A ranch house with possibilities.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This is one of those sweet vintage ranch houses in the Carmel Valley with sublime settings defined by meadow-like land with groves of oaks; in this case, trees that have been growing since at least 1957, when the house was built.
It’s on Miramonte Road, one of the prettiest, pastoral locations found in the valley without having to drive up the hills. There are tributary roads off of Miramonte that do rise but the road itself calmly meanders between the entrance to Garland Park and an entry/exit location on the Laureles Grade. Some properties on Miramonte have long south-facing driveways leading to homes somewhat near the cliffs that rise from Carmel Valley Road’s north side.
Number 37 is at the end of such a driveway that happens to be shared by one other home (adobe) situated just before it. The two properties are contiguous but neither is particularly visible to the other, if at all. It’s flat here atop the cliffs and in the case of this house there’s a ravine on either side of the 1.8 acres where wildlife can live and pass through undisturbed.
The first owners (preferring to remain anonymous) lived here until very recently and took excellent care of their home. At this time, though, the whole place will welcome improvements as simple as replacing the small amount of carpet, refinishing all the oak floors, cleaning the big fireplace in the living room and sprucing up the front entry with just a few big planted pots. Although the house is not in turnkey condition by any stretch it could be comfortably lived in after the housekeeping has done its work well.
Originally the house was a typical, relatively small ranch with a large living room, formal dining room, two bedrooms and one bath at one end and an attached, oversized double garage at the other. At some point, the owners created the master bedroom (with big deck) in place of the garage and added another bath, thus providing real privacy away from the main rooms and giving the house 1,600 square feet. A new attached double garage was built at an angle appropriate to the land and the shape of the house.
Outside of each room the chattels are fully displayed, all nature all the time. When areas of overgrowth have been cleared it will become a secluded arena for lovely vistas and wildlife sightings. In the front of the house, three oak trees are several stories high, loyal sentries standing over half a century at equal distances from one end of the house to the other. Other oaks, younger and closer together, surround the house and present fascinating shadow-art as the sun cruises its well-traced route across black, fecund earth beneath the groundcover and fallen leaves.
Of the two original bedrooms once was a great office with the full bath between it and the second bedroom. Both rooms have built-in chests of drawers in the closets. It appears that the kitchen and both bathrooms were updated, perhaps in the ’70 s and in any case need renovations. That said they are perfectly functional as is.
The kitchen is unseen behind the living room yet is bright and open across from the dining room. Light is everywhere here.
The mix of formal, casual, well-thought through and slightly quirky design of the house is laid out within wide-plank wood walls and beneath highly peaked wood plank and beam ceilings, currently whitewashed, an effect both comforting and liberating.