Thursday, December 26, 2002
Above It All in the Carmel Highlands
On a road that winds gracefully behind the Highlands Inn, the pine forest thickens and the only sound to be heard is the wind and the sea. At one of the highest points off Mt. Devon Road, a pristine two-level 4,500-square-foot home is built into the hillside.
Parking in the two-car detached garage offers a dilemma: whether to enter through the second level, pausing to stop on the flagstone terrace to gaze at the whitewater and ocean rocks below, or to walk down the gracefully curved stone stairs and enter through the grand formal entrance.
Choosing the latter, I grasp an iron railing designed of a twisting leaf pattern, and enter downstairs, into a two-story turret. Inlaid in the tumbled marble floor is a true north star made of rocks from the Highlands'' private beach. The windows follow the curves of the turret, and an impressive iron chandelier hangs above.
"The first owner, a model who was on over 100 magazine covers, designed and built the house," says Realtor Raquel Nejako. "She was influenced in the design by her time spent modeling in Europe, and brought back items--like tiles from Italy--in her backpack, to use in the house."
The elegance and scale of the home are proportionate to someone genetically blessed--even the countertops are extra-tall. This has proven helpful for the current owners.
"The son of the owners [Pamela and Donald Ainge] is Danny Ainge, who used to play on the Celtics," explains Nejako. "The whole family is at least six-feet."
Downstairs, a large master bedroom with a decadent bathroom--including an enormous shower--sits next to a media room or den. There''s a downstairs family room, two more bedrooms and an entire guest suite with its own kitchen.
An additional guest bedroom is upstairs next to the living room. The wood flooring, warm-hued Brazilian Cherry merges with spotless Berber carpeting and tile.
Unique features--from the pounded-granite countertop in the powder room and the Japanese soaking tub in the master bath to the handmade tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms--add interest to the grand home.
Outside, nearly an acre of landscaped fenced grounds give way to a forest, for a total of three and a half acres of property. Irises and Rosemary pop up around the house, which has windows in all directions capturing the mountainside and water views. "You can literally watch the whales and the dolphins from the upstairs deck while you listen to the ocean," Nejako says.
Price: $1,995,000. 75 Mt. Devon, Carmel Highlands. Contact: Raquel Nejako of Coldwell Banker Del Monte Realty at 622-2581.
Mark Tamagni just can''t say enough about living in Bay Ridge and the 2.62 acre ocean-view lot he''s selling that sits 1,100 feet above sea level.
"It''s this hidden, little-known gated community at the very top of the ridge," he says. "The lots are large with lots of privacy and spectacular views. From some spots, you can see from Lover''s Point to Santa Cruz and even the lights of Salinas, all from one window."
Located on 300 acres, and accessed from either Highway 68 or Los Laureles Grade, the subdivision is designed to incorporate open space, with a large community park and grassy pastures for wildlife habitat.
Tamagni, a Realtor and also a Bay Ridge owner, loves the weather, which he says is "at least 10 degrees warmer than Monterey." But he''s most impressed by the camaraderie of the owners.
"My favorite thing about living here is the community spirit," he says. "I know about 80 percent of the people who live here, and I can''t even see their homes when I look out my window."
Price: $719,000. Homeowner''s Association Dues: $120/month. 26084 Paseo Del Sur-Lot 55, Bay Ridge. Contact: Mark Tamagni of International Estates, Inc. at 596-1019.