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October 25, 2011 / Linda Hartong


I am walking in the Mission Trail Nature Preserve with a fellow gardener when we see a trail marked “Flanders Mansion”. We follow the trail up a hill and round the bend to this sight.

What a delight. There is no one around so we explore.

The handsome front door sits in ivy covered walls

with the door knocker that announces “Flanders”.

We walk around the north side of the home

and see the remains of a boxwood parterre.

Windows can barely keep out the ivy.

Small wildflowers are breaking through the pavement trying to reclaim the property.

Another door opens on the west to a patio that has seen many wonderful sunsets over the ocean.

Everywhere we look we see graceful architectural touches.

Finally we leave the grounds through a huge cedar hedge

and come onto an open meadow

with more fabulous views.

We ponder over this stone

– perhaps a memorial to several dogs buried here

and go on the path once more.

It is only later that I read about Flanders Mansion also known as “Outlands”.

In 1924, Henry H. Gutterson was hired by Paul and Grace Flanders to design their home and gardens. “Outlands”, an English cottage design which is a substyle of the Tudor Revival, was one of the first structures in Carmel of this pictorial style of architecture and is listed on the National Register of historic structures.

In 1924, the Flanders commenced work on their mansion, called “Outlands” due to its solitary location outside of downtown above what is now Mountain View and Forest Streets at the top of the hill accessed by a small bridge over the creek.  The mansion, 8000 square feet on huge grounds/acreage was in stark contrast to the small beach lots of artists, professors and other escapees who arrived at the turn of the century through the 1920s. The Tudor Revival, English Cottage mansion includes seven bedrooms, five baths, lovely living room and dining room with fireplaces and teak floors, all designed in the Arts and Crafts style of the time. These photos of the interior are  by Bill Englander.

The mansion was completed in 1925 at a cost of $17,500.  The basic materials for the home were of the new thermolite block, an innovative block created locally, which was is fireproof and very seismic resistant as well. The tile roof was made by Gladdy McBean, Berkeley style tiles. These are still being manufactured.

Grace and Paul Flanders loved to entertain in their new home and were a lively part of the Carmel scene. 

She and Paul Flanders had only one child, Barry, who died at age 11 very unhappily.  

In 1944 Paul Flanders suffered a major heart attack and died in Washington, DC.  He never saw his beloved Flanders and Carmel again.  Grace lived on at Flanders until 1967, in generally very poor health much of the time.

Upon her death, the estate tried three times to get a city approval for its development plans without success.  Finally, in 1972 the estate sold the 15 acres around the mansion to the city of Carmel for $275,000. The Flanders Foundation formed to protect this treasure. For over a dozen years,the foundation and the city have waged battle over the fate of the historic mansion.  Although the city would like to sell it for use as a single-family home, the foundation argues that the city might offer it to public agencies and there is the possibility that a government agency might buy the estate and turn it into a halfway house or affordable housing. By the time I post this blog, the 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose may have ruled on the issue, determining yet the next chapter in the Flanders Mansion’s history.



Leave a Comment
  1. kathysue / Oct 25 2011 6:44 pm

    Linda this is so interesting. I would hope that this wonderful estate could be better used than for a half way house. It is so lovely and isolated. You show us so many wonderful parts of Carmel that I would never know were there unless you had written about them. Thank you for your continued efforts to inform us of your wonderful area that I call ,”HEAVEN!” xo Kathysue

  2. Nita@ModVintageLife / Oct 26 2011 3:31 am

    What a fabulous building and grounds. I can’t imagine this as a halfway house. That would make me want to mess up my life so I could end up there! What a lovely setting.

  3. Gretta Faun / Oct 26 2011 3:29 pm

    Such a beauty and privacy. This house has a very intresting history. Thank you, Linda.

  4. Jacqui / Nov 3 2011 3:32 pm

    Let us hope they make the right decision!

  5. John F. Plunkett / Feb 9 2012 5:33 am

    These are truly enchanting pictures. Both Paul and Grace Flanders had been married previously. Paul was a widower, with a young daughter when he and Grace were married in 1920. Grace had no other children than Barry. She is buried alongside Barry at the El Encinal Cemetery in Monterey, in accordance with the instructions of her will. Paul’s remains were cremated and scattered at sea. The daughter, Alicia Flanders, lived in the home from the time of its completion until the mid 1930’s when she married Steve Plunkett of San Rafael.

  6. Michellekiba / Dec 11 2012 3:19 pm

    A halfway hosue is a noble concept but that would be sinful to waste such a treasure that way. It would make the most wonderful retreat or a wedding location.

    Hey wait! As the only surviving member of the family, isnt the daughter Alicia entitled to the house?

    • Linda Hartong / Dec 11 2012 11:59 pm

      Good question. I will do a little research on Alicia. It looks like she died in 1984 in Los Angeles

      • John Flanders Plunkett / Mar 6 2021 9:04 am

        She died at age 70 in Long Beach. She was my mother

  7. Sheri Rocha / Jan 30 2013 12:10 am

    Thats so sad, I went by the mansion today with my husband, if walls could only talk, I hope they restore this property to its grandlore, its so beautiful and peaceful. I sure would like to know more about what happend to Barry…My email is

  8. Shannon / May 20 2013 2:19 am

    My post here is two-fold. First, I came across this article while searching for information on the Flanders family. I have a beautiful drawing of the San Carlos mission done by one Angelo Hewetson. and gifted to Paul Flanders. I contacted the foundation to get more information but never heard from them and was wondering if anyone more local might have some information. Second, I’m wondering why the house could not be turned into an upscale B and B, or a wedding facility? Not the best use of it, for sure, but better than being dormant uncared for. Anyway, I hope they find someone to love and care for it in the manner it deserves. Thanks for the informative article and lovely pictures.

  9. Tiffany / Oct 10 2015 7:58 pm

    I lived in this house back in the late 80s to early 90s. The house is haunted! The story’s I have from living in it would raise hair on your neck. It is a wonderful house! I have many great memories, but I also have scary ones.

    • Linda Hartong / Oct 11 2015 11:10 pm

      Well some pretty sad things happened there. I love your comment

    • Sheri / Jan 5 2018 11:30 pm

      It would not surprise me if it was haunted!

  10. J. Molina / Apr 7 2016 10:24 pm

    I just discovered this home with my friend last weekend after we were trying to find a nice place to walk his dog. Thank you so much for the information! So sad and yet very lovely all at the same time. I hope that it ends up being a place for all to enjoy and not a single family home.

  11. Lori Hickman / Aug 23 2018 2:44 am

    I have dreams that I will one day move to the Carmel area and completely restore the entire estate and turn the grounds into the most magical “Healing and Meditation” gardens that the world would ever see! With fountains and flowers and cobblestone pathways. Building a Healing Center much like the one my Husband and I built here in Illinois. Leaving the property in the hands of the city of Carmel, and bring Beauty, Peace and Loving caring detail to such a magnificent place on earth!

  12. John Plunkett / Mar 1 2022 8:39 pm

    I first saw the house in 1943. My mother, Alicia Flanders Plunkett, and I drove drove from Malibu to Carmel. Grace Flanders was my mother’s step mother. Grandfather Paul Flanders was a Commandeer in the Navy. He served in the Navy in WWI and remained in the Naval Reserve during the 20’s and 30’s. Grace was 10 years older than Paul.The provisions orf Grace’s will stipulated that the property be sold and the proceeds be divided equally between my mother and Grace’s sister in law, Helen(Yodee)Johnson.

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