HOMEPAGE: Soul Searching
Thursday, August 4, 2005
Perhaps it’s a good time to ponder the Carmel housing market, to reflect a bit on opinions expressed about the remodeled and newly built homes there. Many people herald these temples of granite and iron as signature structures, seeing them as crowns that properly glorify an already gorgeous location—and far more befitting the area than the old houses being torn down to make way.
Even folks with smaller pockets often long for one of the new breed of home despite their poor chance of ever financing such a high ticket dream.
Yet there’s a less expressed—and more intense— category of thought. It includes some of Carmel’s own citizens, who groan from deep within with the sorrow they feel watching the ‘old neighborhood’ changing appearance. These people hold that sentiment irrespective of whether they can buy more houses themselves or can’t buy any. They say the ‘soul’ of Carmel fades further with each new site.
These folks can take heart. The soul hasn’t left yet. In fact, there’s a house on 7th Place in Carmel that offers powerful evidence to help shift the perception of what a fabulous Carmel house can be. It’s a house that belongs in the ‘houses with soul’ category.
It’s an older house with two bedrooms and two baths (not counting the downstairs one bed-one bath apartment) that, though never renovated, is deeply satisfying to be in, in superb condition, and positioned to enjoy great views to Mission Trail Canyon. There are windows everywhere, including the cavernous great room, where a stone fireplace stretches to the beams.
Yet, visitors to the house are overheard saying, “It’s a teardown, of course.”
The house demands to differ.
Many of the handsome house’s under acknowledged blessings hide behind its old-fashioned façade. The internal use of wood resembles that of newer houses and, given its 50-year-old age, reflects visionary thinking. Peaked, bleached-wood ceilings with heavy exposed beams have the effect of a whisper among friends—understated but quickly a point of interest. On the walls, the same wide and refined boards as the ceilings round out a sweet calm and enhance a feeling of genuine spaciousness. Hardwood floors with a honey tone give the entire interior a warm glow displayed best in the great room and separate dining room. From these rooms, the radiance runs through doorways and around curves like late summer light, even with a heavy fog sleeping on the doorstep.
The rooms are so well-designed that privacy and airiness are indigenous.
Gentle angles pleasantly remove the expected, boxy feel of less creatively designed places. The opening windows are the latched push-out type like those in artful black-and-white French films. Remarkably palpable moods of peacefulness, protection and personal freedom are to be found wherever one wanders inside.
It also has a separate garage and shed as well as a new granny apartment that’s so well integrated under the main house it’s essentially out of thought.
All told, it’s enough to spark the imagination, to lend one to envision Carmel with a population of houses of a certain age that are kept as beautifully as they were found. Houses that cultivate feelings of family and neighborhood, of tradition across generations. Houses with soul.
Price: $1,490,000. 3340 7th Pl., Carmel. Contact Carol Crandall, Carol Crandall Realty, 620-1355.