Just a step off San Carlos is Plaza San Carlos. The shops are just opening, so I decide to take photos before the shopkeepers are too busy to answer my questions.
I start at Thinker Toys
Because their hours are so flexible.
The door has just opened and everyone gathers around the check out counter. A large golden retriever gets his morning biscuit before leaving.
The 6′ Ferris Wheel in the window twirls away.
Look toward the ceiling. The train has started puffing around the track and colorful kites are flying.
Big Bird and The Cat In The Hat supervise from on high.
I ask the manger if I may take photos for the blog and he gives permission. He tells me Mrs. Ledig owns this building and taught the first pre school in Carmel. She lives in an apartment in this building and is Carmel’s oldest living resident.
No wonder the infant development section is so wonderful.
Thomas The Train Rules.
If you are staying in Carmel with children to entertain, this should be your first stop. You will find
And even Ghost stories to be told before “lights-out”.
It is a colorful shop. The toys are “hands on” and many from my era. Remember Mr. Potato Head? Gosh I loved him and you can still find him here.
I decide to zip across the Plaza to Avant Garden.
Avant Garden and Home is owned by Randi and Jeffrey Andrews and their dog Hudson. ( He has his own Facebook page)
I love their window displays and always stop to see them. They change often. This one was during the Bach Festival.
While this one was during the Pebble Beach Concours. The model,Mae,is quite versatile.
Today there is a notice on the door reminding everyone about ‘Carmel Retriever Day”.
I am greeted by Hudson. He is a gentle soul who loves to meet and greet. He is also the dog I saw getting his morning cookie at Thinker Toys.
This delightful store is chock full of paintings,
Items to make you grin.
The owners search all over the world to find items which stand out. This is also a great place to find the work of local artists .
Jeffrey takes me around and tells me a little about what I admire.
The whimsical art of Erika Oller puts a smile on my face. Erika studied painting and drawing at the National Academy of Design, School of Fine Arts in New York City among other places. Erika painted “seriously” until the early 90’s . It was then that she developed her current style that speaks to my sense of humor .
I ooh and aah over this painted furniture. The artist finds her items in thrift stores, repairs and paints them.
Some items are grouped by theme. Voila, the Hotel Paris.
Garden and Beach
Other areas are quite eclectic.
Local artist, Dave Mexicano, uses the old windows as the canvas for his watercolors.
I find them amazing and so does Hudson. Hudson has been following us all over the store and flops down with a sigh. He is so sweet that the shade pull in this painted window make me think of Hudson’s halo.
I am also quite taken with these pottery items by Dai Thomas. She has an eye for the quirky charms around Carmel and has used it to create these items – all hand turned, painted and fired by her.
This plate represents Jeffrey and Hudson when they were younger.
I can not resist these garden stakes and buy several to use in my cottage garden.
You will not regret taking time to visit this store at the SW corner of San Carlos and Seventh
I have started following a wonderful blog called Carmel By The Sea -Adventures of a Home Town Tourist. I highly recommend it.
When I first spot this cottage in 2010, It is love at first sight. When I dream of a “Happily Ever After” house, it looks just like this.
Carmel Master-builder M.J. Murphy builds this house in 1925 for Carmel businessman Frederick Ten Winkel. Mr Ten Winkel operates a furniture and hardware store on Ocean Ave. It is likely that he sees Murphy’ office and asks for a home quite like it.
“It is a one-and one-half story Tudor style building. Murphy’s Tudor cottages were less whimsical than the work of his chief competitor, Hugh Comstock, but easier to live in.”- Kent Seavey
Every time we come to Carmel, I wander by and ring the bell but my only greeter is a tiny , barking rat terrier who will guard this home with her life. I slip cards under the door each time to no avail.
I finally ask Mrs. Condry, who also lives in a Murphy cottage if she know who owns the house. Of course she does.
It is no wonder I have not been able to find the owners at home. Wayne and Phyllis Kelley have lived in the house since 1970.
