Well-done restoration that stays true to architect’s spirit.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
116 Mar Vista Drive #162 in Monterey is part of the row of town houses restored to as-new decades since their design by renowned architect Charles Moore (1925-1993). Moore’s body of work has earned him extraordinary recognition (including the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, its highest honor) leading the city to grant historical designation for this façade. Its design is an excellent example of mid-20th century minimalism: flat, clean lines, doors flush with the wall and vertical windows placed with sophisticated simplicity.
To passers-by, the façade of these attached homes doesn’t hint at what’s within. To open the door is to be swept into a galaxy of positive energy that carries through the interior directly to the 500-square-foot runway of a terrace where impressive views pass over Monterey’s west side residential neighborhoods, over tops of distant evergreens against the backdrop of Monterey Bay’s kinetic beauty. It’s worth noting that this terrace nearly doubles the first floor’s footage. Once the effect of the view wears off, one focuses on the home’s great room.
The town houses have a remarkable history. Matt Tanzi and David Gash designed and built them right here. Both are Monterey-born and have deep ties to the area, raised by entrepreneurial, industrious parents, grandparents and great grandparents. The two were friends in school but only learned of their families’ community connection when a picture of Gash’s uncle and Tanzi’s grandfather standing side-by-side was discovered.
“Our families have been part of Monterey since the turn of the 20th century and we decided to build Vista del Mar [the condo community that includes the unique row of town houses high above the rest] and completely restore these for condos,’’ Tanzi says. “There’s precedent for our project, too, since in the ’40s, David’s grandparents left the canneries, went into real estate and moved a series of old barracks from Fort Ord to Seaside to refurbish them for private homes.”
Because this row of town houses is utterly unique in Monterey and has the architectural boon from Charles Moore AIA, the partners wanted them rebuilt with as much quality as possible. There’s remarkable detailing in the bathrooms, where the stone floors continue as baseboards with extraordinary top finish. Other baseboards reveal thick crown molding and the plumbing, electrical and other construction materials are also first-class.
“Down to the studs [it was] rebuilt with the intention to give our best to Monterey,” Tanzi says.
Number 162 is a 2-bedroom/1½ bath; the half-bath is behind the front door and appointed with an amber glass-bowl sink centered on a minimal black counter; the commode is also black. The kitchen is down a brief hallway on the opposite side and like all uncarpeted rooms, has stone floors. The kitchen’s wide, deep green granite is handsome, appliances are black and the space is appealing and workable and open to the great room.
Upstairs, nifty ceilings throughout are slightly vaulted wood boards and timbers. Between the two bedrooms the full bath is countered by warm-toned granite, the floor stone walling the tub/shower. It’s airy and inviting up here too, the views even better.
Outside, standing as fair witnesses to the era of the original structure, plumb line-straight cypress tower their rusty bark and sky-high boughs, painterly even on this rainy day.
Price $575,000. 116 Mar Vista Drive, #162. Monterey • Coldwell Banker Del Monte Realty, Maureen Mason and Debby Beck • 626-2226.