in the living room, dining room, only bedroom and breakfast/tea room next to the kitchen. They’re burly fireplaces, each good looking with perhaps recollections of past holiday blazes in their bellies.
The living room (28 feet by 19 feet) is truly impressive, with windows to different views, original oak floor, dormers set within the high timbered ceiling and a massive granite rock wall at one end that’s noted for its beauty instead of its size because of the scale of the room itself. There’s also the beautifully simple wrought-iron chandelier with flowing lines like ribbons suspended at midpoint. Only later does one wonder if its dimensions are the same as air balloon baskets.
Interesting variations in scale and continuity of refined wood and rough stone throughout the house balance well. Juliet balconies, French doors and other delicate design elements make the whole quite appealing. There remains the issue of dragons, however.
One for sure is the cedar closet in the bedroom, not just because it’s tragically malformed with long, deep wedges for corners or that it’s impossibly small, but that it’s the only closet in the house.
Another dragon resides in the bathroom (nicely done in tumbled marble) where the shower is open to, and contiguous with, the bedroom oak floor on one side and the hallway on the other.
The kitchen/tea room has a genuine charm, tremendous storage space and needs updating. The space in the up-and-coming downstairs with fireplace and tumbled marble bath may be the real fire-breather, however. It’s actually disorienting and sort of a shock to discover.
This property as a whole is definitely an exceptional opportunity for someone who’ll just say shoo to dragons and do as they wish.