Skip to content
July 20, 2012 / Linda Hartong

Cottages by the Sea – The Handmade Homes of Carmel

When we first move to Carmel, I know very little about the history of the homes and cottages I walk by every day. But I do know that they enchant me. No two are alike and the variety and character of the homes attract my eye, my camera and my curiosity.

One day while browsing the books at The Pilgrim’s Way Bookstore, I spot a new book in the “local interest” section. It is a book by Linda Leigh Paul called 

“Cottages by the Sea”

The handmade homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist community”. 

I buy my copy and immediately I am knee-deep in a study of Carmel’s architecture. I use this book as a reference and try to find the 34 homes described within. My curiosity is no longer restricted by gates and walls and I adventure with Ms. Paul.

The book is widely available in your local bookstore or on Amazon. Cottages by the Sea, The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community

The book starts with the Carmel Mission

and explores the Spanish influence in Carmel homes. 

In 1900 Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers formed the Carmel Development Co.  They targeted school teachers with their first marketing pamphlets. They also enticed artists, poets, and actors and attracted “Bohmemians” who have defined much of Carmel’s character.

After the San Francisco earthquake,

photograph by Arnold Genthe

George Sterling,

 Jack London,

Mary Austin,

 and Arnold Genthe 

among others, settled in Carmel and built their homes. 

In 1919 poet Robinson Jeffers built Tor House with the help of M.J. Murphy and later he built Hawk Tower with his sons.

Ms. Paul has some wonderful interior photos. These are hard to come by . Interior photos are only allowed once a year during the Garden Party.

Carmel’s beautiful natural setting and bohemian atmosphere attracted many unconventional men and women and the homes reflect this .

Edward Kuster , Una Jeffers’ first husband, arrived and built his beautiful castle so close to theirs and of such similar stone that to this day a sign in the front yard directs tourists down the hill to Tor House.

Bark House was designed by the owner, Mary Cone , a talented amateur  designer and built by Lee Gottfried in 1922. Redwood bark from Big Sur forms the exterior. The interior shots by Radek Kurzaj show a refined interior of untreated redwood that glows in the natural light.

Hob Nob is a Tudor-style stucco, thought to have been designed and built by one of Carmel’s early craftsmen, Ernest Bixler.

Ms. Paul features four of Hugh Comstock’s cottages.


Our House


And a tiny Cape Cod called “Edith’s House”

She shows M.J. Murphy’s masterpiece, Hasenyager House.

Gate House is one of my favorites shown in the book. It took me ages to find it and it’s origins are still somewhat mysterious.

I have often walked by Whitecaps and Nightcaps on Scenic Dr.  Built in the 1980’s, Whitecaps was built first and Nightcaps followed as a getaway for the children and grandchildren of the owners of Whitecaps.

image by Google Earth

Read about all the wonderful planning that went into Stone House built in 1990. The interior photos are stunning.

Placed last is the Charles S. Greene House and Studio built by the  Charles Greene of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The interior shows the attention to detail for which he is famous. Almost demolished, the home was saved by Charles’ children and repaired by his son Did.

Ms. Paul features 34 homes in this wonderful book.


Leave a Comment
  1. Lexie / Jul 20 2012 9:26 pm

    My family has been in Carmel since the 1920’s. We are fortunate to call Carmel home. We give this book to our visitors as a referance to enjoy after they leave. Another great books is Fairytale house of Carmel, available at the Tuck Box in the village.

    • Carole / Apr 6 2013 3:22 am

      Thank you for showing your photos. Loved them so much! I live in a suburb of Chicago and have been considering a move to Carmel to enjoy my latter days. Would love to hear more about life there. Thank you again! I am dreaming. : )

  2. Annie Westlake, / Jul 21 2012 9:16 am

    Great book, although I believe you do a better job with a lot of your pictures. This book features my favorite house in Carmel — Mary Austin’s Rose Cottage. I was able to wander the beautiful grounds and peek in a few windows when it was empty and for sale awhile ago. I found a broken shard from a old clay pot, and plucked the last red rose from a bush, which I took home and preserved. I display them in a small vignette (some might call it a shrine) with Ms. Austin’s book “The Land of Little Rain.” Yes, I get my Carmel fix in strange ways.

  3. Nita@ModVintageLife / Jul 22 2012 5:02 am

    I have always wanted this book. But there is nothing better than seeing your photos of the area here on your blog.

  4. Suzanne / Jul 24 2012 12:25 am

    I purchased this book after
    a visit to Carmel charmed me
    to my toes : ) I just popped over
    from the Ivy Clad blog, where she
    has featured your last post. Love
    your sweet house!!

    xo Suzanne

  5. Linda Thomas / Jan 18 2015 9:24 pm

    Thank you for the lovely photos. I am the great niece of Ernest Bixler. Makes me smile knowing his work is apart of Carmel’s history.

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 22 2015 7:57 pm

      I love Hob Nob. So charming
      The current residence adore the cottage and are so proud of it
      Thanks for taking time to comment I’m glad I could put a smile on your face

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: