Carmel Heritage Society - 25th Annual House and Garden Tour - 2018 (Hayward Healthy Home, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hugh Comstock, M. J. Murphy)

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The 25th annual House and Garden Tour by Carmel Heritage Society, held June 23, 2018, featured six homes in the Carmel village and the new exhibit at First Murphy House. The following is a recap of the tour as well as historical background of the homes toured.
First Murphy Park
NW Corner Lincoln & 6th Avenue

Home to The Valentine, a bronze sculpture by George Wayne Lundeen, First Murphy Park is a quiet sanctuary that wraps around the south side of First Murphy House.  Designed by architectural firm Hall & Rock, and completed in 1993, the  park consists of large boulders, benches, meandering paths and native drought-tolerant trees and plants.  

Twenty years after the park opened, it was in need of some TLC.  In 2015, Carmel Forest and Beach stepped in and gave this charming oasis a much needed face lift.  

Three years later and this park is blooming again with native and drought resistant plants such as sea lavender, rockrose, and ceanothus.  The Italian stone pines, Monterey pines, and coastal live oaks are also flourishing. 

The reception following this years House and Garden Tour  was put on by Village Corner's Chef Peters, and held on the park terrace with filtered views of Carmel Bay.

First Murphy House
Lincoln 2 NW 6th Avenue 

First Murphy House 1906 - (lft to rt - Emma Murphy, M. J. Murphy, Edna Murphy) 

The 829 square foot First Murphy House was built in 1902 by 17 year old M. J. Murphy for his mother and sister. 88 years later as is sat neglected being used as a storage unit in the commercial district, it was purchased by developers who planned on tearing it down. 

With a lack of funds, the need for a new location for the house, and the developers pressuring for demolition, the odds of saving the First Murphy House seemed insurmountable.  

Enter Enid Sales.  She approached architect Brian Congleton and requested his help in relocating and renovating this home.  At the same time Carmelites formed the First Murphy Foundation and raised $16,000 toward relocation.  

Then one morning residents awoke to
find the First Murphy House rising 
above the trees over Mission Street near Devendorf Park, 

 paraded down 6th Avenue (with much of the town in tow), 
and deposited at its current location.

Using historic photographs, architect Brian Congleton spent a great deal of time insuring that his renovation would conform to M. J. Murphy's original design. The project was completed in 1992.  

Today First Murphy House is the home of  Carmel Heritage Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve, and promote the cultural heritage of the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

In the front garden of First Murphy House you will find the only milk shrine I know of left in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  The idea of the milk shrine originated with Perry McDonald, who opened the first commercial dairy in Carmel in 1916.  McDonald stationed milk shrines every block and a half throughout the village.  The shrines would be divided into sections for each of the residents on the block.  Residents would leave their money and order in their section and twice a day Mr. Waterbury would make deliveries.  

The current exhibit at First Murphy House, is a pictorial display entitled Then/Now Carmel: A town with a Temperament Wholly Its Own.  This exhibit is divided into three rooms featuring Carmel lifestyles, 

the women of Carmel, 

and the legendary Carmel architect,
Hugh Comstock. The exhibit is free and open
 to the public Tuesday - Saturday 1PM to 3PM.
Call ahead to verify hours 831/624-4447. 

The Cabin on the Rocks
Walker House
by Frank Lloyd Wright

Before I review the history of the Walker House, please watch this video we made, as an aerial view of C'est La View and Walker House which were on Carmel House and Garden Tour in 2017. 

The background history on this house involves two brothers and two sisters.  First, Minneapolis lumber executive Willis Walker who married Alma Brooks in 1897.

And second, Minneapolis lumber executive Clinton Walker (brother of Willis) who married artist Della Brooks (sister of Alma) around 1901.  

In 1918, Willis and Alma Walker, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin (Mission Ranch).  They subdivided the land into the Walker Track, and sold  many of the lots.  But the ocean front acreage they deeded to Alma's sister Della.

In 1944, after her husband died, Della moved to Carmel and rented a house while she arraigned for the construction on her 'Cabin on the Rocks.'

Between 1945 and 1950, Della Walker corresponded with noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright regarding her design preferences.  

She wanted protection from the wind and privacy from the road. 

Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957

She wanted her house be as enduring
 as the rocks and as transparent as the waves. 

From those requests, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home that appeared to be like an ocean liner, the prow of which would perpetually face the relentless sea off Carmel Point.  

Wright, who was in his 80's at the time, worked on this home for almost five years.  Aaron Green was the supervising architect, and Miles Bain was hired to carry out the construction.  Miles hired local architect Mark Mills as his carpenter.  

"In the design, Wright wholly departed from the conventional four-cornered concept of rooms.  There isn't a square corner in the house.

 Della Walker on the sofa - the same sofa as in the picture directly above

The culmination of this dynamic approach 
is in the hexagonal living room...

the stepped-out windows, leading up to the wide roof overhang...

the home's construction is of Carmel stone, 

supplemented by cedar plywood on interior walls and ceilings. 

