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June 20, 2013 / Linda Hartong



Cypress House, a unique redwood Arts and Crafts cottage designed in 1926 by R. Seymour, a Chicago graphic artist, was the first built on Valley View on Carmel Point.  Seymour’s wife found it too isolated.

A small succession of owners followed until 1952 when local travel agent Bob McGinnis, wife Gert, and children Marcia and Bob Jr. acquired the classic cottage, by then surrounded by Cypress trees and the expanding village.

They added a modern sunroom in ’57, and a succession of surfers and others lived in the small guesthouse attached to the garage.  

Bob Sr. and Gert died in the early 70s, the main house became a rental, and Bob Jr. lived in the guesthouse.  Termites consumed the guesthouse/garage so Marcia and husband Paul Shortt had a replacement caretaker house built by Chris Tescher in1981.  Bob Jr. lived there until he passed away in the early 90s.  

In 2006,Paul and Marcia renovated the main house.  Cypress House has retained its original dramatic redwood character while the new and renovated matching portions are painted. Designed by Paul Shortt, assisted by Terry Wilson, and built by Don Jones.

Information provided by the Carmel Heritage Society

I walk by often and admire the drought-tolerant garden.



So today I take my card and camera and knock on the door. 

Furious barking begins inside, followed by the sound of the owner shushing his dog.  A man answers the door. I explain my mission. And I am invited in.( can you believe it)?

Wow. Redwood ceilings soar above. Light pours in wavy, old glass window panes. 

Cypress House-8

The stone fireplace is surely a gathering place and


The bookshelves are full.

Cypress House-25

Paul Shortt shows me around the downstairs.


The kitchen and solarium are of his design. “Paul spent years building models of the house till we finally decided on the one we could afford. Paul designed the small caretaker’s cottage for my brother in the 1980’s”- Marcia McGinnis Shortt.


Cypress House-20

An old photo of the point shows Cypress House as one of only three homes built there.

Paul needs to get back to work and gives permission to photograph the outside, “Knock yourself out”. I intend to.

I come in the NE gate and sit on the bench to view the sun-drenched garden.  It has not always been like this. Marcia recalls,” my parents originally owned the property all the way to Rio Road. There were the two huge cypress and lots of wonderful paths and plants. My dad was an avid gardener and he had a green lawn in front but spent hours in the sun and in the garden”.





Calasepolis ( thanks for the I.D. Marcia)


And Lavender mingle.


I am able to see the ocean over the Euphorbia and Echium candicans, commonly known as pride of Madeira.


To my left is a uniquely carved gate. I think it looks like a child riding a porpoise.


Inside the gate is a gravel patio with a workshop, firewood bin and seating


Under a monstrous tree.


The patio is off the solarium.


An abalone shell is motored into the Carmel stone


And memories are everywhere.


Pots are simply planted.


The patio is lighted from overhead.


On my way out I see a collection of pebbles


As I unlatch the gate. 


I tour around outside the fence to show you how charming this house is with its stone fireplace and open windows catching the late afternoon light.


Pride of Madeira thrives in the sandy soil outside the fence


As does yellow flowering ice plant.


A second gate opens into the garden on this southwest side.


Even within Carmel there are many planting zones. This gardener has wisely planted for sun, sea. salt air and sandy soil. 


Many of you have asked if an owner ever rents their cottage. In this case, I can say yes. Click the following link to see the rental schedule for Cypress House.

San Carlos Agency

In the property list by code, type in Short and click show. If you rent this house, give me a wave when I walk by.


Leave a Comment
  1. Carolyn / Jun 20 2013 11:06 pm

    What a wonderful house and garden! It must be full of so many family memories and is obviously well-loved. The kitchen/dining/sunroom addition is beautifully done.

  2. Sheila / Jun 21 2013 3:42 am

    Beautiful! I love seeing all the beautiful homes and flower gardens.

