HOMEPAGE: Living in History
One of the treasures of California history is Post Adobe architecture.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Locally, it can easily be seen warmly exposed beneath the often beautiful geometrically-shaped pieces of missing plaster that once covered adobe bricks on missions, original city buildings and many old houses from Central to Southern California.
What was built before the ‘70s in the US is all we’ll get of Post Adobe architecture. After that time, permits to build these marvelous structures stopped being granted.
Anyone who has ever had the luck to live in a Post Adobe house has found the houses soulful, comforting, naturally artistic, unpretentious and valuable.
The Loranger home at 2 Marquard Rd. in Carmel Valley could be the ambassador for all California Post Adobes, and makes poignantly clear why there are fiercely devout Post Adobe enthusiasts. Typically, the house is so blended within the landscape of natural forms and colors that it’s easy to miss. Don’t.
Tucked behind oak trees born when bears were their neighbors, there seems to be a house there, but surely it’s a small affair. On the contrary, the Loranger house is a subtle mansion.
Designed with a series of roofs elevating one after the other, at the approach the house represents itself like a nest of tables when each has been extended from the larger one behind it. The home seems mostly long as it sits below the point of entry at street level, where one passes through wonderfully unique gates and steps into a park-like setting of oaks surrounding the large swimming pool. In fact, the house is broad and gracious and evenly balanced and filled with details built upon pure simplicity that happen to add sumptuousness. (No adobe ever asks for foofey adornments or ostentation.)
The entry doesn’t just have a foyer, it has a wide, long hallway that could serve as a room itself. To the left it leads to the main rooms of the house; to the right, it gives way to several of the five total bedrooms. Though the house is built on one level, there’s a wide step-down into the living room, dining room, kitchen, office and full bath (there are three full and two half baths total) from the hallway and at the other end, another step leading up to the master suite and another bedroom.
Three fireplaces in the house are superb for each location. For example, the one in the living room (a room large enough to make the baby grand seem incidental) is set into its own alcove. The fireplace in the dining room is set conventionally into the wall but with a beautifully dappled copper hood that goes all the way to the ceiling.
Huge windows abound, inviting one to try counting all 40 oaks, many dangling baskets of blooming colors.
Sarah Whitehead, a realtor who is not representing this particular house but who owns a Post Adobe in Mariposa, is so passionately devoted to the feeling the architecture of Post Adobe renders that she has the idea of chronicling all such homes in the Carmel Valley as a means of honoring what they are to the history of California.
“I wasn’t aware of the emotional connection people have to adobe houses,” she says, “until I happened to buy one for myself. That has completely converted me. Now I’m among those who really understand that these are historical properties even without the official designation.”
Price: $2,595,000. 2 Marquard Rd., Carmel Valley. Contact Jon Sutherland, The Mitchell Group Realty, 659-6814.