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March 4, 2012 / Linda Hartong


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.

It is now that she shares her secret for furnishing in such style. Don’t even try to guess. It is e-Bay and the Alameda Flea Market. Antiques, Collectibles, Shows, Clothing, Food, By the Bay, Alameda …

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.

And this

And 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,

display nook,

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,

Beautiful mirrors

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.


Leave a Comment
  1. Robin Titus Carr / Mar 4 2012 9:48 pm

    What a great house. Loved every nook and cranny!

  2. Carolyn / Mar 4 2012 9:49 pm

    Love the house and admire Beverly Conrad’s style. The decor is a great fit for this enchanting Storybook home. Wonderful collection of accessories and antiques.

  3. Linda Floyd / Mar 5 2012 1:38 am

    Hello Beverly…this is LInda Floyd, Susan Hill’s friend! She has told me so much about your cottage and now I finally get to see why she loves it so. Thank you to Linda Hartong for taking such great pictures and allowing us to see how very talented you are…and very resourceful! Love all the great finds, especially your art! You will have to come and visit Biddlestone Cottage, another of LInda’s photo tours from last September 9th. Hope to see your cottage in person one day!
    Linda Floyd
    Biddlestone Cottage…and a big thank you Linda H. for another amazing post!

  4. Carol and Chuck Jenkins / Mar 5 2012 4:10 am

    Hi Beverley and Steve – It’s Carol. We had a wonderful visit with you in November. I couldn’t stop looking around – everywhere, there was a well-placed treasure. It is so interesting and captivating. The outside looks like a cottage and garden in a Grimms fairytale – only with a good ending. You know how much I loved sitting in that wooden 3 legged chair to read the newspaper in the mornings with the light streaming through those beautiful front windows and Steve playing jazz on the piano. The chair doesn’t look comfortable, but it most definitely is. You put your heart, soul and talent into your cottage and you should be very proud. But most importantly, you share it with your family and friends who enjoy the ouevre and the both of you very much. We can’t wait to come back. Much love! carol and chuck

  5. Annie Westlake / Mar 5 2012 7:34 am

    I would like to fill out an application to become your assistant, servant, fetcher, flunky, groupie, or anything else you might need. You have the best life!

  6. janet bishop- magina / Mar 5 2012 1:05 pm

    Thanks Linda, another great photo tour 🙂

  7. Gretta Faun / Mar 5 2012 3:26 pm

    This house is like a small museum. So many beautiful things in one place. I am going to San Francisco this April and Carmel by the sea is on my “must to visit” list. This is my first trip to the West coast. Very very excited. Like many people who follow this blog, I am enchanted by this interesting town and fairytail cottages . I didn’t even know this town existed until I stumbled upon this blog from ” Google images” then I was looking for ” cottages by the sea” last summer. Thank you, Linda.

  8. Ruth / Mar 5 2012 7:37 pm

    Dear Linda, Thanks for showing us Beverly Conrad’s wonderful treatment of the Frederick Bigland House. I love every bit of it! All the best, Ruth

    • Len goldberg / Apr 3 2015 5:14 am

      who was Frederick Bigland and did he build this wonderful house? about what year???? Would love to know!!!! PLEASE!!!!!

      • beverley Conrad / Dec 8 2015 2:36 pm

        Hi Len, I think he built it about 1926 for himself and family. I went to Carmel High (grad of 1965) with his granddaughter who came through and said it looks exactly the same. The lot had two other structures on it and must have been lovely. Perched on the hill, it is sunny in the back, if not hot these days, and cool in the house. He came to Carmel after the earthquake in Santa Barbara in early 1900’s. If you would like, contact me at for more info and your own tour! Bev Conrad

  9. Mollie Raih / Apr 29 2015 10:27 pm

    Bev, c’est extraordinaire ce tu as accompli avec une maisonette de reve! Est-ce c’est votre residence principale a ce point-ci? J’ai envie de passer un sejour a Carmel afin de la voir! Tom va bientot prendre sa retraite, et on a besoin de faire des projets:) Bisous! Mollie

  10. Len goldberg / Apr 30 2015 8:13 pm

    Bev, I know of some ghosts from the past…approximately from 1931. It’s a beautiful and haunting story and it has to do with Frederick Bigland,

    • beverley Conrad / Dec 8 2015 2:37 pm

      Oh my do tell!!

      • Len / Dec 9 2015 6:26 pm

        Once upon a time Carmel by the sea..

        Bev, I know of some ghosts from the past…approximately from 1931. It’s a beautiful and haunting story and it has to do with Frederick Bigland,

        Oh my do tell!!

        It’s a story written in a diary of a young girl who was 16 in 1931.

        Her name was Patricia Anderson. You must keep an open mind for its time.

