Thursday, September 20, 2007
Nora Valleau was born on the Peninsula and lived her whole life here. Tracy Valleau, her husband, was raised in San Diego and after his military service, which included a stint at Fort Ord, he headed south to take up life where he’d left off. He’s happy to describe what stopped him. “I was driving when a view of San Diego showed up and I couldn’t believe the smog all brown and hanging over the city. I did a U-turn and didn’t stop until I was back in Monterey,” he says. Then Tracy and Nora met and married, and fourteen years ago, bought the 1,100-sq. ft. house sitting on two lots that measure 50 feet by 100 feet and was built 24 years ago.
The Valleaus now live in Marina; they like everything about it and decided to sell their Monterey house after having rented it for a while. Valleau says, “We put it on the market two years ago but we’re not discouraged. Everyone likes it and the time will come.” Aside from being a regular-guy philosopher with a great chuckle, Valleau is a fine art photographer and produces multi-media CD-ROMs for headliner national companies. All of which brings him to mention the 10 feet by 12 feet solid wood building with peaked roof in the backyard where he had his multi-media equipment studio. “It’s called a Tuff Shed and I’d thought about turning it into another guest room,” says Valleau. “But Nora had begun acrylic painting and had set up in the kitchen to do it. The Shed didn’t need to be a guest room,” he smiles. It does have a big freezer in it, however.
Their backyard is prime for sun bathing (located in the Monterey sun belt) or moon bathing since an oversized hot tub waits upon raised planks not far from the kitchen doorway. Personal privacy is assured by wood fencing taller than 8’ topped by decades of climbing jasmine so confident many surging vines seem to be standing on the shoulders of even hardier ones below. The effect is amazingly beautiful but the scent is pure seduction. Stepping outside the back gate, one realizes that ‘off-street parking’ is a wan term for the 100 feet driveway ending with the Valleau’s carport that’s out of sight. Beyond the next property and behind a fence is one edge of Cypress State Park. It goes unnoticed, the perimeter hidden behind a scrim of evergreen skirts, the muffled “thwok” of tennis balls the only giveaway.
The back door of the house opens to a hallway (a future staircase to a second floor perhaps) and immediately to the good-sized kitchen. From there, the great room runs to the front of the house where a freestanding gas log stove ignites with the flip of a switch. Warmth is assured by the use of dual pane windows which were chosen for this house before they became the trend. Big windows flank the gas log stove, then march along the wall back to the kitchen. The spaces now used as living room and dining room are flexible enough to be altered simply by the arrangement of furniture within the open space between kitchen and front door. The master bedroom and bath are to one side of the front room. A half bath could be added later for the second bedroom.
Leaving by the front door, one discovers the cream exterior with teal trim, mature landscaping and a welcoming, wide iron entry gate. Even from the curb, the house is a pleasure.
Price: $660,000. 641 Lily St., Monterey • Contact JoAnna Tupman, Sotheby’s International Realty • 624-5287.