The wood came from the mills of Mrs. Walker's son in Susanville...Heating is by radiant floor units...

built-in furniture includes...a couch along the living room view windows...Mrs. Walker added only a few pieces...such as the Japanese fish net balls." (1)  The home was completed in 1952. 

In the mid 1950s, after marrying rancher and vintner James van Loben Sels, Della found the couple needed more room.  Her grandson, San Francisco architect John Walker, designed a bedroom based on a sketch Frank Lloyd Wright had done for a painting studio that Della had requested during construction, but was never built.  The addition was added to the north east side around 1960. 

Della added the mermaid statue,
  Undine by Robert Howard in 1964.  

A red glazed tile with the signature of
Frank Lloyd Wright is found on the
carport wall.  

The Mrs. Clinton Walker House is listed on Carmel's Historic Resource list as well as the prestigious National Register of Historic Places

Monte Verde, 2 NE 9th Avenue 

This hipped roof cottage was built in 1906 by Enoch H. Lewis.  Mr. Lewis owned a paint shop on Ocean Avenue.  He was married to Margaret "Maggie" Ellen Wilkenson and they had one child, a son, Lew E. Lewis. 

Maggie was M. J. Murphy's half sister, and M. J. Murphy and his family lived in a home just across the street that Murphy built in 1904. So it is possible, but not documented in city records, that Murphy could also have had a hand in building Maggie and Enoch's house. 

The house has been remodeled twice since 1906.  The first time in 1978 by Pacific Grove architect Ted Larson was sympathetic to the historic character of the building.  The second remodel in 1994 was not, as features were added, such as a sliding glass door that would not have been historic to a 1906 home.  In spite of this, the home is listed as one of Carmel's 300 historic resources.  

A Storybook Cottage
Santa Fe 2SE of 5th Avenue

This lot on Santa Fe was purchased by Thomas M. Browne.  Mr. Browne was the father of Mayotta (Browne) Comstock.  Mayotta and her husband Hugh lived in their home one block away on the NE Corner of  Torres and 6th Avenue.  You may read more about Hugh, Mayotta, their home, and Comstock's Storybook style architecture in these two blog posts.  

In 1926, Mr. Browne acquired a permit from the city to build a small structure on his property.  

In 1941 Ida E. Browne sold this home to Mayotta and Hugh Comstock for $10.  That same year Mr. Comstock built a 384 square foot cottage at the western edge of the lot.  This consisted of a great room with a fireplace and kitchen area as well as a small sewing room for Mayotta.

Mr. Comstock used many of his signature architectural features; a high pitched roof, door hood, side facing front door, Carmel stone chimney, hand carved wood window casings, and rough textured cement stucco exterior wall cladding.  

In 1987 owner Joan Bard added a two story 693 square foot addition to the back of the existing Comstock cottage.  This increased the size of the kitchen and added two bedrooms.  Ms. Bard attempted to copy the Comstock features by adding pierced decorative wood railings to the balcony, and decorative window casings. By not differentiating the new addition from the original, and Ms. Bard's use of vinyl windows with snap-in diamond pattern mutins, the home was ineligible for Carmel's Historic Resources Inventory.   The picture below from City Hall files shows the 1987 addition.  

Before the present owners took purchased this property in 2012, a 167 square foot studio was added to the back of the lot.  

The new owners, who are admirers of Comstock's work, hired Bell and McBride for the stunning restoration and renovation of this property. Vinyl windows were replaced with wood crank windows.

The coast live oaks were preserved 
 by integrating them into the deck.

This makes for a shaded outdoor dining area. 

The old shed studio received 80 additional square feet making it a comfortable guest house with bathroom.  The outside was differentiated from the original Comstock stucco with a wood board and batten exterior.  

Inside the front door a book shelf
mimics the door in Comstock's first house, Hansel. 

A detached one car garage was also added to the property.  It too has Comstock characteristics but has been differentiated from the original Comstock with board and batten exterior siding.  

Casa Bilancia
A Hayward Healthy Home 
NE Corner Ocean and Carmelo 

Casa Bilancia, built in 2014, is presented on this years House and Garden Tour for its unique architectural.  

As the first Hayward Healthy Home built in Carmel-by-the-Sea, owners Bill and Adriana Hayward worked with architect Brian Tichenor to build a home that was "architecturally beautiful in the classical sense while also achieving the highest level of energy efficiency without design sacrifice." (2)

Mr. Hayward founded Hayward Healthy Home in order to educate other home owners on what in their homes might be causing them to become sick. 

The four principles for a Hayward Healthy Home are:  Circulate continuous fresh air, properly seal and insulate the home, minimize toxic materials used in construction, and utilize easy to clean surfaces throughout the home. 

This home achieves Net Zero energy, meaning the total amount of energy used on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount or renewable energy created on site.

More and more people are concerned about where the products that are used in the building of their home come from.  This makes having an eco-credential important in a consumers decisions on whether or not to purchase a home.  Casa Biancia is 50% FSC-Certified, meaning that 50% of the products used in the building of the home come from a forest that is managed responsibly.   This home also has a Passive House Certification, which is one of the highest energy ratings.