        It’s a story that has no winners or losers. And yet it’s so easy to fill in the blanks…

        Chances are… we would be all wrong…

        The cast of characters:

        Emma Atkins

        Edith Anderson

        Dick Carlett

        Robert Atkins

        Bud Clifton

        George Leukson

        George Payton

        Bud Waters

        John Little

        Charles Anderson

        Paul Carroll

        Dorothy Bigland

        Frederick Bigland

        Patricia Anderson also known as Patty…

        1931 calendar year corresponds with 2015 calendar year…
        Starting off October 31, 1931

        Saturday, October 31, 1931
        3:15 AM.
        Dick and Hap were here for an hour at noon. Tonight we went to the party at Pine Inn. Dick actually danced with me. He’s going to make a good dancer. We played bridge, too. Dick hasn’t as nice manners as Johnny has.
        Oh, Elisa was there with Al Sparks, Johnny Rockwell, and Happy.
        We stayed at Pine Inn until two o’clock and then the only other girl and I and Stu, Dick, Johnny, and Hap went over to Monterey and PB.
        We pulled a woodpile over and rolled a barrel down Carmel Hill.
        Ha, ha! A couple of times I had to kiss everyone one of them goodnight. I furthermore came in with the Milkman at 3:15. I was so cold I took a bath.
        ~ * ~
        Sunday, November 1, 1931
        I must keep myself SIMONY for the work I have to do in the world. My name, “Sunshine,” is what I will give.
        Jane is in bed with a bad cold, so I couldn’t have Sunday supper. Helen is so awful at house cleaning that I have been going around eternally picking up after her.
        Patty and Reed go around a lot together now.
        Mother came back from Yosemite tonight. She had a swell time. She heard that Mr. Bruce’s horse fell.
        I asked Dick to bring my books up to me and he didn’t come until about 10, so I pretended to be very mad.
        Helen said that Marianne Jackson on Pine Street was going with the Cal boy and was quite popular.
        ~ * ~
        Monday, November 2, 1931
        I am simply exhausted with doing housework. I had to stay home with Jane and wash, cook, shop, iron, clean, fed, did dishes, and I practiced 1 1/2 hours. I want to go to school tomorrow and rest.
        I nearly got into a tantrum trying to play Alberto’s arrangement of the Anensky Verse.
        I adore my Beethoven Sonata – Quasi una Fantasia.
        Dick phoned. He is going out for football, so he said if I would stay here Saturday night he would take me over Sunday.
        Frederick came to dinner. He is a very good talker.
        ~ * ~
        Tuesday, November 3, 1931
        No entry.
        ~ * ~
        Wednesday, November 4, 1931
        No entry.
        ~ * ~
        Thursday, November 5, 1931
        I balanced my checking account and I have $86. I also have $85 in my savings account. I don’t see what good it does me. I just use my checking account for lessons and never touch my savings.
        ~ * ~
        Friday, November 6, 1931
        Patty and Reed act like perfect ninnies. They are going south tonight. Dick came about 7:15. We rode around Pebble Beach, all the time making slams at each other.
        Then after a while we stopped up the woods and talked and kissed goodbye. I adore the way he kisses . . . He has a perfect technique too. He said he never thought he’d miss a girl like me, like he is going to miss me. He said a lot of lovely things.
        Oh, I hate to leave Carmel.
        ~ * ~
        Sunday, November 7, 1931
        A very sad girl in Watsonville. Oh well, lots of people are worse off. We moved over today . . . Oh, foo.
        There are lots of lovely “Sky and Hills.”
        I saw Louis Manuel’s son get kicked in the head by a horse in the stables. Gosh. We took him to the hospital and they had to perform a major operation. A fractured skull. The horse is very mean and heels just flew.
        I miss Dick –
        We had dinner at the Cutter’s.

  11. Marcia Shortt / Dec 8 2015 1:25 am

    …….and this one too. I once dated an artist who lived here. We were both students at MPC in the early 1960’s. His name was Dick Robertson and I loved that little house.

    Thanks for this one too. You sure know how to pick em.

    Marcia Shortt

  12. Janiel Butler / Nov 28 2017 4:38 pm

    Enchanting. As a fan of Art Nouveau, Mission/ Craftsman, I’m frankly a bit envious of the fantastic home. It’s got such character, and the homeowners have a really good (highly trained) eye for the subtle nuances of this lovely abode.

    • Linda Hartong / Nov 28 2017 7:54 pm

      Well researched and restored by fine craftsmen.

      • beverly conrad / Nov 28 2017 9:27 pm

        Oh, Thank you so much! It was a joy restoring this home to become even more than it was before. It took 9 months of loving work and “shopping.” Flea Markets and ebay were the sources for furniture and the like and Wilfried Adams and Robert Shuler were the Contractor and designer, respectively. I always appreciate the curious: Please let me know if you would like more info: 650 888-6680, Be Conrad

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