A Little Big House
Thursday, April 6, 2006
The sign on the façade says “The Hobbit House” but owners Jerry and Sandy Wetle call it the villa. Hmmm. An exploration guided by the pretty and diminutive fire-sparkle Sandy proves those polarized titles accurate. What from the street is a Hobbit’s house, from the air would reveal far more.
Starting at the curb, one notices the privileged location where Oak and McClellan Streets culminate at Oak Newton Park. Dappled sun, misted filigree trees, silver rain slanting like pencil strokes across a page assure as much quietude outside the house as within.
The structure itself invokes a myriad of visions. The Hobbit House is a mature property built in 1941 that Sandy bought 30 years ago. Jerry is a contractor who, after 14 consecutive years of excellent design and hard work, has carried the home into its third incarnation, the second having come from Jack Stevens.
The ‘40s style became a craftsman’s celebration of organic form. But it’s Jerry’s accomplishments that make this house (almost 1,600 square feet, with three bedrooms plus one and a half baths) a star point on the city map.
Starting at the top, Jerry and Sandy added a second floor (accessed by a wood-sculpted spiral staircase of grace and substance) containing a powerfully benevolent room they call the loft. With full view of the bay, it measures nearly 20 feet by 12 feet with a slanted, open-beam ceiling pitched to over 15 feet where it meets the tallest wall. Set within that is an ingeniously conceived window, a circle six feet in diameter hinged with spindles at the top and bottom to rotate open or closed. A separate article might do this loft justice—and that’s the case for many elements of the property.
All rooms on the main floor are in full harmony, beginning with the living room divided by a full archway of curving wood, and featuring a deeply recessed table-sized skylight, a wood-burner, and a nice flow into the kitchen and dining room. A venerable leaded and jeweled glass window borrowed from the original front door is set into a wall between kitchen and living room, there lighted from both sides.
Jerry put the dining room adjacent to the kitchen (both with oriels bringing great views inside: windows, wonderful windows). What was once a strip-kitchen is now a family affair with counter and stools, built-ins, wonderful conveniences and flow space.
The master bedroom is like a cottage unto itself with French doors, walk-in closet and full bath. The second bedroom is the Wetle’s shared office with two deep oak roll-tops on opposing walls and no space issues.
One asks, “Where’s the villa?” It’s in the home’s fully surrounding wide, lush gardens, big walled patio accessed from the kitchen and the master, a second, truly sprawling deck unseen below the patio with stairs and a wrap-around landing going to it. That lower deck leads into Jerry’s pride and joy, the double, nearly two-story garage/workman’s paradise he built (with massive storage above).
In summary, the appearance of a hobbit’s home contains a charmed house of gorgeous crafted wood detailing, an Australian fern garden, two wonderful sunny decks on two levels, four integrated storage sheds and a splendid building for cars and projects, all beside an expansive natural park. This hobbit has a villa.
The Wetle’s departure for a different house is only made comprehensible by twin grandsons, perhaps being born this very minute. Many blessings.
Price: $1,175,000. 981 McClellan Ave., Monterey • Contact Sharon Pagni of Century 21 Scenic Bay Properties at 402-2528