Time’s Graceful March
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Many of Pacific Grove’s hallmark homes are Victorians carrying the name of the original owner and the year the house was built. However, few are ensconced within the sort of time capsule this one is. It’s set on a one-way lane—still so narrow it’s easy to imagine only pedestrians, horses and bicycles using it—that crowns in the center as if worn down at the sides from regular horse-and-buggy traffic and meets Lover’s Point half a block away. The quintessential feeling of Pacific Grove over a 100 years ago, in 1897, remains within this house (then owned by J.B. Wing).
Views from the front porch and from the window in the master upstairs are the ones tourists take home on post cards. In Lover’s Point Park, groups of small children dressed against the February rain are like bright dots moving vibrantly across the high-tone grass as seagulls soar then screech and dive into the teal-gray bay. Ramrod straight palms and vintage cypress trees with the unmistakable posture of sentries against all winds mark the near horizon in fringed profiles.
David and Celeste Pilkington of Merced now own J.B. Wing’s long-ago dwelling as their second home. “We just don’t get down to enjoy it like we used to,” David says from the car phone on their way to Los Angeles. “We came about three times a month originally, but now the kids are older and into non-stop sports.”
Painted a soft yellow with white trim and dark green shutters, the house warms the block and brightens the more somber Victorians along the street. From the outside, though solid and obviously well-tended through time, the house seems incapable of holding as many rooms of respectable size as it does. Three bedrooms on the second floor are all 11 by 14 with remarkably numerous built-in cupboards; closets, drawers and shelving behind unobtrusively flat doors of varying sizes and shapes. In the kitchen, every available location holds similarly well-arranged built-ins. Some are pantries, some cup holders, some for pots and pans, some for linens, and others so small they’re best left for post-its. Precious few homes on the Peninsula, originals or remodels, can match the ease of storage found at 112 16th Street.
New stainless appliances on a new laminate cream-and-wine-red kitchen floor, the big window onto the back garden, a line of large glass bricks with a tea-cup shelf at eye-level above the stove, and the separate entrance from the back garden blend all three centuries the house has seen. A fourth bedroom and second full bath plus a windowed laundry room access the same back entry as the kitchen.
Time has been preserved and time has been diminished by each owner’s good care of the property. Instead of having been vastly remodeled under one person’s vision, the house maintained its integrity through upgrades spaced over the decades. From the roof to the wiring, from the plumbing to the gas forced-air furnace and the gas fireplace in the living room that replaced the less efficient wood burning one, the house is a Pacific Grove treasure.
David says, “We love the character of the house. All the original wainscoting, those heavy doors that swing in and out of the kitchen, all the huge windows in every room, the winding staircase—love it. We’re coming down next weekend to enjoy it one more time.”Price $1,075,000. 112 16th Street, Pacific Grove. Contact Peggy Jones, The Jones Group Coast and Country Real Estate, 917-4534.