“There is a certain air of mystery and romance about these glimpses of little redwood houses , with their gaily painted windows and doors which fascinates the passerby. Not the forbidding, stand-offish reserve of the character whose dignity you must not forget, but a sort of quietly mischevious,chuckling spirit of hide -and-go-seekishness. There is moreover something subtly friendly and hospitable about them”.
Taken from “Carmel at Work and Play” by Daisy Bostick
Many years ago, I glimpse such a cottage and snap a photo. This cottage is of the “hide- and -go seekishness” variety Daisy describes. In vain I search for it, only to see its “gaily painted windows and doors” on the pages of “Cottage” magazine. It is now owned by Bob and Mary Condry.
I drive past the house, ready to leave my card ,and meet Mary leaving for an errand. When I ask if I might come back and photograph her home, the reply is “I would be honored. Come tomorrow”.
I am thrilled to be invited to this M.J. Murphy cottage. Michael J. Murphy to come to Carmel to build homes. He built his first house in 1902 around the tent in which his family was living. He was only 16 at the time.
He built the Condry cottage in 1937 for Mrs. Helen Coolidge. It was 23 ft by 25 ft., 485 square feet of charm. It cost $1500.00 and was completed in 60 working days.
Bob meets me at the door and invites me into the cozy, sun dappled living room.
We make our way past the stairs,
through the dining room ( added later),
and out the dutch door with its lace curtains.
I am greeted by this glorious ocean view looking clear to Point Lobos.
Mary is just finishing lunch and invites me to sit on this rocking bench.
Their dog jumps into my lap and Bob reads the paper while Mary fills me in on local politics. She is very much involved in the upcoming local election.
She asks if I would like a tour. Of Course!!
I admire her potting bench
as we go in and she says it was built by one of the homes previous owners, who also crafted these tiles.
When I comment on the stairs,
up we go to a cozy little den at the top of the house. It looks over the tree tops
and down into the living room. Chairs cluster around the fireplace.
bookshelves overflow with books and photos of grandchildren back in Chicago.
By this time, my little dog pal is in his bed under the dining room table and still shivering.
Mary invites him up into the window seat of the bedroom, where he promptly burrows into a warm blanket and disappears from view.
The tour of the house continues. In the bath is yet another creative touch by a former owner.
Mary leads me outside to the garden. Two doors open to this patio space. The front door
And the kitchen door
with its charming homemade stone bench.
When the phone rings, I leave Mary inside and excuse myself to tour. I step off the front patio
admiring this vignette she has created. Surely I need a broom like this one.
The back garden tumbles down the hill. A stellar Jay getting a drink allows me to snap a shot.
The bench will soon be covered with flowers.
The upper garden with its angels
And the Madonna
Is completely under the canopy of a huge oak tree.
I retrieve Mary’s “lost” reading glasses from the bench and
and admire the view from this angle.
Mary walks me back to the gate.
Relaxed and informal, both cottage and owners make me feel like an old friend.