Thursday, April 9, 2009
Any property designated historical by the state must be of a certain age and have undergone precise attention that’s not a renovation or remodel, but a preservation as close to the original as possible. That’s exemplified in the three-story transitional Colonial Revival mansion built in 1911 on West Franklin Street in the heart of Monterey.
Since February 2004, Todd Porteous and his partner have owned and exquisitely preserved their house through extensive work. Porteous designed the project detail by detail. “We hired contractors right from our neighborhood and sometimes had three and four crews here at the same time,” he says. That was crucial. Scraping and sanding the exterior took eight straight weeks. It took five more to eventually paint it (pale moss/white trim). The original iron fence and entry gate now include electric gates to the original carriage house in back. Porteous’s design preserved that and created a garage and very luxurious apartment above it.
MOVING THROUGH THE HOME’S ROOMS FROM TREASURE TO TRADITION IS AKIN TO FOLLOWING HAUNTING DISTANT MUSIC.
When the couple bought the property, they found treasured interior features intact from 1911.
“We were so happy about the condition of the woodwork,” Porteous says. “Every room has the original Clear Heart Douglas fir floor.” The color shading and age-ring striations are absolutely gorgeous. He notices how similar the grain is to tiger markings. Between the living room and parlor, two sets of original delicately proportioned pilasters with ionic states are architectural history mimicked in miniature across the room around the fireplace and mantel. Porteous walks to one side of the walk-through between the two rooms saying, “These are just as iconic but hidden.” A soaring pocket door glides out below the 10 ½-foot ceiling (throughout), one of a pair tucked into each wall. Moving through the home’s rooms from treasure to tradition is akin to following haunting distant music.
The flow begins in the most elegant (everything Porteous does is tasteful) of foyers where the grand staircase at left curves to the second floor, a place containing the superb master and fully appointed bath with steam shower, a sitting room, two guest rooms, laundry room and full guest bath (original claw-foot).
A second staircase begins at the rear of the second floor and curves downward at right to the first floor. Porteous designed a home theater there with all electronic accoutrements, butler’s bar and half bath. The couple’s sophisticated knockout kitchen is adjacent: chapter and verse required. It’s a handsome room with ultra state-of-the-art appliances and good company from the formal dining room open to it. That leads to the living room and parlor and meets the foyer completing a circle on the first floor.
A third staircase arrives under the eaves to the very private second master and bath. Bay vistas from the windows and Widow’s Walk here are comparable to anything around. The fourth staircase in the mansion begins in a hallway on the first floor down to the original root cellar where Porteous designed a Class-A, 500-bottle wine cellar. In a home alive with daylight it prefers the dark.
The house is a fine art installation. Handsome rooms are glimpsed through wide doorways across shimmering floors and around staircases inviting friendly exploration of the grand, tailored home like none built since. Given the compelling pristine beauty inside and out it’s not surprising how long it takes to finally hear the silence here. The busy city of Monterey may wait at the doorstep yet the house forever keeps its peace.
Price $1,995,000.530 West Franklin St., Monterey. Contact Todd Porteous, Coldwell Banker Del Monte Real Estate, 277-2380.
From the author, who marks her final real estate column with this piece:
In five years I didn’t experience a single negative. To the Weekly and its readers let me say Thank You.
I wish you all a life that is gorgeous enough.