Sunday, January 27, 2013

L'Auberge Carmel - Monte Verde & Seventh

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The L'Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Chateaux hotel, began life at it's present location on Monte Verde and Seventh in 1929 as Carmel's first apartment building, Sundial Court Apartments.


In 2003 the Sundial Lodge was sold
to the Auberge Carmel partnership. 
Where the focal point continued to be the brick courtyard. 
The Auberge manager at the time, David Fink (now CEO), told the Pine Cone that, "the Sundial has the potential to become a luxury boutique hotel." And that is exactly what happened.


In 2004, the hotel was completely restored,
reconfiguring all of the 20 guest rooms,
the entrance and landscaping. 

 At the same time keeping the old-world charm,
combining modern amenities with the quaintness
of the original coved plaster walls,
French windows and antique doorknobs.
In 2007 and 2011 L'Aurberge Carmel received the Travel + Leisure's World's Best Hotel Award.  Responding to their 2011 award, managing partner David Fink said, "We are very honored to be chosen...We aspire to deliver a near perfect guest experience and it's so gratifying that
our guests have responded so positively."
Last year L'Auberge underwent another refurbishment.  This time a $1 million dollar upgrade. The hotel remained open throughout the renovation by working on one section at a time. January 2013 is the big reveal.  

 Every Friday of January from 4 to 5PM,
L'Auberge was open to the general public.


In the lobby next to the roaring fireplace
Champaign flowed freely.


Locals and hotel guests mingled with George Nagata
the hotel manager, his staff and Aubergine Restaurant chef.


Delicious light bites were prepared
in an immaculate kitchen,


 and served while we strolled through the lush courtyard,

to view five of the 20 newly remodeled rooms. 

Rooms 9, 12 and 29, are
Premium Peek Ocean View Kings
ranging in size from 300 to 425 square feet.
9 and 29 are located on the courtyard level. 
All the guest rooms have a walk-in shower,
vanity, flat-screen TV,
ipod music system, recessed lighting
and radiant floor heating in the bathrooms.

Room 29 has a freestanding tub,
while room 9 and inset tub.
Room 12 located on the third floor,

has an ample sized shower and inset tub.
Each of the "Peek Ocean View" rooms has a
peek of the ocean through their sitting area window.
Room 19 is the Deluxe Courtyard King,
with approximately 350 square feet,

and a full view of the courtyard from the sitting area.

The bathroom features a copper sink
and free-standing soaking tub with copper fixtures.

Room 11, the Standard Courtyard King room,
is approximately 325 square feet,
  with king bed,
 large bathroom with shower,
a luxurious inset bath tub and
the front door opens onto the flower-filled courtyard.
Next on our tour are the kitchen,


pantry and prep areas for the hotel restaurant Aubergine.
 They are immaculate, everything has its place
and nothing is out of place.

The Aubergine showcases Chef de Cuisine Justin Cogley and Executive Pastry Chef Ron Medoza.  Their cuisine was awarded as Aubergine was voted Fifth best in San Francisco and the Bay Area by Zagat in 2012.

Executive Chef Cogley is very excited about the new custom-built cheese cave to preserve his fromagerie collection and the live fish tank in the kitchen for the freshest ingredients from the sea. Sorry guys.

Chef Cogley and Chef Medoza  teach Sweet and Savory culinary classes each month. You too can learn to cook like a Zagat winner.
The intimate 12 table resturant serves dinner daily from 6:00 to 9:30pm.  Private parties can be reserved in the wine cellar which houses the restaurants 4,500 bottle collection or al fresco in the courtyard. 

For more information, rates or reservations call
831-624-8578
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All photos by L.A. Momboisse








Thursday, January 24, 2013

Allen Knight and the History of L'Auberge Carmel

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Allen Knight, who would become Mayor of Carmel in the 1940’s and 50’s, was born in 1901 the same year his parents and two aunts purchased three lots on Monte Verde and Seventh.  That same year, J. F. Devendorf ordered 100 San Francisco cottages to be shipped in sections to Carmel.  Only one cottage arrived and it was purchased by Allen’s father and reassembled on the family property on Monte Verde and Seventh.  Every summer the Knight family would make the two day trip from their home in San Francisco via horse and buggy to their vacation cottage in Carmel. 
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - c. 1929-1935
After Allen’s mother died when he was 8, his father moved into the Fairmont Hotel and Allen split his time between his father’s and his  aunts Alys and Agnes in the cottage on Monte Verde and Seventh.  Allen went to live full time with his aunts after his father died when he was 17.  But life with his aunts was too tame and his lifetime fascination with the sea led him to ship off on the Falls of Clyde and sail around the Horn.

