“God Is In The Details”- The Arts and Crafts home of Charles S. Greene
A favorite pastime in Carmel is walking up and down the streets to look at the houses. It is great fun but can result in neck whiplash. Unlike my Kansas City subdivision, houses next door to each other are completely different in style. Carmel encourages this and so a stroll down one street can turn into an architectural tour.
Down the street from my 1949 bungalow I found the most remarkable brick home with so many unusual details, it made my head spin. Better yet it was not hidden behind a fence or behind dense shrubbery.
It is plopped down on its lot in a “matter of fact” way that said “here I am.”
As I usually do when I am intrigued by a new subject, I went to a bookstore to see if I could find a book about Carmel’s homes.
I highly recommend
Cottages by the Sea: The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community
I learned that this was a home built in 1923 by Charles S. Greene. He was living in Pasadena at the time with his family and was part of the now famous architectural firm of Greene and Greene.
He and his brother had perfected a “ style they synthesized the Arts & Crafts movement, Japanese elements drawn from temple and imperial architecture, and a casual California sensibility that de-emphasized the strict delineation between interior and exterior spaces.” Linda Paul
By the time Charles built this house his firm of Green & Greene was for all practical purposes, finished.
With commissions hard to come by, Charles moved north to Carmel to pursue the life he had alway wanted, that of a Bohemian artist.
He started a redwood bungalow which is now behind the simple rectangular brick studio you see here.
Charles was great at recycling. The brick came from a hotel that burned down in nearby Pacific Grove. Charles and his son, Patrickson, cleaned just enough of the old mortar off the bricks to create a dappled red-and-white effect.
The roof tiles were left over from one of his jobs.
The oak and teak wood were given to him by a SanFranciso lumber firm that he had used for many of his projects. The teak wood in the arched and carved front door you can see here.
I love the variety in the windows from arched bottle-glass
to rectangular bottle glass
oeil-de-beouf bottle-glass windows (relatively small oval windows, typically for an upper storey, and sometimes set on a roof slope )
and even an inset window niche.
I can see the Spanish influence in the arches of his courtyard fence reminiscent of the arches I saw in the San Carlos Mission’s corredors. And note the small bits of tile placed in the brick. Charles’ son, Did, helped with this project.
After Charles and his wife died, the studio went on the market as part of the estate . With real estate developer poised to purchase and demolish the house, Charles” children managed to outbid them. His son Did and Did’s wife moved into the house where Did once worked with his father as a boy.
More information on the Charles s. Green House along with photos of the interior can be seen in Cottages by the Sea by Linda Paul.
The Charles Sumner Greene Studio is on the Carmel Register of Historic Resources. It is located on Lincoln Street 3 N.E. 11th Avenue.
As the quote says
“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
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