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Highlands Lookout: Woodsy Retreat: Soaring views and natural building materials make for a harmonious union in the Highlands. — Hali Jones

To understand the significance of the Korn property, one must understand the various topographies of Carmel Highlands. One house may offer views over the foothills halfway to Big Sur, while its neighbor may face whitewater. Imagine a place with all of it—views of morning sun on the hills, the afternoon light along the coast and the shimmering Pacific spanning 140 degrees through pine boughs, or front and center in wide swaths.

So it is at Ralph and Sharlee Korn’s house.

The story of this one-acre property and beautifully built post-and-beam house began around 35 years ago, when Sharlee purchased 14 acres in the Highlands. The Korns lived in Arizona all this time, always knowing they’d retire to the coast.

By 2006, they were ready to build. Their contractor, Todd Textor, is a man with worlds of experience, including five years spent with Lindal Cedar Homes in Seattle. The company, Textor says, has been in business 70 years, and “has books and plans devoted to multi-hundreds of designs.” Textor has been designing Monterey County houses from scratch for six years now, customizing Lindal Cedars into the unique homes he builds.

“The Korns asked for wide open interior space from the kitchen sink to the fireplace at the other end of the house,” Textor says. “So we removed walls, including the one under the high staircase to the second floor. It needed to be open as gallery space.”

Textor suggested sheetrocking that area, plus the (huge) entry hall to create walls where art could be highlighted. The house otherwise has fir walls, pine ceilings and thick wood posts and beams with structure intentionally revealed, possibly competing with the artwork.

Because they wanted privacy without enclosure, the Korns asked Textor to design the master, the only room on the second floor. They now have a beautiful balcony room high over the great room. The master features custom recessed lighting in the vaulted ceiling beams, a range of windows, plus a glass door onto a private terrace protected by the house itself. It also has a his-and-hers walk-in and a double shower with glass stall.

Textor recessed skylights into the bathroom and in ceilings in ground- floor areas as well.  The main floor holds the second master suite and guest bedroom.

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Textor says the Korns thought that when they grew older they might need a downstairs bedroom, so the master bath has a Whirlpool Therapy tub. Hand-laid limestone completes the sophistication, as it does in the kitchen and upper master bath. “I’m attracted to the forms within good limestone, and the color is neutral in keeping with the feeling the Korns wanted,” Textor says. “I also like the chipped edging around the counters in a house like this one.”

In the kitchen, the center island is topped with limestone, contains the high-end GE cook-top, and faces the great room to allow interaction with guests. All the cabinets are rustic pecan, all floors five-inch fruitwood slabs, all window frames and doorframes are cedar.

The home’s soaring façade looks on the Pacific through angled windows that Textor designed to include Astral panes.

He recreated the deck for viewing in three directions—practically a necessity with this unique property.

Price: $2,295,000. 13 Mentone Rd., Carmel Highlands. Contact Kyle Morrison, John Saar Properties, 625-0500. 

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