Using the inheritance left him by his father; Allen spent the next few years traveling the Orient, earning his living as a musician, even playing in waterfront bars in Nagasaki.  In 1922 he met a Russian refugee in China, married her and returned to San Francisco to work as a yacht broker.  Unfortunately the marriage did not last so Allen went back to traveling. 

He spent five months bicycling and motorcycling through Europe in the late 1920’s, and fell in love with the city of Prague.  He paid special attention to the old European charm of the hotels thinking that they would make a good model for an apartment building his aunt Alys was interested in building on the Monte Verde property in Carmel. 
Sundial Apartment Conceptual Drawing 1929
It is said that Allen went so far as to convince the owner’s of a Czech hotel he took a fancy to in Prague to share their blueprints with him.  And it was these blueprints he gave to San Francisco architect Albert Farr to use to design the project which would eventually become the Sundial Apartments. 
Sundial Court Apartments circa 1930

After this trip to Europe, Allen returned to the US he settled in a tent attached to the cottage on Monte Verde and Seventh.  He commissioned Albert Farr to design an apartment building and Michael J. Murphy to do the construction.  But the little cottage had to be moved, so Allen bought three lots on Guadalupe at Sixth Avenue and had the home relocated. 
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - 2013
 
The August 30, 1929 edition of the Carmel Pine Cone states, “The big steam shovel has begun its opening part in the building of the Sundial Court Apartments on the east side of Monte Verde Street between Ocean Avenue and Seventh.  Soon will rise a structure new in Carmel’s experience, to mark an era of the town’s growth.  The building will house thirteen small apartments, three rooms each, and eight one-room-with-bath accommodations for bachelors, male or female.  The Sundial Court to be built around a court, will be three stories high on its western side, facing the sea, two stories high the balance of the structure….the architecture is European, probably more Bohemian than of any other national type, and fits in well with Carmel’s general scheme.” 
 
The Sundial Court Apartments became the first apartment building in Carmel.  Built around a courtyard with the lobby and two spaces for shops on the first floor.  The next floor housed the three room apartments with living area, a disappearing closet-bed, kitchenette and bath.  Stairs led to the third floor and an extra room with a bath, which could be rented separately or used to make existing apartments larger.
Sundial Lodge 2000

The Sundial Court Apartments became the Sundial Lodge turning the 21 apartments into 19 guest rooms decorated with a French country motif and was featured in the Architectural and History Survey of Carmel-by-the-Sea Historic Inns in 1992.
Sundial Lodge Courtyard 2000

In 2003, the Sundial Lodge was sold for an undisclosed price to the Auberge Carmel partnership.  The Herald wrote in it’s January 13, 2003 edition, “David Fink, manager of the AubergeCarmel and owner of Carmel’s Bouchee Restaurant, said the Sundial has the potential to become a luxury boutique hotel.”
Sundial Lodge 1992
 
After a $1 million upgrade the proprietors of L’Auberge Carmel are holding their grand re-opening during the month of January 2013.  They  have indeed succeeded in making the L’Auberge Carmel a quaint and cozy luxury boutique hotel surrounded by Old World charm.    
L'Auberge Carmel - 2013
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Allen Knight - Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Allen Knight Home transferred from Monte Verde and Seventh to Guadalupe and Sixth - Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection  Photographs
Sundial Apartment Conceptual Drawing 1929 for Allen Knight
Sundial Court Apartments circa 1930 - Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Knight House on Guadalupe and 6th in 2013 - Photo by L. A. Momboisse
Sundial Lodge Entry and Court - Sundial Lodge Brochure & Tariff Schedule 2000
Sundial Lodge 1992 - Carmel Historical Survey, Historic Inns Carmel-by-the-Sea April 1992
L'Auberge Carmel - Photo by L. A. Momboisse 2013






 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Carmel-by-the-Sea - A Look Back

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Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th 2013 C photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6th2013C_zps336c5c1a.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th  - 2013

Chapter VIII
The Runaway Cottage


The following was written by Daisy Bostick for the Carmel Pine Cone, June 4, 1948 as part of a series of articles entitled Carmel Story:
  
I looked out of my upstairs window down on Santa Fe Street one early morning and to my utter surprise saw a cute little house traveling merrily, and with no visible means of support, up Ocean Avenue.  The picture was complete.  There it was – a real little painted redwood cottage, with porch, climbing vines, chimney, and curtains at the windows. It look at me roguishly as it passed and I could have sworn that it flapped a vine or two at me and that a wisp of real smoke was coming out of the chimney. And I thought I heard a mischievous voice say “Catch me if you can.  I’m running away.” 


