Home of Choice
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Dr. Louis Hong remembers growing up in Seaside with his sister (now also a doctor) and how they played on the street in front of their house.
“It was safe because there wasn’t any traffic, only three houses there,” he says. “It was like playing in a big driveway.”
So it is today. The Hong house is on a cul-de-sac with only those houses recalled from boyhood. His parents, Sung and Myung Hong, had a retail business and worked long hours to create the life they wanted.
“We know this house brought us lots of luck,” Hong says. “My parents were able to buy a couple other properties, and my sister and I got very good educations. So we have a lot of pride in what we call ‘The Kimball House.’”
Even from the street, it’s clear there’s a lot of house there, although it’s not quite clear where it all is. That’s a good thing. There’s more off-street parking than some restaurants and there seem to be several options for entering. Options: so apt a term it could be the property’s name.
“The Kimball House” began life in the early 60’s as a one-bedroom cottage (with miniature and delightful French-door entry), set atop a lot with great bay views. The owner then built the rest of the plans, producing the L-shaped home seen now, with over 2,300 square feet containing four bedrooms and three and a half baths (one with Jack-and-Jill shower). With such good views available, a second story was built to get the full benefit and to be level with a cottage on the property’s highest ground. A long window in front and a wraparound terrace provide a view spanning the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey. The two dwellings were accessible to each other through a single door at one time, but the Hongs chose to close that off and use the cottage as a rental. Surprisingly, there’ve only been two owners in the house’s 40-plus-year history.
“Many times, friends of my parents stayed there, but we also rented it out. One time, a pilot from the NPS who was living there took me up in a Piper Cub and he even let me fly it for a little while,” Hong recalls, unchecked excitement bursting from the memory. “We also rented to an artist once.”
The house is turnkey from meticulous maintenance and having been upgraded specifically for the senior Hongs, who planned to live in it through the arrival of many grandchildren. They double-insulated it, put down new floors and carpets, installed a new furnace and created an exceptional kitchen. Although not large, it’s a work of artful concept—practical, ingenious and unusually beautiful.
“My parents debated back and forth throughout the renovations whether or not to keep the house in the family,” Hong says. “It was me who pretty much convinced them, even with grandchildren, they wouldn’t need so much space.”
He’s referring not only to the large living room with a big handsome wood-burning fireplace (with gas starter), the dining room with a separate office/studio that’s got a door between, plus one onto the side deck, but also two rooms at the (extra long) garage level with its own entrance too. Options, options.
“There’s so much to this house, and that view,” Hong says. “I remember watching the lights on the bay when the men fished at night.”
Price: $862,450 1624 Kimball St., Seaside • Contact Clancy D’Angelo, 375-2183 x.311 • Bratty and Bluhm Real Estate