They are very busy people. “Wayne served for seven years on Carmel’s Forest and Beach Commission and remains active in Friends of Carmel Forest as a volunteer, planting and caring for city trees. A member of the first docent class at Point Lobos State Park, he has conducted tours and given school presentations for 27 years.
A former board member of the Carmel Residents Association, Kelley has participated for 18 years in the group’s monthly beach cleanup, for which he has designed and made most of the unique tools used by volunteers to pick up trash and sift out the sand. This active man also enjoys wood carving at the Carmel Foundation.
Wayne and his wife Phyllis participated in the Carmel Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Program, which prepares citizens to stand ready to assist neighbors and the community in time of need. For ten years he volunteered for Hospice and he still routinely visits shut-ins on behalf of his church.
Supports the Carmel Mission and the Carmel Heritage society.”- taken from “Wayne Kelley named 2007 Citizen of the Year”
I admire the house from outside the gate
The bells jingle when I enter
And walk up the path
This really does look a lot like M.J. Murphy’s office.
To my right is a formal boxwood garden
To my left is a sign announcing An Neadin. I later find that Mr. Kelley is Irish ( how surprising) and that An Nead is in the highlands of the U.K.
Small stepping-stones lead to a bench,
And this small dog house with its marker. Clearly dogs are greatly loved in this house.
I admire the geranium planted window box and shutters.
Even a second story window sports pink geraniums.
I climb the steps to the front door
Evidence of their deep faith is everywhere.
It is here that I am “barked at” so furiously. Let me tell you there is no greater deterrent to trespassers than a barking dog.
I abandon the porch and walk around the north side of the house
And out the back gate
More bells jingling.
I love the sign on the garage door. It would seem that Mr. Kelley is a “‘car guy”.
One more glance at my dream house and I head up the street.
Even in the parking in front of the house, the Kelley’s have created a small bed of roses, hydrangea and foxglove blooming away.
This charming cottage and its garden catch my eye for the first time in August 2007. I post this photo on Flickr and it rises to Explore Interesting.
This spring I am doing some research on Carmel’s Historic Register of Homes and run across a photo of this rambling ,board-and batten, Western Ranch House named the F. A Collman House.
It begins life in 1907 as a one-room beach house designed and built by John Galen Howard, then Dean of the School of Architecture at U.C. Berkeley. The Howard’s vacation in Carmel , first in a rental home, and later in a tent on this property. “When Howard went to France in 1918 with the Red Cross, the family remained in Carmel, turning the cottage into more suitable living quarters by adding a bedroom, dining room, kitchen and bathroom.”- Kent Seavey
“By 1927 Clara Taft was the owner of the Howard cottage. Between 1926 and 1928 she had altered and made additions to the cottage, employing the services of Carmel’s most prominent women designer/builders, Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous.
In 1936, Mr. F.A.Collman, a new owner, hired Hugh Comstock to do extensive alterations to the building, bringing it into its current , rambling Western Ranch House configuration.
The only plans available for the house are those prepared by Hugh Comstock .” Kent Seavey
The garden looks better each time I walk by. I watch the lawn being mowed, shrubs trimmed and plants added.
Today I decide to go in and photograph.
The rambling nature of the cottage is already noticeable.
Window boxes are planted.
The rose garden is in bloom.
As are the rhododendron and azaleas.
I stroll done the path. The spring foliage has already been tied up until it fades. What a conscientious gardener.
Rounding the corner , the cottage comes into view.
The residents must spend all their time on this wonderful brick patio
Just look at the view they have to the southeast.
The dutch-door is a cheery red.
To the west of the door is a unique little bench
And more geranium planted window boxes.
To the east is this tiered planter filled with potted succulents and cyclamen .
The succulents love this wire basket.
Looking toward the west side of the lot is a rose arch that beckons me.
Small , fragrant roses are in bloom.
Through the arch is a path to a service area.
So I turn back around to get this great view.
There is another path to the north of the cottage
Leading to another small patio
With this sweet vignette.
