Thursday, January 11, 2007
John and Cheryl Dietrich’s house at 619 Hillcrest in PG was likely built in the ’30s. While remodeling has integrated the best of current conveniences, the place has maintained its noir integrity. Buying and selling may be a hobby-business for the couple, but if this house is any example of their work, the Peninsula profits richly.
One first impression of this not-so-standard stucco Mediterranean is how established it feels and how lush the matured, maintained landscaping is. The property rises notably from the street, giving the house, with many archways and windows, a center-stage setting, with Cypress trees twice its height standing in the wings. Seen under a full moon, the house is cinematically dramatic. Seen in sunlight, it’s indisputably inviting.
“I really was partly drawn to this house,” Cheryl Dietrich says, “because a remodel, done sometime before the last owner, I think, was as we’d have chosen to do it.” She’s referring to the quality of the workmanship and the adherence to the era that’s evident throughout.
“We know at some point that the master suite expanded the original footprint,” she says. The large room’s fireplace, which is a smaller version of the one in the living room, is important. The French doors are equally so and open onto a two-tiered terrace that’s obscured to all by the L-shape of the house in the back, the freestanding garage—20 feet across the terracotta tiles from the bedroom—and the rear wall of rich growth and trees. A fountain quietly accompanies the mood as a delicate piano does in a restaurant. The tiers have blooming plants, the terrace still roomy despite tables, chairs and loungers.
The house was initially a one-bedroom, one bath, with a huge living room clearly intended for entertaining (as is the adjacent dining room). One hardly anticipates the scale since the home doesn’t give away its prize interior from outside. The layout keeps the master ultra private, reached down a long hallway away from everything (attended by a series of doors that disguise a washer and dryer, a grand double closet, the guest and master baths and a once walk-in closet with tiny lift-up window that’s currently an office). The Dietrichs completely redid both baths. “I wanted them right for the house instead of hi-design,” says Dietrich. The guest bath certainly qualifies, with its black-and-white interior and three-sided bathtub-shower (needs no curtain), with an archway entry echoing the countless ones throughout. It’s so appealing that it’s hard not to step right in.
Dietrich also wanted the kitchen, (with glass door to the terrace that can also be seen from the master), to keep the style of the time. The kitchen is large, done in white with stainless appliances that include a six-burner Thermador, Jenn-aire refrigerator/freezer and Villeroy-and-Boch farm sink (that needs no scrubbing).
Everywhere, ample storage provides for any imaginable requirement and big windows (seen in every room) continue the pleasure of brightness and pretty views. In contrast, homes of the era are often dark, implying smoke-husky voices of those rising at the crack of noon, nurturing prodigious hangovers.
The front entry is above a garden-terrace surrounded by plantings with a whispering fountain, up tiled stairs through welcoming archways.
“I wanted this house,” Dietrich says wistfully, “because it’s like one that’s been in our family for generations in the Oakland Hills.”
Price: $1,299,000 619 Hillcrest Ave., Pacific Grove. Contact Carol Crandall, Crandall Preferred Properties, Inc., 236-2712.