Thursday, June 7, 2007
The last block of Judson Street’s north end concludes at a grass-green, car-prohibited park punctuating a neighborly block where people of all ages walk a lot. Susan Bein (pronounced “bean”) lives at number 1754, a three-bedroom, single-bath house just up from the green reserve. Judson is a one-way street so cars are rare.
“I bought it nine years ago and really like being here,” Bein says. “I’ve walked Bosco [an energetic prior citizen of the SPCA] at two in the morning with no concern. My house gets all-day sun moving from back to front, until the living room is filled with that evening glow.”
Out back there is open space—lily ponds with fish and guaranteed privacy via thick, ancient and deliciously productive grape vines over the fence.
Bein teaches design at Carmel High School, studied and does interior design, and is a skilled photographer (among many accomplishments)—all of this seemingly implicit in the carefully observed minimalist statements that make her house important inside and out. Even the city seems to comply with her concepts by leaving the skyline devoid of utility poles and tangles of black wire, a design triumph.
A venerable cypress hovers 30 handsome feet above Bein’s closely aligned grape-stake fence, the wide front gate diminutive next to it because thick, burgundy-leafed acacia grow six feet over the fence on either side. The house is set at the top of a wide ‘T’; the short section (five car lengths) is the whole width of Bein’s consequently showcased property. The house itself is barely discernable and truly wonderful when discovered. Painted in grayed sienna, the broad trim a lively taupe and the paned front door a beautiful crisp black, it is a hidden jewel bright with satin paint. Poetic simplicity defines the front yard with one enormous, smooth boulder and large areas of delicate ground cover contrasted by well-placed cymbidium and hosta.
Inside is a treat. The floors are done with matte-black and off-white linoleum tiles aligned in room-length lanes of color, a striping that’s simple, sophisticated and fun. Every room in the 900-square-foot house has ample windows, all dual-pane.
The living room/dining room has nearly a wall of paned windows viewing the front garden and another set to the right. To the left, the eat-in kitchen is reached via a throughway half-a-wall wide. Bein designed the kitchen in white and stainless with a gas Wolf four-burner, each topped by industrial grates the weight of railroad clamps. She’s a true baker; the industrial-quality oven is rarely cool.
A tandem, stainless Sub Zero fridge/freezer sits on wheels in the breakfast nook under the window to the front garden. The single car garage, a step down from the kitchen, is entirely peg-boarded and right for whatever the space needs to be. The front opens automatically, another door opening directly to the beautiful side garden custom privacy wall.
The Bein-designed off-white bath, however, may be the pièce de résistance. It’s stunning, ergonomic and notably spacious. She installed a cantilevered Durcevit commode and sink primarily for the clean lines. The stainless plate press-flush is flat on the wall at chest height.
The tub, oh the tub, an irresistible two-person, extra-deep bathtub shaped in concert with the suspended sink and commode sits under a high, recessed, custom window facing north that’s the source of cool, radiant light.
Cool? Wicked cool.
Price: $620,000. 1754 Judson, Seaside • Contact Susan Bein, 394-9104.