You can call it “John Galen Howard” or “Clara Taft “or the “FA Collman Cottage”. I just call it charming. It is a great example of evolving design changes in Carmel’s residential architecture.
I have long admired this soft-green cottage that blends into it’s oak-shaded lot. The door is arched and planked with large,iron hinges and painted an unexpected bright “poppy” color.
Plants vigorously try to push though the grape stake fence.
I peek over the fence to see potted plants that change with the season.
The current owner has named the cottage “Dormidera” which means drowsy or sleepy.
This house is listed on the Historic Register as the Mary McDowell House but seems to be significant as an example “of the French Eclectic pictorial form in Carmel……and also as the one-time residence of Helmuth Deetjen
Photo from Smithsonian
and Helen Haight , founders and builders of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn
on the Big Sur coast”.
Kent Seavey- Preservation Consultant
I pass a colorful rooster guarding the fence,
Open the gate and take my first step on the path.
It is a sunny, warm day but cool in this sun-dappled spot.
I make my way to the front door and ring the bell.
A cobalt blue lantern hangs by the door.
I am greeted by an attractive, cheerful woman and her dog.
I explain I would like to take some shots of her garden for my blog and (this is one of the amazing things about Carmel) she offers to let me take photos inside as well.
When I say “just the garden”, she insists I come inside and sit down while she gets her shoes. Once seated she fills me in on some of the history of the house, then offers a tour and before long my camera is snapping photos of this unique cottage.
She and her husband were the first couple to work with Enid Sales to get this house on the newly created Historic Register.
She leads me down several stairs into what is now the dining room but was a kitchen and bath before they remodeled in 1997.
Her kitchen is a dream with marble countertops
and light pouring in from the large window on the north.
leads out to a deck perched up in the trees.
The bedroom on this floor houses her husband’s handsome desk.
This energetic little dog is our constant companion.
We climb the narrow stairs
to a loft
Which gives me a bird’s-eye view of the living room.
This floor has another bedroom
And bath. Both painted a soft pink.
We head out to the yard. It is an informal setting of oaks, pine and low shrubbery. There is birdsong everywhere.
I climb the stairs to the kitchen entry
and note the skull on the wall
And the knocker on the door- quite a contrast.
Down I go to continue on the path
And down more stairs
To the door of her husband’s workshop.
There are a few adornments.
A small fountain,
A “god’s eye” swaying in the breeze
And a “mirror window” by the back fence.
But , for the most part, nature does her own thing.
Back at City Hall I find the elevations that show the changes made to the exterior
And the floor plan.
What a treat to have this cottage so kindly shared with me.
If you would like to know more about the characteristics of French Eclectic style homes, click on the video
When Bill and I first come to Carmel, Doud Arcade is a home for local craftsmen with studios above and shops below.
This place has been the home of many buildings over the years. It was once the site of the Manzanita club, the main social gathering place in Carmel from 1916-1926.
It was the site of ‘Doc’ Becks’s Drug store built by Hugh Comstock.
The drug store was later demolished and M.J.Murphy built the Doud Building as an altered Spanish Colonial Revival for commercial shops.
A covered arcade, it is a cozy spot to spend time on a cool, rainy Carmel day.
At the Ocean Ave. Entrance is A.W. Shucks oyster bar.
Home of great Bloody Mary’s and Margaritas . Bill and I like to sit at the counter and visit with the cook while we eat steamed artichokes and peel-and-eat prawns.
Lets go in the arcade and do a little shopping.
First up is Kris Kringle of Carmel
Where it has been Christmas every day for over 20 years.
Next is Wicks and Wax
A candle store
Where socks are an art.
With its unique inventory and reasonable prices gets rave reviews on Yelp.
The Carmel Hat Company is one of my favorites.
They carry hats for everyone and Bill and I have hats to prove it.
I love these hats which have a tie (see above the bow) so that I can adjust it to fit my head.
Amelia’s Gifts has just opened. The service is outstanding.
