New Monterey cottage offers soaring windows and a fabulous backyard.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
It’s fairly small and feels much bigger; it’s a cottage but feels more sophisticated; it seems predictable from the street and is anything but– especially in the backyard, which is resplendent. A white picket fence fronts the sidewalk of the 5,800-square-foot lot. It’s the property of Tony and Bella Brancato. Tony has been a landscape contractor for about 30 years. He knows his stuff.
The house is in New Monterey, where streets can be busy. But on this street, there is little traffic. There’s genuine silence here, palpable and conspicuous. One can stand unchallenged in the street pondering the quiet, waiting for it to be broken by noise. It doesn’t happen; there is only calm.
Two good reasons account for that. There’s a park at either end of the block, the smaller one on a green knoll where kids play all over big, tumbled shapes in primary colors. The other is the huge Archer Park across the street from the house. It’s behind a long row of high, august cypress trees that have stewarded this neighborhood through more than a few decades. Archer has a big meadow, picnic tables and a basketball court a block away.
Inside the 900-square-foot cottage are two bedrooms, a rare two baths, a living room or living room/dining room, and a full kitchen with space for eating (or other uses) that opens to the main room. It’s the windows, though, that make this house. Constant daylight expands the dimensions of each room way beyond numerical measurement. The kitchen has three windows and the living room has three with sliders along the side of the wood deck overlooking lovely and drought-resistant gardens, roofs and distant trees framing peeks of the bay. Sliders in the master open onto the deck and two big windows reign in both bedrooms. Most windows here are 24 inches from the floor and soaring. Well, soaring cottage-style, anyway, and none the less-valued for it.
The layout works in a couple of subtle ways that make big differences. An actual entry hall allows the rest of the house privacy even as views through the sliders show from the front door. The kitchen’s private, too, and in larger houses probably would be remodeled to open up everything. Here it’s not isolated, it’s just segregated and likely great for any cook unconcerned about disturbing the display intent often seen in European-style interiors. In the back hallway, a stacked washer/dryer is hidden, too. With only two closets, however, the house weeps for storage space.
The long driveway slopes gently down from the street and curves behind the house, stopping at a nifty single garage along royal gardens simply designed. Owner-landscaper Tony Brancato says, “There are Japanese maples, a plum tree (a wonderful wide, thick umbrella over a sitting area) and I set lots of rows in different heights of flowering and grassy plantings around the gravel in the center.”
He’s referring to a large, blond-colored sort of kidney shape continuing clear to the plum tree. The property is fenced and protected from view by tall pittisporum with elegant black branches along one side and the back. The white picket fence and green lawn in front complement the property nicely. Tailored plants reach through the pickets and a big, grand holly bush, a variety free of needle leaves and packed with red berries, leans gently against it above the sidewalk.
Price: $759,000. 556 Spencer St., Monterey. Contact Terri Ringlee, The Jones Group, Coast & Country Real Estate, 655-5050.