The Fields’ Home
Nastovic a builder to the Russian aristocracy and Nicholas II fled Russia after the Revolution in 1917.
In the early 1920’s Nastovic probably found the newly incorporated village of Carmel-by-the-Sea very attractive. The Carmel Development Company had sold many lots but they were in need of homes. Michael J. Murphy and Hugh Comstock had already established themselves as master-builders, but there was room for one more.
On June 15, 1926, the Pine Cone reported, “Six houses to go up in Hatton Fields at once, designed by A. Nastovic the man who was famous for the monument of Alexander III in Moscow.”
In the aerial photo above taken sometime in the 1940’s, one of those houses, the Fields’ Home can be seen…
to the left of what is said to have been the beginnings of a “fast food” restaurant which never came to be.
Nastovic’s 1927 construction in French Normandy style remains very authentic to this day.
The Carmel Stone entrance,
all windows and doors (except for one
in the first floor dining area) are original.
Nastovic incorporated unique architectural features in his home. Most distinctive are the “Z Doors.” In fact The Fields’ Home has 28 of them.
These “Z Door’s” were made with Douglas fir planks overlaid with more Douglas fir planks in the shape of a Z. All held together with metal pegs.
Another unique element found in this home is the use of the Gothic arch,
which is found repeated throughout the great room,
even the 55 inch wide fireplace and
niche above contain this element.
The only significant interior renovation made to Nastovic’s original plan was the removal of a wall between the living area and the kitchen. (This wall can be seen below in a “before” picture.)
With the wall gone the downstairs living area
becomes a very inviting great room.
There many more charming elements to The Fields’ Home, like the third floor turret room.
which the owners refer
to as Rapunzel’s Room.
The turret room, decorated with vintage hats and hat boxes does bring to mind those words from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair,
so that I may climb the golden stair.”
Mr. Nastovic built at least six homes in the Hatton Fields area of Carmel during the late 1920’s. These homes found in a cluster around Seventh and Hatton are easily identified by their prominent “Z Door.” Unfortunately the depression brought Nastovic’s building career of these stately homes in Carmel to an end.
The Cabin on the Rocks
by Frank Lloyd Wright
In 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Willis J. Walker, San Francisco socialites, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin (Mission Ranch).
The Walkers subdivided the land into what they called the Walker Track, and sold many of the lots. But the ocean front acreage was deeded to Mrs. Walker’s sister Clinton Della Walker.
“Della Walker was a childhood friend of Frank Lloyd Wright, and when she asked him to design a seaside house for her, he was 84 years old. He didn’t know that, so he accepted the challenge (his only ocean house), and personally supervised its construction…
“Make it low,” said Della, “so my neighbors’ views will not be interrupted.” He did that, and now the prow of the house, on Scenic Drive near Martin Way, drives ceaselessly into the waves that buffet Carmel Bay.
It is designed like an ocean liner, facing the tireless sea.
The living room, slightly sunken, looks across the deck through stepped-down windows, like a Captain’s bridge.” (1)
“I want a house,” Mrs. Clinton Della Walker wrote to her old friend and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, “as durable as the rocks…
and as transparent as the waves.
Her phrase captured Wright’s imagination. For almost five years the octogenarian “dean” of American architects worked on and off on Mrs. Walker’s challenge.
The result was a home that, since its completion in 1952 has been one of the show places of the Monterey Peninsula.” (2)
“In the design, Wright wholly departed from the conventional four-cornered concept of rooms. There isn’t a square corner in the house.
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. This 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.” (3)
Mrs. Walker was also responsible for the Mermaid Sculpture on the deck.
How much did the house cost? This is a question Mrs. Walker says she can’t answer because she didn’t really keep track of it. She says, however that it is insured for $25,000, “which I think is enough.” (4)
” Della doesn’t live there any more, but the house will last forever.” (5)
Here are a few more highlights.
Part 3 – Door House and Forge In the Forest
Part 1 – First Murphy House, Los Abuelos, and Studio for Florence Lockwood
(1) Smith, Al. “Carmel Legends.” Carmel Pine Cone, (June 13 – 19, 2014), Section RE p. 2.
(2) 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.(3) Ibid.
(5) Ibid. Smith, A. “Carmel Legends.”
All photographs by L. A. Momboisse unless otherwise noted below:
– Black and white areal photo c. 1940 of Fields house, courtesy of the home owners.
– Color picture of the Fields living room before renovation courtesy of home owners.
– First two black and white photos of Walker House – 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 Della Walker, courtesy of Della’s great-grandson.