Casa Bilancia was built off site by Moderna Homes and assembled on the lot in two days during March of 2014. It features a zinc roof that captures the dew and deposits this into a 5,000 gallon storage tank to water their lush garden.  

The Zehnder fresh air machine delivers a continuous fresh air supply inside and the Ahhm radiant heating and cooling system operates on the equivalent of a 40 watt bulb. 

This Hayward Healthy Home also uses View Dynamic Glass  a "smart window" technology that permits the home owner to control glare and the amount of sunlight entering their house with the touch of a button.  The representative from View Dynamic Glass demonstrated how he could eliminate glare on any window. The glass door in the center shows what kind of light would be coming into the room if View Dynamic Glass wasn't being used.

This is a view of the expansive
 backyard of Casa Bilancia with 

a unique and rare white Bougainvillea.

The wooden blue door covered with ivy
 has been a feature on Ocean Avenue
 for over 50 years, which is
as long as I can remember.

Penny Lane
Monte Verde 4 SW 7th 

Penny Lane was purchased by its current owners in 2011.  They hired master-builder Al Saroyan to conduct and extensive remodel.

But let's step back in time for a moment. Katherine McFarland Howe came to Carmel shortly after her husband Henry Howe committed suicide in 1906.  She brought with her two children, Katherine Howe (1894 - 1971) and Winifred Bliss Howe (1904 - 1990). Mrs. Howe eventually purchased property on Monte Verde and in 1940 contracted Carmel designer/builder Miles Bain, who is best known for his work on the Walker House.  

Original blue prints on file with the City of Carmel show a one story cottage with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.  At a total of 1066 square feet, Mr. Bain estimated the cost at $4000, with a 3 month build schedule.

Permit 557 Carmel by the Sea - Miles Bain

Mrs. Howe passed away in 1947 but the house appears not to have changed hands until 1958 when it was purchased by Barbara Mackenzie.  

Winifred Bliss Howe used this house as her "home base" until 1958.  During that time Ms. Howe, an accomplished pianist, who studied under Tobias Matthay (England)  and Nadia Boulanger (France), was involved with the Carmel Bach Festival from its inception in 1935 as an accompanist and publicist, and obtained both a bachelor's (1940) and master's degree (1941) from Berkeley.  She taught in the Music Department at Cal until 1959.  

The house was sold to Barbara Mackenzie who added a garage and deck in 1958 then owners Dr. John and Mrs. Moore added a 504 square foot second story in 1982.

This home has a French country feel from the front garden with, star jasmine, daisy, hydrangea,


dusty miller, saliva, 

ornamental grasses,

and hebe (a butterfly favorite) to the inside with Venetian plaster finished walls, hand forged wrought iron railings, and antique white finished carpentry. 

The outdoor deck is clearly Saroyan,
 a cozy area with a large wall of fire
for those cool Carmel summer evenings. 

Hydrangea Hill
8th Avenue 2 NE of Santa Fe 

Hydrangea Hill c. 1978 after second story addition 

The Hydrangea Hill house was originally a single story one bedroom, one bath cottage.  At 755 square feet, it was designed by John Peterson and built by Homer Orick in 1949 for Mrs. Sara N. Farrar.

In 1978 a two-story addition to the rear of the house was added by owner Jack and Ione Miller.  Owners Mr. and Mrs. Barrios added a laundry room in 1999.

In 2004 Kent Seavey conducted a historic review on the property and concluded that the 1978 addition compromised the historic integrity of the 1949 building and it would not be eligible for addition to Carmel's Historic Resource list. 

That same year owner Cheryl Sykes conducted a full interior remodel and addition of a master bedroom and one car garage. 

A first floor bedroom opens 

to a peaceful patio garden. 

The balcony off the master bedroom 

 features a lovely view of Point Lobos

and the patio garden.

The current owners hired interior decorator, Linda Floyd to give their home a French country feel inside.   

Outside, Elga Perez-Rubio is
responsible for the landscape design,

and the fabulously blooming garden!

That is it for the 25th Annual House and Garden Tour
Until Next Time - Happy Adventures!


For interactive maps and guided walking tour covering many of our tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store. Or visit this site

All photographs and videos by L. A Momboisse unless listed below: 

- Black and White Photo of M. J. Murphy with his mother and wife in front of First Murphy House and two color photos of First Murphy House from relocation in early 1990's. (Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department)

-Hall, Thorne. Editor, Publisher, Owner. "Houses of Distinction-Frank Lloyd Wright's Blend of Stone and Sea on Carmel Beach." Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957. - Black and white photo of Walker House 1957.

- Photo of 1987 addition to A Storybook Cottage from Carmel City Hall Records.  

- Video and photo of Hayward Healthy Home under construction - Hayward Healthy Home Comes to Carmel by the Sea 

Permit 557 Carmel by the Sea - Miles Bain - Carmel City Hall Records

(1) Hall, Thorne. Editor, Publisher, Owner. "Houses of Distinction-Frank Lloyd Wright's Blend of Stone and Sea on Carmel Beach." Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957. - Black and white photo of Walker House 1957.
(2) Quote taken from Event Ticket description of Casa Biancia.