Spacious Living in Steinbeck Country
Thursday, December 2, 2004
Fermin and Angeles Fuentes live in the kind of paradise defined by 23 private acres of sunny hills and canyons that rise to meet a scalloped blue horizon. Their Salinas-area home sits secluded on dappled meadows under sycamore, oak and buckeye trees. The elegant, modern home of dark wood blends in so well with the landscape that it hardly seems to be there at all.
Along a deck fronting the length of the house and next to a meditation garden, a lone peahen steps softly from shade to sun, her iridescent throat morphing into royal blue, purple and green as she moves.
“This is her home,” Angeles says. “She’s so lucky. She came with the house and she gets to stay.”
Before moving to the area, the family had lived in Seaside for several years, but Angeles preferred country living.
“When Fermin brought me out here, I just fell in love,” she says. “Even though I work at Cabrillo College, I loved the place so much I thought we really could do our commutes, raise the children and enjoy home, too.”
But the time spent on the road each day has proven to be difficult, and the family has decided to relocate to Monterey.
“At least it’s in a woodsy setting,” Angeles says.
The house the Fuentes hate to leave has bleached oak floors, a brick-colored tile foyer, vaulted wood ceilings throughout, fireplaces in the dining room, living room and master, and outside, all the treasures of a state park.
“There are trails all through our hills,” says Fermin. “We can hike up that big one in about two hours. Even though it feels like no one else is around, there’s another house right behind those trees.” Two other homes share their long, winding driveway, allaying any concern of isolation.
In an all-terrain vehicle with their three-year-old son on his lap shrieking with joy, Fermin does full speed, huge figure eights all around the front meadow. Windows from the dining room, living room and master suite look out over the area. On the other side of the house, two other bedrooms, the kitchen and dining room viewa different park-like setting and the separate double garage.
From there, generous decking leads to the front door which is painted a plush French blue. A tiny stained glass inset catches the eye. Inside the house, a very large stained glass panel depicting a heron in marsh grasses rises into the heights ofthe ceiling.
Currently, every inch of the house is consumed by the energy of three children under five and a beautiful teen-age daughter.
“You see we don’t have time to do all we want here,” Angeles says. Fermin, who owns his own landscaping business, nods in accord.
“At least before bed sometimes we enjoy the moonlight on the property,” he says. “We take family walks on a path that’s light as day then. The other night, our two little boys were already going up it on their own.”
Taking their calm baby girl from the playpen for her bottle, Angeles says, “She is the only one too young to remember living here, but we have lots of pictures to show her someday.”