Seastone combines unique artistic features and a rare setting.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Photo: Rock and Art-one-half block from Carmel Beach, Seastone occupies one of a relatively few big lots in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
''Do you want me to tell you about the ghost?" asks Chris Sedan, who with wife Cindy is current owner of Seastone. "It''s extremely friendly," he says. "It doesn''t drag chains or anything."
Besides occasionally opening kitchen cabinets, the only mischief wreaked by the anonymous resident is a penchant for opening a heavy, triple-locked door between the living room and the back patio.
It''s hard to blame the bit of ectoplasm for venturing outside. The four-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath house, built around a courtyard, features a generous backyard with the sights and sounds of Carmel Beach only a half-block away.
The house itself is a piece of art. Imprinted in the walls by a previous resident, the European artist Gatja Rothe, are otherworldly creations.
Etched on a copper plate nestled in between stones in the courtyard, faces peer through layers of leaves and roses. In the living room, a portrait of a woman rests in a background of actual gold. Ceilings are painted with roses, stones and crystals are wedged in between 16th century tiles, and art pops out from niches everywhere.
Rothe, master of a complex technique called mezzotint, spent 24 years living and creating on the walls of the home, and added an enormous two-level artist''s studio.
There''s a bit of humor to be found throughout the property. In the courtyard: a statue of a woman clutching her breasts, which spout water when the fountain is turned on. In the bathrooms: Roman soaking tubs and showers that spray out from sea creatures.
Details in every room provide character and function. A heavy stone bench supports an outdoor fireplace and provides a hub for festive dinners. Off the upstairs bedroom, multiple staircases twist and turn, culminating in a writer''s nook leading to a patio that provides views from Pebble Beach to Point Lobos.
The house acquired uniqueness from its inception in 1922, when it was built for actress Marie Passailaique. Passailaique, who performed at the Golden Bough and the Forest Theatre in Carmel, was inspired by the home of the painter El Greco in Spain, and brought back ancient tiles from Alhambra to place in Seastone.
"We are always looking at things we didn''t see before," Chris says.
The Sedans have remained faithful to the home''s eclectic vision. The parts of the house they have remodeled-including a brand-new basement with two additional bedrooms-incorporate the existing style, complete with faux cracks in the walls and new murals from local artist Kip Iliff.
The wiring, heat, plumbing and top-of-the-line appliances are all new. Brazilian mahogany and stone floors are piped with radiant heating for a warm walking surface.
Chris''s favorite room, a remodeled 1,500-bottle wine cellar, holds bottles inside old roof tiles and drainage pipes. An old wine barrel holds a bar sink, and empty double magnums provide light fixtures. Real corks pop out of painted winebottles in murals on the wall.
The most important part of the house is its kinship with the sea.
Old shutters on the doors allow the sounds of the ocean and salty breeze to enter the bedrooms at night.
"When the surf is big, you can feel the vibration ripple under the house," says Chris. "When I first moved in, I couldn''t sleep from the sounds. Now I can''t sleep without it."
Price: $7,900,000. Contact Vicki Mitchell of Mitchell Group Real Estate at 620-6314.