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September 14, 2011 / Linda Hartong


I first catch a glimpse of this cottage while in the car with my husband. Of course, I politely ask that he pull over so I can take some shots of this charmer. (STOP THE CAR RIGHT NOW!) 

It is only later, when reading Linda Leigh Paul’s “Cottages by the Sea”, that I realize this is another of Hugh Comstock’s cottages.

It goes by several names. Sometimes I see it referred to as the Elspeth Rose Cottage. Elspeth watched Hugh build the cottage called “Our House” and was so taken with it that she asked him to build her one that is almost a twin- thus leading to it’s 3rd name The Twin On Palou.  She has Hugh add a dining room to this cottage and does not add electricity until 1935, even though it is completed in 1929 just before the stock market crashes.

Today I am walking to the house armed with my camera and my calling card, hoping to find the owner at home.  This cottage sits on a triangular lot. I approach from the front

and climb the stone steps. 

I knock in vain and so proceed to the north end of the house.

Once again I bemoan my short stature as I try to peek over the high grape stake fence. I lift the camera over my head and shoot wildly and do come up with a shot of this wonderful bay window.

 A Carmel Stone pathway winds through the narrow front garden.

I admire the wood casement windows with their lace curtains,

flower ledges,

and hand carved shutters.

I love the texture and color of the stucco facade.

Once again at the front door, I twist this knob

and hear the bell ring.

While I wait ,I admire the porch lamp

and the decorative painting of the cottage name.

I try the bell again and then slip my card under the door and unlatch the garden gate,

carefully stepping on the one- stone-wide path that leads to the Carmel stone patio at the south end of the cottage .

Once again I admire a unique Comstock chimney of irregularly place stones.

Beneath the small curved window I can see a chute for firewood.

I turn my attention away from the house to the garden.

Again a narrow path lined with boxwood leads me to the focal point

– a sundial.

I am aware of being closed observed by an inquisitive Jay.

I go back up the path that leads toward the west.

Notice the metal window hooks hanging from the windows.

This is a Comstock trademark. His office was located near a forge which made much of his hardware.

Here french doors open off of what appears to be a kitchen.

Potted herbs are conveniently near by.

I can hear the pleasant sound of water through this locked gate.

So I place my lens against the slats to get this shot. 

As I exit the back gate,

I am aware that the Jay is not the only one observing me.

Nearby neighbors are casually coming and going but keeping an eye on me. I close the gate and hope nobody calls the police. 

A week after we return home I get a call from Jon Hagstrom, the owner of the home. He has found my card and is amused with his neighbors’ reports that “ some lady was taking pictures of your house”.

Jon is quite the charmer and regales me with stories of Carmel for over an hour. He is a retired airline pilot and a history buff who has collected many books about Carmel over the years. He gives me permission to share these photos with you.

His last statement tells me a lot about his character. “I have made very few changes to this cottage as I consider myself a steward of the house.” 

Wow! I really like this guy. If you would enjoy seeing some photos of the interior of this cottage and the blueprints, you can find them in Linda Leigh Paul’s book available in bookstores and on Amazon. 

Cottages by the Sea, The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community


Leave a Comment
  1. Judy / Sep 14 2011 1:55 am

    I thoroughly enjoy each and every cottage that we tour. I was in Carmel last year and couldn’t get enough of it!

  2. kathysue / Sep 14 2011 5:26 am

    Linda what a charming cottage with so much character, It is so fun to follow along with you while you discover all these treasures of Carmel thank you for the guided tour, Kathysue

  3. kjm / Sep 14 2011 8:24 am

    This is one of my favorite houses on your blog. I love the front door and the shutters. It looks like such a friendly little house. You make my day with your posts!

  4. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) / Sep 15 2011 1:30 pm

    Linda, just love, love, love these Carmel home and garden tours. Only problem is I want to LIVE in every single house you’ve shown us. 🙂 It’s obvious the folks who live in these homes are truly special people…such wonderful souls to care for these romantic, whimsical cottages. Please keep taking us on these delightful tours…love each and every one!

  5. Annie Westlake / Sep 17 2011 9:38 pm

    I would gladly come and clean Mr. Hagstrom’s cottage every week, gratis, if he would just let me sit in his garden and revel in the beauty of the surroundings!

  6. Diane Kremer / Jul 23 2012 3:26 am

    Linda, years ago when we lived n Carmel, I was in this wonderful little cottage. It is just as whimsical and authentic as the outside and the owner, I think it was Jon, just as charming. I am a local interior designer so it was a dream visit. We had build a more serious Eureopen style home on Monte Verde between Santa Lucia & 13th in 1991 with leaded glass windows and French hardware, Carmel stone,etc. Just love the look and feel of Carmel. You may have seen it. We now live in Paciic Grove but I still work in down town Carmel. So I get the best of both worlds. I enjoy your blog very much. Diane Kremer

  7. Kim Smith / Jul 26 2012 2:28 am

    I’ve only recently discovered the existence if these beautiful cottages in Carmel while searching the web for my fantasy cottage. I have always dreamed of my own private escape from the craziness of life, a quiet retreat. So now, the last thing I do before falling asleep at night is look at your wonderful cottage photographs and imagine myself nestled inside of one. I hope to visit Carmel one day and see these beautiful cottages in person. Thank you from a harried mom in northern New York

  8. Kelly / Sep 19 2015 6:13 am

    Thank You
    For your courage to take such lovely pictures and for the owner to share.


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