Rustic Big Sur home offers wilderness and ocean views.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The name “Big Sur” tends to describe a gorgeous land in Los Padres National Forest down the coast from Carmel, but few can say where it begins or ends. From appearance and the senses, its beneficent presence begins at the south end of Mal Paso Bridge where the unbounded Pacific Ocean is fully in view and seen slapping a familiar high-five with the rim of the continent. Mountains rise immediately on the east side. Big Sur may be more a feeling than a location.
For many people, living far down the coast would be too demanding since the closest town is about 30 miles north, a 60-mile round trip. There’s a way to have both convenience and the Big Sur feeling, where the topography and views it’s known for are found just past famous Rocky Point Restaurant, about seven miles south of the Crossroads where lots of good living is done along Palo Colorado Road in the Santa Lucia Mountains. One particularly intriguing property is four miles from Highway 1 at Long Ridge. The house sits on 10 acres with redwoods down by Turner Creek (fed by the Bixby Creek headwaters) and views from 2,600 feet above sea level over the Ventana Wilderness and a span of the Pacific.
The new, two-story, 1,400-square-foot house has two bedrooms and one large full bath. Tenants Zack Traugott and Bree Harlan have created the raised-bed gardens, stone walls protecting parking for at least two vehicles, plus contributions too numerous to list.
“We love it here. The house is great. There’s acreage for horses, orchards and other buildings if you wanted to build them,” Traugott says.
A quite-dramatic outcropping of ancient, roughly textured granite boulders define the uphill terracing. “I got all the stone for the walls down here from what was just loose,’’ he says, indicating pathways he made up the hill in front of him.
One may not exclaim over the exterior of the bat-and-board house, but it’s an eminently livable home. It’s surrounded by a forest of madrone (lovely reddish boughs and trunks) and oak (one rare black oak with soft, widely scalloped leaves) that cool the house in hot weather. The interior has appealing, clean lines with many recessed windows and skylights with pine ceilings (beams) in spacious rooms. The front door opens into the living room with a corner wood stove and a thigh-high, built-in standard heater. “We’ve been amazed by this stove’s efficiency,” Traugott says. “It heats the whole upstairs.” All walls are plaster, finished with bull-nose corners complementing the rustic setting.
The kitchen (top-of-the-line appliances, great layout) and dining room are continued from the living room, both of good size for plenty of people, children and pets (Italian tile floor downstairs, pine upstairs).
The surprisingly huge master bedroom upstairs has the luxury of privacy from the rest of the house by having been built above an exterior walk-in-trudge-around storage room (barn doors). The bedroom has two long closets, hidden side-by-side washer and dryer, windows galore and a door directly to the boulder pathways.
“The sun starts here in the mornings and moves across the house the rest of the day,’’ Traugott says. Between the second bedroom (door to private deck) is the spacious full bath.
Best of all, the house is 100 percent self-sufficient with the unseen solar photovoltaic panels supplying all the power ever needed here.
“Our dream? Buy the place. Maybe next time,” Traugott says.