  3. Sue / Jun 21 2013 4:03 pm

    I was totally immersed in the tour and felt like I was there. Thanks so much to you and the owners of this wonderful home.

  4. Marcia McGinnis Shortt and Paul Shortt / Jun 22 2013 12:29 am

    Oh my gosh, Linda – What a job you have done and how my parents and brother would love to see and read all of this. The photos you have taken have captured the house and vegetation perfectly. We love sharing the house during the 7 months it is available for rent and we so appreciate the care that the renters take with the furnishings and art we’ve stuffed the house with.
    Thanks so much and happy to share the house with others.
    Marcia M. Shortt

  5. Jane Flury / Jun 23 2013 4:52 am

    An amazing blog- and I had no idea Marcia had such an illustrious local history. One major item you left out is that she is an incredible watercolorist who attended my classes at Carmel Adult School for many years. She needed no instruction! You could do a whole piece on her beautiful work alone. Also, is the ceramic bouquet in the garden a Bo Kvenild piece? He’s a wonderful Santa Cruz artist as well. Thanks Linda! Jane Flury

  6. Gloria Valentino / Jun 24 2013 5:52 pm

    Thank you for his beautiful email – and all your other fascinating and beautiful photos It would be great to have them a book – I’d  buy one   I just moved here from Chicago – 3 months ago and everyday is a lovely discovery – your web site is so inspiring – Jeff from Avant Garden told me about you –   Have a great week Gloria


  7. Gretta Faun / Jun 24 2013 9:48 pm

    The town is so small, but you manage to find so many interesting people and houses. I like the Jane Flury’s comment and would love to read about people of Carmel if they are ok with that.

  8. Inspired and pretty / Jun 27 2013 2:57 am

    Another great post of a beautiful house and garden. I love it when you can go inside !

  9. Ann Robertson Armstrong / Jul 8 2013 12:46 am

    Linda, I was so pleased to see that you included Cypress House in your blog! We stayed there for two special weeks last year and are returning this fall, Carmel has a long history in our family, my mother grew up there and my parents and grandparents are buried there. My brothers and I are always so pleased to have the opportunity to return together and our time in Cypress House last year made us feel as though we might have been returning to a family home! I look forward to two more wonderful weeks and so appreciate that the Shortts have made their comfortable and special home available to us.

    • Karen Brandow Sanchez / Apr 11 2016 6:00 pm

      Hi, Ann, I believe you are the person who lived in the wonderful house on the corner of San Carlos and 13th ST. before selling it within the past several years. My parents rented that house in 1956.-1957. Brandow was our last name. My dad was Navy, went to the Post Graduate School. I was 15 at the time, went to Sunset for 8th grade CHS for 2 yrs. I was too young to appreciate, the charm and wonder of Carmel!!!! I saw pictures of the outside, taken during the time you lived there. The landscaping was fantastic! Pictures of the inside brought back memories, it looks like the kitchen had been remodeled. Didn’t show pictures of upstairs, altho, it had the balcony off the master bedroom when we lived there. I understand a third bathroom was put there. Much more practical.I will never forget that house! Nice ‘chatting’ with you. Cordially, Karen Brandow Sanchez

      • Ann Armstrong / Apr 19 2016 11:18 pm

        Hi, Karen, no, I never lived in Carmel. My mother grew up there and my grandparents built a home in Pebble Beach in the early 40’s, a small ranch/cottage on Bird Rock Road. As a child we visited there often, so spent a lot of time in Carmel and the peninsula area. Now, we visit and stay at Cypress House! Sorry, I have no information about the house you refer to, but the connection to Carmel remains very strong! I always have a sense of “going home”!

  10. Lluliana Harris / Mar 20 2016 3:04 am

    What is the price to rent this beautiful place? My email is

  11. Paula Marie Gourley / Apr 11 2016 2:30 pm

    This is the Carmel I knew and loved. The generosity of spirit, sharing the home with someone who cherishes that heritage, and that carried forward via your appreciative and beautiful documention here…you brought me home again.

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