Allen Knight, Carmel Heritage Society, Frank Lloyd Wright, Golf House, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Philip Wilson, The Ship House

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2015 – Part 3 – Frank Lloyd Wright House, The Ship House and Golf House

Walker House
by Frank Lloyd Wright
26336 Scenic Road 


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 and sold many of the lots. (1)
                          

The ocean front acreage from the Walkers subdivision, was deeded to Mrs. Walker’s sister, Della Walker.  

Della asked noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house that was low to the ground so that her neighbors’ views would not be interrupted.  

Wright did exactly what was asked of him, designing a home that appeared to be like an ocean liner, the prow of which would perpetually face the tireless sea off Carmel Point. 


For almost five years octogenarian Frank Lloyd Wright worked on Della Walker’s house.  Miles Bain was hired to carry out the construction.  

“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.” (2) 

Photography is not allowed on the inside of this home.  The current owner allowed me to take the picture above and below.  The picture above is the same setting for the picture below of Mrs. Della Walker. 


Here are a few more highlights from the grounds around the Walker House. 


The Ship House 
3 NE of Sixth Avenue on Guadalupe 


Allen Knight was born in San Francisco on May 7, 1901.  He spent his childhood summers at the home of his two aunts on Monte Verde and Seventh.  At the age of 17 Allen went to live with his aunts full time, but life in Carmel was too tame for Allen so he joined the crew of the “Falls of Clyde” and sailed around the Horn.

He continued this vagabond lifestyle traveling for years through the Orient and Europe.  While in Prague, Allen fell in love with old European architecture and convinced a hotel owner to give him copies of the blueprints of his hotel. 

In 1929, Allen was back in Carmel.  He had his aunts’ house moved by truck up Ocean Avenue to Guadalupe and Sixth.  The adventure Allen had during the moving of this house is a whole other story

Allen hired San Francisco architect Albert Farr to use the blueprints he had obtained in Prague and build what would become the Sundial Court Apartments on the property at Monte Verde and Seventh.  Michael J. Murphy would do the construction.  Today this is the home of L’ Auberge Carmel.

In 1933, Allen married Adele Hawes, he and their three children lived in the house on Guadalupe and Sixth. He would also serve as Mayor of Carmel from 1950 to 1952. 

During his lifetime, Allen collected numerous nautical memorabilia.  But his home was not large enough to store the collection. In 1936 he began construction on a stone building just north of his home on Guadalupe. 


“The building was completed in 1939. On the outside, it resembled a “stone lighthouse” in the words of Winsor Josselyn who wrote it up in the February 24, 1939 issue of the Monterey Peninsula Herald.  Allen told Josselyn during an interview for the newspaper article:  “Some people call this my hobby…and some call it my ‘marine mania.’  Call it what you want to, but I love ships and I’m getting a big kick out of doing it.” (3) 


The outside walls of The Ship feature water washed granite boulders surrounding portholes.  Most of the portholes are salvaged from the Aurora, a four-masted ship built in 1901 in Everett, Washington and moored in Monterey Bay in 1932.  On January 18, 1935 the Aurora was caught in a storm, she ran aground on Del Monte Beach and the relentless pounding waves finished her off.  

The current owners of The Ship came across a replica of the Aurora in an antique shop in Pacific Grove.  The replica now sits proudly on a shelf in their home.


The only entrance into The Ship is though a salvaged watertight bulkhead door.  

The interior which resembles the hold (first floor) and wheel house (second floor) of a ship was made from the parts of 57 dismantled ships. 
Planks and knees from the Aurora tie
 together the walls and support the ceiling. 

The knee directly over the porthole near the top of the bed in the picture below came from the Natalie.  The Natalie is thought to have been the ship that was used by Napoleon Bonaparte during his escape from Elba in 1815.  In the 1930’s the Natalie, at the time being used by coastal smugglers, met its end on Monterey Beach.   

