The Bigland House is the owner- designed home of noted Carmel builder Frederick Bigland.Although there is not a lot known about this master-builder, we know he came to Carmel from his native England seeking relief from asthma and built several projects before leaving for a climate more suitable for his condition.
I first notice the Bigland House when I am wandering around by the Forest Theater. This example of Tudor “storybook” style sits below the road in a wooded glen .
It is a rambling house with half-timbering , oversize roof shakes and a randomly laid up Carmel stone chimney. “A native of England, Bigland had first hand knowledge of vernacular Medieval farmsteads and cottages” ( Kent Seavey) and it clearly shows in this house built in 1926.
I see that a renovation is beginning and note the progress each time I walk by. What a handsome house. Naturally I point my camera over the fence and snap some photos.
The house does indeed “ramble” all over its lot.
All the unique and authentic light fixtures on the exterior enchant me.
I am happily surprised by an e-mail from the owners, Beverly and Steve Conrad. Beverly has read my post on the Forest Theater. She grew up in Carmel . And now she has returned just in time to renovate this home with the help of her general contractor, Wilfried Adams. She has a passion for historical preservation. The Dr.s Conrad are throwing a party for all the tradespeople who worked in the house and she invites both Bill and I. We are not able to come but get an “open “ invitation.
This trip I get a tour. Beverly greets me at the front door with a smile and a hug .
She leads me into a stunning , large living room.
I could plop down on the leather couch, put my feet up and just admire for a while but my tour guide is moving me on around the room.
Yes, all these items so artfully arranged on the mantle
right down to the stuffed pheasant.
Later when I remark on her ability to create small “still life” studies she confides that her first degree was a B.A. In Art (design) and that before she went back to school in Psychology, she worked in retail.
The chair is upholstered in Ralph Lauren fabric acquired on e-Bay.
The hand carved medieval chairs and table- purchased on e-Bay .
The small unusual three-legged chair - e-Bay and shipped from a cottage in England.
She has a special passion for old books, globes, stained glass and light fixtures.
This shade is leather and hand painted with a Venetian scene.
Now we go ahead into the dining room .
In addition to the “still life”,
the table holds information on the home and a list of those she wants to thank for the renovation,including the afore-mentioned Wilfried Adams and Robert Shuler her landscape designer.
Heading into the kitchen, Beverly points out this corner cupboard from England via e-Bay.
Just feast your eyes on this.
About this time, Steve ( Dr. Steve Conrad a Orthopedist) comes in this back door with the dogs.
While he corrals them,we retrace our steps through the dining room and up a few stairs to a small landing with its special lighting,
and doors to the bath and master bedroom.
I love, love, love the bathroom tiles which are original to the house.
Now we enter the Master Bedroom bathed in light from two exposures.
When I again remark on her ability to display her acquisitions,
she fesses up to doing her PH.D dissertation on the French Post-impressionist artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (a quantitative and qualitative psychobiography about his life using “Control-Mastery” Theory).
Her PH.D is in Psychology ( she is a marriage and family therapist and has practiced for 25 years). Wow!
A small deck opens off this bedroom and we have a view of the patio below.
Up one more short flight of stairs in the guest room
with its period lighting,
Ralph Lauren Bedding ( seconds on e-Bay)
Artfully arranged objects
and yes, “She found them on e-Bay”.
I can only get a shot of the bathroom by shooting into the mirror.
I love the hardware in this room and am surprised to find it comes from…..Anthropologie.
We are now proceeding down stairs to the bonus room on the lower level. This is the “Conrad” version of toys in the attic.
She has collected antique toys,
a puppet theater from England,
and dress up clothes
much to the delight of her grandchild.
There is even a wine cellar down here.
We exit the house on this level to the patio
and before we go ahead I snap a shot of another unique ,period light fixture and piece of stained glass.
Now I am treated to the lovely garden Robert Schuler is helping her create.
We pass hydrangea
and shade loving cranesbill
And climb up to the fountain
where a self-satisfied looking frog is spitting out a stream of water.
We part at the front gate, again with a hug.
I have become a huge fan of this talented, determined and resourceful woman.
When I get home, I log onto e-Bay immediately to start my own treasure hunt.