One of the most colorful shops is Nasar Turkish Imports:
I covet the brass and copper for my Carmel kitchen,
Admire the mosaic chandeliers ,
And am intrigued by the Evil Eye Jewelry
The evil eye bead is an amulet that Turkish people believe protects against the evil eye which is a kind of negative power or bad energy. The idea is to protect yourself, your house, business or loved ones. If you want to use it in your house, you should hang it by the front door so visitors can see it.
But my favorite shop is Robin’s Jewelry. Home Page
Robin, with the help of her apprentice Keeza Starr, creates a constant stream of beautiful jewelry using sterling silver, semi-precious gemstones, shells and other natural materials.
These are screenshots of my two favorite pieces. Note that they are reversible. Two for the price of one.
As we talk, Robin
Under the direction of her sidekick
Fashions a magic wand for me!!!
It takes all my self-restraint to keep from waving it at everyone I see on the way home. When my self-restraint fails ,I wave it at customers in Lloyd’s Shoes. Oh dear.
At the back of the Arcade is Artemis Boots
Erkin Demir is an expert on antique carpets and folk arts of the orient and has been in business for twenty years as owner of Sultan House in Istanbul, Turkey. He has worked with the Seattle Design Center and is now opening satellite shops throughout the United States and Europe.
Everyone admires these Suzani’s boots
Named for the Persian word referring to embroidery, Suzani’s are made of velvet, colorfully embroidered by skilled artisans. He converts these beautiful handmade textiles into boots and shoes. His boots are fully lined with goatskin, with a full length zipper for easy wear.
Around the corner is Blackbird with it’s great choice of cards, art, and jewelry.
I love these laundry bags. Send your daughter off to the dorm with one of these.
And at the heart of the Arcade is Carmel Belle
It is a popular spot for breakfast and lunch.
On the way out the side door, admire the carpets.
The Douds are an old Carmel family. Francis Doud was a native of Ireland who came to Monterey in 1845. His son, James, was a prominent Monterey Peninsula real estate developer.
I long for a cottage garden for my little bungalow, Beach Music.
True, I once designed gardens in Kansas City but here the plant palette is completely different. Most of the gardens I designed were on spacious suburban lots or country gardens on acreage.
I have seen her work in a friend’s garden and am impressed.
We start the process by e-mail and photos.
Kathleen lives near me so she visits the cottage, sends me an extensive questionnaire to fill out and we start.
We come to Carmel for several weeks so I can join in the fun of creating.
Kathleen takes me to the cottage garden she has designed at Primrose Cottage.
It is April and spring is here. I peek over the garden gate. Oh my, this is what I have in mind for my cottage.
Sweet peas climb the picket fence.
Roses climb the arbor.
We open the gate and walk up to the front door to get permission to take pictures.
The little cottage is trimmed in blue
and the plantings,
And shutters echo the color.
The owner is having coffee with a friend inside the cozy dining room that overlooks the garden. She gives us permission so back down the path we go.
Kathleen leaves and I take my time roaming around.
Flower boxes overflow with ferns, cyclamen,and fuchsia.
Behind the brilliant, purple blooms of Senecio, this sign bids me welcome.
I admire the bird house.
Beside the bench
is a small vignette composed of a bird bath
and the Buddha.
California poppies cheer me.
These garden lights will help one find the path at night.
The hose is neatly tucked away in a hose pot.
I round the circular planting bed in the center of the garden. Boxwood lines the path.
Staked Delphinium will bloom almost all summer in Carmel’s cool climate.
The tuteur is another great focal point
It’s height emphasized by the Calla Lilly planted nearby.
And Myosotis add to the mix.
The small back yard is charming. Why have I not put oilcloth on my table? What an easy way to add color.
Kathleen has designed a raised bed around the space and filled it with shade loving plants.
Time to go. I make my way down the garden path,
close the gate and give a backward glance to Primrose Cottage garden.
“The cottage garden; most for use designed, Yet not of beauty destitute.”