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June 12, 2011 / Linda Hartong

CARMEL’S FIRST COURTYARD -THE COURT OF THE GOLDEN BOUGH

“Architecture is the most important window dressing of a community”.

The Carmel Pine Cone

1926

Between 1922 and 1925 the face of Carmel’s business district changed dramatically from the main street of a typical western town “into an ocean avenue of beauty and artistry”. – Perry Newberry.

It begin with Edward Kuster’s Theater of the Golden Bough and its surrounding courtyard of small commercial shops.

Lawyer and concert cellist, Edward Kuster learned of Carmel from his ex-wife , Una and her husband Robinson Jeffers. He moved here in 1920 and in 1922 built the Court of the Golden Bough on Ocean Avenue, incorporating little shops like he had seen in Europe.

This is hardly one of the hidden courtyards of Carmel, although I suspect few tourists see the complete courtyard. It is a complex mix of unique buildings.

The boxy mass that once was his experimental theater is set at the rear of the commercial courtyard allowing small “old world” shops and trees to screen its size from Ocean Ave.

First I see the colorful signage set between the Cottage of Sweets and Porta Bella’s patio dining.

The Court is bounded on the east by a Tudor style building.

It was commissioned by novelist Hary Leon Wilson. He had Lee Gottfried design it to house his wife’s flower shop, The Bloomin’ Basement.

The first floor that once housed Sadies Bar is now Porta Bella- an elegant Mediterranean restaurant.PortaBella Restaurant 


The second floor is occupied by Kids by the Sea 

I climb the stairs to visit the shop

and am treated to a wonderful view of the interior of the courtyard.

The dog on the stairway opposite me is so still he seems like a statue.

From here I look across the roof tops catching some fun details I have not seen before.

I go back down by the Cottage of Sweets.

It was built by Lee Gottfried to house a weavers  studio and later rolled down Ocean Ave. on logs to serve as the theater box office.

Looking left I admire the pink confection built by Michael J. Murphy. It has the little turret

and colorful tile placed in the stucco.

Kuster looked to the illustrations of Edmond Dulac in a book of swedish fold tales for this

design. It now houses  The Tea Rose Collection

 

“Jane Austen At Home” is a new home store that is very inviting. It is in small spaces on either side of what was the entrance to the Golden Bough Theater.

I keep going through the arched passage way and see this sign

Oh wow! There is still more. A large shady courtyard with a women’s clothing shop called Mon Ami

My sister-in-law and niece find some wonderful clothing here.

www.monamieconsign.com

But I am pointing my camera at this amazing window box

I walk out a little passage way to my right and find myself outside the Court and on Monte Verde St. Now this part is “secret”.

9 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. jacqueline / Jun 13 2011 7:55 pm

    Oh, I love this place so much!! Beautiful photographs. Thanks so much for sharing……

  2. jeanette sclar / Jun 18 2011 12:17 am

    Such a never-endig source of fun!

  3. Kimberly / Jun 19 2011 7:32 pm

    What a wonderful, articulate essay you composed on our fabulous courtyard. I am the owner of Mon Amie…consignment boutique located in the lower section of the courtyard. Being that we are a bit off the beaten path of Ocean Avenue, often times our courtyard gets missed. For those unknowing, I feel that what makes Carmel so special and unique are the secret passageways and hidden courtyards with thier adorable architechture and characture just reeking of charm! Thank you for enlightening us all!

  4. Eric / Apr 4 2017 3:59 pm

    What a nice trip into the courtyard of beautiful spaces. Your tour brought back memories of Germany for me. The design and style of the shops, their windows, the stairways, – it all reminds me of being home. I must come visit Carmel soon.

  5. Subhra Mandal / Jul 11 2017 1:22 pm

    Excellent property..Would like to stay for 2 nights….How to book….

  6. Subhra Mandal / Jul 11 2017 3:03 pm

    What a fantastic courtyard….I am Subhra from India….would love to stay for two nights in Hansel and Gratel

    • Linda Hartong / Jul 11 2017 9:45 pm

      Hansel and Gratel are not for rent.

      • Subhra Mandal / Jul 13 2017 2:17 am

        Ok……Can you pls suggest any inn with the view of the ocean….? Thank you.

  7. Linda Hartong / Jul 13 2017 4:41 pm

    colonial Terrace or La Playa, Carmel Cottage Inn,Sea View Inn

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