Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here’s a recipe with ingredients hardly ever listed together, which produce a prize-taker—and can’t be replicated anyway. It’s like this. First, swirl the mermaid. While she’s suspended, curl in one very long dragon, complete with tail. Throw in triple sevens, three spirals, one burl, one Victorian, one Euro-enclave and a two-level view of the bay. Let settle. Carefully blend in rumors about Jimmy Hendrix, add one copper barrel roof, two balconies, one wrap-around terrace, and inscribed proof that “Honallie” exists. Let stand.
Just before presentation, sprinkle with privileged invitations to the eclectic residents on the lane, from the upscale homeowners to studio-only tenants, for the closed-road block party where the badminton net, tons of food and great music create an awesome all-nighter every year.
Welcome to 777 Mermaid Ave., called “Honallie,” with a dragon on the roof whose head stretches out over the front, a dragon-spines-peak along the roof ridge, and a tail that curls over the back. Turn left at the yellow sign warning of crossing mermaids, pass the front garden, ignore the iron 1890s lady’s hand-knocker and enter a house that couldn’t be more fun if it had Disney DNA. It’s no cartoon. It’s quite for-real.
The entire first floor is a dramatic yet simple foyer fronted by a minimalist design of floor-to-ceiling windows (of a size and configuration found throughout the house) and a spiral staircase leading to the second level. The foyer is the first introduction to a sense of calm well-being intrinsic throughout.
When following the spiral upward, the windows below come along too and rise past the first landing. One immediately sights the far wall with its own floor to ceiling sets that show the bay is only one narrow street away. A computer cubby is tucked in by the landing and then the full array of possibilities on the second floor is revealed. It begins with a handsome kitchen of maple cabinets, a garden window over the sink and granite counters. The bath actually has a full tub as well as a marvelous slab of redwood burl for the counter around the sink and the floor space is pretty miraculous.
The location of the dining table is for one’s choosing within the large, white Karastan-carpeted main room, replete with a powerful gas log stove. At the sides, two glass doors to the Juliet balconies brace the wall of windows. The front of the house fills with clear north light plus windows and glass doors facing east, south and west variously contribute much to the feeling of welcome there. So does the quiet. Although Ocean View Avenue, with its show-place houses facing the water, and the Mermaid Lane homes that back up to them are the only barrier against that traveled road, the sound of summer traffic doesn’t disturb “Honallie.”
Spiral up the third staircase and discover that best was saved for last in a very cool room. Here, the grand windows are on both sides and the front wall is the osstature for a big round stained glass window. Up a ship’s ladder under the barrel is a loft large enough to be the bedroom—if one chooses not to use the whole third floor for the master.
Talking about this house is good and pictures are worth their cliché, but “Honallie” necessitates a personal visit to revel in its combination of feeling elegantly protected while experiencing the living fun its ingredients have created.
Price: $875,000. 777 Mermaid Ave., Pacific Grove Contact Christine Monteith, The Jones Group Coast & Country Real Estate, 236-7780.