By the time I had recovered enough to run out to the highway, Little House was turning the corner at Guadalupe Street, but as it vanished I solved the secret of its locomotion.  It was on a truck and as it went up the hill, the low trees and shrubs at the side of the highway had hidden everything but the house from me, so it seemed to be self-propelled.  That was one mystery that I would have preferred to remain unsolved, for it isn’t every day that you get to see a runaway cottage floating gently up a hill just outside your bathroom window.  

Now to backtrack a little.  In 1901, the Carmel Development Company had a lot of vacant land but few houses.  J. F. Devendorf (familiarly and lovingly called Devvy) ordered one hundred old San Francisco cottages to be sent down in sections which were to be reassembled after reaching here.  By the way, this seems to be the start of the prefabricated house industry but it didn’t have much success as only one cottage, a barn and a carload of doors arrived.
Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th Betwee 1929 - 1935 B photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thbetween1929-1935B_zpsc5b13fba.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - c. 1929-1935

Allen Knight’s father paid three hundred dollars for the one lone cottage that showed up, put the various sections together on a lot belonging to him and his two sisters-in-law, Alys Miller and Agnes Miller.  This was the site of the present Sun Dial Apartments and this was the cottage that later decided to run away. 



 photo DoorHouse_edited-1_zps6977d4c9.jpg
Door House
 
The carload of doors that formed part of the shipment was used to build a house which now belongs to a relative of the former owner, Mrs. O’Hara and can still be seen on Lincoln between Eighth and Ninth.  The barn was acquired by Miss Eunice Grey who placed it on Camino Real near Santa Lucia.  Later she built a new house on the adjoining lot, and wrote a charming book entitled Cross Trails and Chaparral.  Many changes came to the old barn even during Miss Grey’s lifetime, but it has lately been acquired by Mrs.  Emmy Blamer, who has handled its renovation with a magic touch, furnished it with her beautiful early American pieces and made it into one of the most charming houses to be found in this vicinity. 

Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th Betwee 1929 - 1935 C photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thbetween1929-1935C_zps8ec20200.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - c. 1929-1935
 
Now to return to the little cottage which ran away up the hill on an early morning.  Its seems that along with it there was a tent house in the grounds.  Originally canvas, it had been shingled outside and lined inside with some sort of beaverboard.  Allen Knight, then a gay young bachelor had been bunking in the tent house.  One night he had attended a studio party with Fenton Foster and on returning to his home at a late hour was too sleepy to realize that the house was on the sidewalk and had been placed on wheels all ready for an early morning jaunt to its new location alongside of Runaway Cottage.  He went to bed and was just getting into a sound sleep when the truck started to roll. Allen, who as man and boy had been inclined to a seafaring pastime, came half awake and thought first that he was on the briny deep.  He chronicles his subsequent adventures as follows:

 photo IMG_9279_edited-1_zps510fda4c.jpg
“When I looked out the window and saw the Episcopal Church going by, I knew then that something unusual was doing.  When we turned the corner at Monte Verde and Ocean, the truck hit a culvert and the furniture began playing leap frog over me.  I grabbed for my shirt and my pants and in the midst of much pitching and rolling managed to get partially clothed.  Unaware that he had a passenger, the driver was only intent on getting that load up the hill and didn‘t hear my frantic bawling to stop.  When we reached Dolores, I made up my mind to jump.  And I shall never forget the look on the face of a lone pedestrian (it was six o’clock in the morning) as he saw a scantily clad figure sail through the air with the greatest of ease and land on the sidewalk beside him.”


Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th After 1939 A photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thafter1939A_zpsa432cb8c.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - Sometime after 1939 addition
 
Historical Note:  Allen Knight's father assembled the home on their property at Monte Verde and Seventh Avenue in 1901.  It is believed to have been the city's 6th house.  In 1929 the home was moved to Guadalupe and Sixth to make room for the Sundial Lodge to be built on the property on Monte Verde and Seventh.  In 1935 Allen Knight added a second story to the home and built the Ship House next door in 1939 to house his nautical collection. Today the home still stands at Guadalupe and Sixth.  Many additions have been made since 1935 but the pop out picture window remains the common thread for over 100 years.   
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Credits
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th - Photo by L. A. Momboisse 1/2013
Knight House - Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs
Door House - Cottages by the Sea by Linda Leigh Paul, Page 33
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th between 1929 - 1935 - Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs
Allen Knight - Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th sometime after 1939 - Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs