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May 24, 2013 / Linda Hartong

I AM INVITED TO TOUR THE MARY McDOWELL HOUSE- ON CARMEL’S HISTORIC REGISTER OF HOMES.

I have long admired this soft-green cottage that blends into it’s oak-shaded lot. The door is arched and planked with large,iron hinges and painted an unexpected bright “poppy” color.

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Plants vigorously try to push though the grape stake fence.

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I  peek over the fence to see potted plants that change with the season.

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The current owner has named the cottage “Dormidera” which means drowsy or sleepy.

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This house is listed on the Historic Register as the Mary McDowell House but seems to be significant as an example “of the French Eclectic pictorial form in Carmel……and also as the one-time residence of Helmuth Deetjen 

HelmuthDeetjenPhoto from Smithsonian

and Helen Haight , founders and builders of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

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 on the Big Sur coast”.

Kent Seavey- Preservation Consultant

I pass a colorful rooster guarding the fence, 

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Open the gate and take my first step on the path.

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It is a sunny, warm day but cool in this sun-dappled spot.


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I make my way to the front door and ring the bell.

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A cobalt blue lantern hangs by the door.

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I am greeted by an attractive, cheerful woman and her dog.

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I explain I would like to take some shots of her garden for my blog and (this is one of the amazing things about Carmel) she offers to let me take photos inside as well. 

When I say “just the garden”, she insists I come inside and sit down while she gets her shoes. Once seated she fills me in on some of the history of the house, then offers a tour and before long my camera is snapping photos of this unique cottage.

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She and her husband were the first couple to work with Enid Sales to get this house on the newly created Historic Register.

She leads me down several stairs into what is now the dining room but was a kitchen and bath before they remodeled in 1997.

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Her kitchen is a dream with marble countertops 

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and light pouring in from the large window on the north.

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This door 

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leads out to a deck perched up in the trees.

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The bedroom on this floor houses her husband’s handsome desk.

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 This energetic little dog is our constant companion.

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We climb the narrow stairs 

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to a loft 

Which gives me a bird’s-eye view of the living room.

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This floor has another bedroom

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And bath. Both painted a soft pink. 

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We head out to the yard. It is an informal setting of oaks, pine and low shrubbery. There is birdsong everywhere. 

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I climb the stairs to the kitchen entry 

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and note the skull on the wall

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And the knocker on the door- quite a contrast.

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Down I go to continue on the path

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And down more stairs 

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To the door of her husband’s workshop.

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There are a few adornments.

A small fountain,

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A “god’s eye” swaying in the breeze

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And a “mirror window” by the back fence.

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But , for the most part, nature does her own thing.

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Back at City Hall I find the elevations that show the changes made to the exterior

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And the floor plan.

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What a treat to have this cottage so kindly shared with me.

If you would like to know more about the characteristics of French Eclectic style homes, click on the video

http://video.about.com/architecture/Characteristics-of-a-French-Eclectic-Style-Home.htm

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10 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Carolyn / May 24 2013 12:26 am

    Lovely and charming. Lucky you for getting the tour. Thanks to the owner for sharing.

  2. House Crazy Sarah / May 24 2013 12:44 am

    This is amazing Linda! The home is perfectly adorable and hospitable. It’s perfect.
    Thank you so much for taking these photos and thank you to the homeowner for graciously sharing her home!

  3. Nita@ModVintageLife / May 24 2013 12:48 am

    What a wonderful cottage! Loved this tour. Your photos are wonderful as always. Love love love your blog!

  4. carmelcondry@comcast.net / May 24 2013 2:04 am

    Hi Linda!

    The loft reminded me of our Murphy, which you highlighted in Feb., 2011.  Who built this one!!! 

    thanks,

    Mary Condry

  5. Chris J. / May 24 2013 3:16 am

    I just love your blog. There is nothing I like better than touring homes and gardens. And what a delightful one this was. So sweet of the owner to be so generous!

  6. lisa sharring / May 24 2013 4:37 pm

    thank you so much for the lovely tour-fascinating!

  7. soonie2 / May 25 2013 9:04 pm

    What a charming home! This is what my “dream hose” looks like. Thank you for sharing this tour with us!

  8. apainterlyhome / May 26 2013 1:17 pm

    This just makes my heart sing! This is one of my favorites here. Thank you for your delightful tours, always such a treat!

  9. Sue / May 29 2013 6:24 pm

    How exciting to begin with the garden and be invited into the house. Please tell the owner thank you for taking us through her wonderful cottage and gardens. I have a list of favorites including the darling bathroom.

  10. Jacqueline De Meo / Feb 16 2016 7:33 pm

    Lovely and I enjoy spending time in Carmel. Thank you for sharing

    Jacqueline D,

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