House in the Clouds.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Photo: Sky House: Michael and Renee Johnson''s Monterey home has rare unblocked views of the bay.
There are some homes that just beg for a party. Michael and Renee Johnson''s 1750-square-foot Monterey home, affectionately known as "Sky House," has all the right elements for fun. There''s the gourmet kitchen that flows into the dining and living areas. Without walls separating the rooms, guests can mingle with hosts as meals are being prepared.
"We can all be in one space, with someone lying in front of the fireplace while another one of us is cooking," Renee says.
Across the entire length of the space, windows and sliding glass doors open onto a 500-plus-square-foot upper deck that faces treetops and an almost impossibly wide expanse of water.
It''s hard not to just plop down on one of comfy chairs and stare at the view. The main living space of the house is on the second floor, and combined with the height of the hill that it''s built into, the view sweeps over everything in front of it.
"The view is what this house is all about," Renee says. "You look out the kitchen window and see the sunset over Santa Cruz, and look out the living room and see all the way to Mt. Toro. You can see the fireworks from the Feast of Lanterns in PG and the 4th of July fireworks in Monterey."
Located at the intersection of Irving and Terry Streets, the home is at one of the highest points in New Monterey, on a street filled with Cypress trees.
"There are no telephone or power lines in front of us," Renee points out. "It''s probably just a block or two in Monterey that has an unobstructed view like this."
"This block is a real sleeper," says Michael, who grew up around the corner. "When I was about eight, I came over to this house while it was being framed and played in it. I never knew I''d end up living here."
The Johnsons first tried to purchase the home when went it went on the market years ago, and lost out to another buyer. When the owner passed away in 1996, they moved in quickly and purchased it. They changed the dated elements, put in a brand-new kitchen with custom cabinetry and restaurant-quality appliances, added color to the walls, and replumbed the house.
"The bathroom was totally ''50s," Renee says. "We raised the ceiling, put in a Kohler cast iron jetted tub, a Porcher pedestal sink, and added a travertine floor."
A giant "rain shower" style showerhead hangs over the deep bathtub, providing a therapeutic spray.
"After a weekend with my girlfriends at Ventana, I came back and I told Michael I wanted one of those rainbucket showers," Renee explains.
Two well-sized bedrooms sit on either side of the bathroom, with windows that look out at the trees above the house. To get to the downstairs, either an interior or exterior staircase from the deck offers access.
The Johnsons added a series of decks descending down the hillside to the garden level, with spots to sit and retreat. An enormous spa sits in the corner of the lowest level deck.
Downstairs, a two-car garage is next to another bedroom with a bathroom, providing the option of a private guest space that leads onto the lower deck. The Johnsons are hoping that their new home, on the Big Island of Hawaii, will offer the same indoor-outdoor qualities.
"The way the house is designed, it lends itself to family gatherings and being outside," Renee says. "With the deck and the view, you feel like you are outdoors all day long."
Price: $999,000. 1591 Irving Ave., Monterey. Contact Walter Eurich of The Mitchell Group at 620-3703.