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January 16, 2013 / Linda Hartong


Famous builders of Carmel include Hugh Comstock famously known as “Carmel’s builder of Dreams”.  Architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright who builds the Walker residence known as the “Boat House,” Julia Morgan, Charles Greene, M.J Murphy, Gottfried, and Brown & Hale.

These builders and architects use wood from coastal forests, stone from nearby quarries and construct buildings that incorporate furniture into the walls and closets.  Many of the homes built in the early days of Carmel-by-the-Sea are now historically designated structures in Carmel today.  The Arts and Crafts phenomenon coincides with early building in Carmel and launches a development philosophy in the Carmel that remains to this day.

But who is carrying on that tradition today?

Popular Carmel Ca Architects of today’s era include among others: Michael Bolton: Architecture – Interiors – Lighting – Landscape ,

Architect Brian Congleton ,

Responsible for the renovation of Hansel

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And the first Murphy House

Claudio Ortiz – CODG,Inc. – Home ,

Carver + Schicketanz | Home ,

Renovation of Dormiderra, the historical Mary McDowell House.


And new construction such as this home on San Antonio

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and Al Saroyan- Mr. Saroyan – Saroyan Master Builder


The builder of the modern-day “fairytale “ cottage Lilliput

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The restorer of the historic Goetz Cottage

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And the extensive remodel of Villa Scimmia, a historic M.J. Murphy home.

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It is Mr. Saroyan who remodels Ambleside- a cottage at Santa Fe 4SE 3rd in Carmel. And what a great job he does with this double A-Frame cottage.

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Interior ceilings soar

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Over the massive stone fireplace.

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Note the aged and weathered timber beams, leaded glass windows, extensive granite stone work, detailed wrought iron work, and gothic shaped doors.

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The home features a designer loft

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The compact kitchen that “gets more space out of less room”- Al Saroyan

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I love the many patterns of hardwood in the floors to define space.

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The house has three bedrooms

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One of which is used as an office.

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The patio works with the lay of the steep, rocky slopes that are typical of Carmel.

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“It’s quite a puzzle to design in Carmel-by-the-Sea,” Saroyan says, “because you have topography, trees, a volumetric ordinance and maximum square footage.”

He seems to have mastered that puzzle quite well.



Leave a Comment
  1. Annie Gillespie / Jan 16 2013 10:16 pm

    THANK YOU>>THANK YOU …. for the slideshow (as well as the photos below). Can they be put on Pinterest? or do you have a book with these photos ….. they’re awesome. Would gladly purchase it if you do. Carmel is on my bucket list …. to be visited soon vs later. Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:37:18 +0000 To:

  2. House Crazy Sarah / Jan 16 2013 10:18 pm

    Neat house! Just curious…. what is the ‘maximum square footage’ in Carmel?

  3. Lisa / Jan 16 2013 10:30 pm


    We are in the process of completing a remodel of a house in Carmel built in 1940. Al Saroyan is doing the work and his attention to detail and his ability to make the most of a small space is what drew us to him. You are more than welcome to drop by when the remodel is complete and decorating is done.

    Lisa Ferchau

  4. Mara Lindstrom / Jan 17 2013 5:19 pm

    I fell in love with the natural colored pillows which so perfectly reflect the colors of the stone wall in the living room. Yum!

  5. jeanette sclar / Jan 18 2013 1:10 am

    So nice to see someone who remembers the architect! (Does that sound bitter? I didn’t mean it that way! But I actually have been to the “real” party for some of my work only because “Dr. Sclar” and guest were invited!)

  6. Sue / Jan 18 2013 1:38 am

    I love the door in the office, the Gothic doors, beautiful bathroom sinks, and Everything. What a wonderful home. It is a wonderful picture of the Hansel house too. As always, I enjoy your tours the most.

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