The 550 square foot ground floor of The Ship has everything the current owners need to be comfortable: living area, bedroom, 

kitchen (with high efficiency dishwasher
and washing machine), dining area 
 
bathroom (behind the door below)
library, and office. 
Upstairs

 the “wheelhouse”
surrounded by windows 

 acts as a guest room, game room
or sunset cocktail lounge.  

 The Golf House 
SE Corner San Antonio and Fourteenth 


Philip and Laura Wilson married in 1890.  In 1905 they moved to California with their three young children, Grace (who later married James H. Thoburn mayor of Carmel from 1934 – 1936), Philip Jr., and James.  That same year Philip Wilson Sr. constructed the Wilson Building on the NW Corner of Ocean and Dolores.  This anchor of the Camel commercial district served as the first City Hall in 1916. 

In 1912 Philip Wilson Sr. purchased a small writers studio, and the property around it, at Fourteenth and San Antonio from writer John Fleming Wilson. 



Philip Wilson Sr. built a nine hole golf course on Point Loeb (now called Carmel Point). This, the only golf course ever built in Carmel, was operated by Wilson from the Club House (John Fleming Wilson’s old writers studio) from 1913 – 1918. The picture below dated 1914 (courtesy of Harrison Memorial History Library) shows Wilson with his daughter Grace and son James. 

The picture below, courtesy of the current owners of Golf House was passed on to them when they purchased the historical club house.  This picture shows Philip Sr. and Philip Jr. in front of the club house. 


At the onset of World War I, Philip Wilson Sr. was called to service and Carmel’s first golf course was abandoned.  The land was later sold and subdivided. In 1990 a one bedroom house was built on the property integrating the old Club House into the home as a living room. 


  

The current owners (also owners of Carmel Cottage Inn) have restored the Club House now known as Golf House. 



Contractors Bell McBride carefully  separated Golf House from its former residence and moved it to the southeast side of the lot. 


Meticulously removing each brick along with some of the dirt and carefully restoring the fireplace in its new location. 


 The Golf House now stands as a separate guest house – the interior still features the original built in wooden lockers. 

Bell McBride built the new main house
pictured to the left below,

to complement the style of The Golf House.


Inside the main house are three charming bedrooms –
each bed covered with a different early American style quilt. 

Bedrooms also feature french doors,
 space saving built-in furniture 


and window seats. 


In the great room, 

 the living and dining room/kitchen 


are separated by a built-in hutch.  

 The kitchen is a classic utilizing the current owners signature style with a Signal Red Big Chill Retro style stove and  

dishwasher 
That is the review of the eight homes on the Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour for 2015. 
Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time and the home owners who graciously opened their homes for viewing.  And thank you to Carmel Heritage Society for making this happen year after year. 


Part 1 First Murphy, Belle House
Part 2 Stonehaven, Pope House Banyon Hideaway

Google map of location of houses may be viewed here.  
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Notes
(1) Hale, Sharron Lee. A Tribute to Yesterday. (Valley Publishers, Santa Cruz, 1980) p. 120.
(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) Fremier, Allene. Allen Knight Beloved Eccentric. (The Boxwood Press, Pacific Grove, 1984) p. 61.

Photographs
Under Golf House the two first black and white pictures of the original Club House is courtesy Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department.
The third black and white picture of the original Club House is courtesy of the current owners.

All the rest of the photography by L. A. Momboisse.

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Carmel Heritage Society, Fields House, Frank Lloyd Wright, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Walker House

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2014 – The Fields’ Home and Walker House by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Fields’ Home
Hatton Fields

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
Walker House
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


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Notes 
(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.
(4) Ibid.
(5) Ibid. Smith, A. “Carmel Legends.”

Credits 


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. 
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Carmel House and Garden Tour 2012 (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Carmel House and Garden Tour 2012
(Frank Lloyd Wright)
Before visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright house on Carmel Point we visit Cornerstone Cottage and The Little House both north of Ocean Avenue.
Cornerstone Cottage
Block 27/Junipero and Third
The Cornerstone Cottage was built for Agnes Shorting in 1927 by the English architect, Frederick Bigland.  This home features a thick outer stucco siding, two kitchens,
two massive Carmel Stone fireplaces, 
  decorative diamond paned windows
 and a spiral staircase inside the turret. 


The current owners of Cornerstone originally met on Carmel Beach in 1961.  At that time this house was known as the Agnes Shorting House, to which one of them was currently living with an aunt.

Subsequently the Agnes Shorting House was sold to another owner.  In 1991 it came back on the market and the current owners jumped at the chance to make it their own once again.  They have lovingly restored this home and named it Cornerstone. 

The Little House
Guadalupe & 3rd
The Little House is a cabin built of logs; full round, half round,
or planed square, with bark or without,
 as siding, fencing, uprights or beams. 

In 1952, The Little House was owned by George C. Brainard.  His home was featured in the March issue of House Beautiful as a “versatile up-to-date log cabin”.  Not too much has changed in 60 years. 

Notice the log fence and log decking has been updated,

but all the doors and windows and roof line
 remain in the same place. 

The current owner Sibyl Sides Johnson grew up in the Bay Area and holds a BA in Education and Fine Art.  After years in the classroom her goal to paint full time and live in her family’s Carmel cottage has become a reality.  As a Plein Air Artist, Sibyl uses their renovated garage as a studio.
The Walker House
“Cabin on the Rocks”
Built by Frank Lloyd Wright
26336 Scenic Road
In 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Willis J. Walker, of San Francisco and Pebble Beach, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin of Mission Ranch.

The 216 acres were bordered on the north side by Santa Lucia, the east by Hatton Fields, and the south by Carmel River.  The Walkers subdivided the land into what was called the Walker Track, and sold many of the lots. The ocean front acreage was deeded to Mrs. Walker’s sister Clinton Della Walker.

“I want a house,” Mrs. Clinton Della Walker she told architect Frank Lloyd Wright, “as durable as the rocks and as transparent as the waves.”  Inspired by this request, Mr. Wright using an “organic design,” spent five years working on and off on the Walker house, a “cabin on the rocks.”*  It was finally completed in 1952.  
One of Carmel’s most recognized modern homes, located on Carmel Point,
built on granite boulders with a triangular wedge  foundation, with Carmel Stone. From the south side this home looks like a ships prow cutting through the waves. 
Inverse stepped windows framed in “Cherokee-red”
painted steel enclose and surround the living room.
The main room is the large hexagonal shaped living room

with built in seats on three sides,
and tall floor to ceiling fireplace on the fourth wall designed
to burn wood stacked vertically against the back.
Walk around the fireplace to the room designated
as the “workplace”, a Pullman type kitchen
with a view
 
In fact all rooms have an ocean view,
except the guest baths.
This 1,200 square foot cabin on the rocks (that includes the carport) has three full bathrooms.  Two, one off each of the guest bedroom have showers that can best be described as very tiny and in the shape of a trapezoid. 
For those mathematically inclined the measurement is as follows: 3 inch tiles (9 sq in), make a square out of the usable area at 8 tiles (2 ft) by 9 tiles (2 ft 3 in) or 72 tiles at 9 sq in each, 72 x 9 = 648 sq in divide by 144, number of square inches in a square foot = 4.5 square feet, and no elbow room.

Why this shape? Because, for some reason, Wright designed this house with no right angles.

This home is also the only house in complete public view within Carmel City limits on the ocean side and finally, it is topped with baked-enamel shingles of blue-green color to blend with sea and sky. Wait, it also has its own private beach!

Mrs. Walker was quite pleased with her cabin on the rocks.  When asked in an interview for the Carmel Spectator in 1956, how much the house cost to build, she said that she couldn’t answer that because she didn’t keep track.  But she did insure the house for $25,000 which she thought would be enough. 
Thank you Carmel Heritage Society for this wonderful event.  I look forward to next year and another glorious day touring the spectacular homes of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
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*Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal September 1957 

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