HomePage: Artist’s Valley Getaway
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Fredrick Gregory is a sculptor of renown in California, Brazil and Japan. For over 35 years, he has honored his recognition of the poetry of granite and the profundity of wind and water by creating sculptural eloquence. He also works in stainless steel as he envisions the amalgamation of Japanese abstract landscapes, Brazilian passion and the vast mood surges of the Big Sur coast. Gregory demonstrates a minimalist grace with potent impact. Public installations of his large-scale work can be seen throughout California, the closest being the Fredrick L. Gregory Sculpted Garden in Carmel Valley, but others are in Hanford, in the Sierra Nevadas, and the Santa Ana Botanical Gardens in Claremont. The textural juxtaposition of rough and polished surfaces is a major aspect in his work.
Appropriate, then, that Gregory lives in a house in the area of Carmel Valley known as Camp Steffani on the Carmel Valley River just past the Village. The “camp” is one of the few legitimate artists’ colonies remaining in the county, and Gregory’s home exemplifies the rugged and smoothed elements of its surroundings.
Although a bit of remodeling has been done on some houses in the neighborhood, the homes are by-and-large close to their comfy-funky origins. Many residents have lived there most of their lives, or had families who owned the first summer cabins after land was subdivided. These are people who avidly defend their hideaways, and perhaps most so because the place has not changed; it remains a good place to live simply. Camp Steffani is devoid of pretense.
Gregory’s house began as a one-room cabin in 1909; the space serves as the living room today. The place is replete with what is known as “soul.”
Upon entering, one immediately can feel the energies of artists and poets of decades past. The house has open-beamed ceilings and walls upheld by tie-rods high in the interior pitch. Two bedrooms, a full bath and kitchen were added more than 50 years ago, and the house has not been spiffed up much since.
Working artists today would acknowledge it as a 700-square-foot dream-come-true. For everyone else, a complete rebuild on the orginal footprint will be the point. (“Footprint” is a pivotal concept, since Monterey County Ordinance Title 21 regarding the Carmel Valley Flood Plain states no rebuilding can expand past that of an existing structure.) A second floor, however, would be legal, and would have views looking over alder and evergreen trees to the Carmel River justyards away.
The nearness of the Camp Steffani homes to the water will remain unique, since the Title 21 ordinance also states no structures can be built within 200 feet of the riparian corridor. In the early 1900s, many homes were built much closer to the river. Those cabins remain the core of many houses in Camp Steffani. The river bounces past them while wintering ducks of stunning black and white feathering tread water in the reeds along the shore.
Price: $495,000. Camp Steffani Road, Carmel Valley. Contact Eric Marsh, of HomeOffice Real Estate at 655-4708.