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September 7, 2013 / Linda Hartong

HUGH COMSTOCK’S “THE ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG COTTAGE”

Elizabeth Armstrong has been watching Hugh Comstock build homes and she likes what she sees. In 1928 , she asks him to build her a cottage. It will cost $1,900 and be 18 by 36 feet in size. She builds on a lot near his other homes  and names it “Our House”.

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“The Santa Fe frontage now masks much of the cottage behind mature shrubbery and trees.

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The garden is formal with trimmed hedges and planting beds traversed by Carmel stone walkways.” Kent Seavey 

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“Our House” has the distinction of being the only Comstock home to be replicated for a second client, Elspeth Rose whose “Sunwise Turn” cottage on Palou is commonly called the “TheTwin on Palou.”

“Both are irregular in plan and the exterior wall are textured stucco , over felt. 

There is a large, exterior gable wall chimney of Carmel stone centered in the east elevation .” Kent Seavey

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This is reinterpreted in Sunwise Turn.

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“Our House” sits on a narrow lot and opens to the north side.

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It is typical of many Comstock’s that they do not open on the street side. Elizabeth’s choices of lighting,

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shutters and window boxes are much more feminine in appearance than Elspeth’s.

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Each have a wide bank of windows on the entry side.

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The Armstrong house has only a narrow space in front 

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While “ the twin” sits on a pie shaped double lot and has room for a meandering path and cottage garden.

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I retrace my steps to see the south side of the cottage. I dearly love the pink stucco and green window boxes and shutters with heart cut-outs.

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The grape stake fence displays potted plants in a tangle of vines.

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A huge tree protects the house. 

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French doors with shutters open to the patio.

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“In 1940 , Hugh Comstock adds a guest house at the SW corner of the property and in 1958 a small addition to the rear of the original kitchen connects the main building to the guest house.” Kent Seavey

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I am now back around to the east street-facing window .

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Down the path

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Past a rustic bird house 

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And through the gate.

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This little cottage is part of the Comstock Historic District. This district has the highest concentration of Comstock’s homes during his most imaginative period between 1924 and 1929. 

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15 Comments

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  1. Jacki / Sep 7 2013 12:33 pm

    I just love your posts! Comstock’s houses are so wonderful, and you do such a great job writing about them.

  2. Nita@ModVintageLife / Sep 7 2013 12:46 pm

    loved seeing the details of these cottages.

  3. Betty / Sep 7 2013 12:50 pm

    These photos are gorgeous. So much to love – sweet shutters, window boxes, pots overflowing, vines, quaint doors and gate. How I would love to visit Carmel.
    Thank you for sharing so many lovely cottages and gardens with us with your lovely photographs and commentaries. I enjoy all of your posts and look forward to each one.

  4. A. Robertson / Sep 7 2013 2:10 pm

    Carmel has lots of fabulous houses. Same for trees–Cypress, Monterey Pine and Live Oak. how about doing something on those because they are pretty unique (or were) to the area.

    Another idea is different types/color of sand on beaches and why. Same for rock formations–granite, sandstone. Historical reasons for all of that is very special to the area.

  5. Carolyn / Sep 7 2013 2:36 pm

    Just love both of these cottages! I first saw “Our House” in a “Decorating and Remodeling” magazine from July 1988. I know this because I still have the article! It didn’t have the green shutters with the heart cut-outs or the charming window boxes then, nor had the climbing roses grown around the tiny window, but I was smitten. (You need to go back and take a picture when the roses are in bloom.) In fact it may have been the first reference this east coaster saw to Carmel, followed in a couple of years by the August 1993 spread in “Country Living.” (I still have that article, too.) In 1988, the home was owned by Marjorie Gless, the mother of actor Sharon Gless of “Cagney & Lacy” fame, who had inherited it from her mother. Wonder if it’s still in the family all these 25 years later? I always loved the corner windowed alcove featured on both these houses and have wanted one ever since. Thanks for the lovely photos!

    • helen / Nov 7 2014 11:03 pm

      Carolyn, I own “Our House” now and would so love to have a copy of your magazine articles about my little cottage.

  6. Peggy Winter / Sep 7 2013 3:17 pm

    Just wanted to drop you a quick “thank you”. I love Carmel and your postings are wonderful to read. I’ve tried to hunt up the houses while in Carmel, but like your article says, so many do not open unto the street side and it is almost impossible to get a good look at the homes. You are taking me where I could not go, and I appreciate it.

  7. leilani / Sep 7 2013 3:19 pm

    Superb photography, as usual.

    Strike that, it’s not “as usual”, it’s extraordinary! Once again the vicariously experienced change of scenery offered in these posts makes me feel like I’ve taken a short, relaxing vacation halfway across the continent and what other blog manages to do that?

    I really cannot wait for your book now, Linda.

    • Linda Hartong / Sep 7 2013 3:31 pm

      Thanks so much for the ” atta girl” . I guess I better hurry up on that bppk

      • leilani / Sep 7 2013 3:41 pm

        No. don’t hurry it. Make it perfect. I think I can get by until then by scheduling a return visit to Carmel. Speaking of “atta girls”, if the Chamber of Commerce isn’t paying you, they should hang their heads in shame. They should at least give you a plaque or something at the annual banquet. 😉

      • Linda Hartong / Sep 7 2013 4:19 pm

        Actually the visitor’s center offerred me a job as a volunteer- which I would take if we lived in Carmel full time!!

  8. Annie Gillespi / Sep 7 2013 6:01 pm

    I agree, if the chamber of commerce isn’t paying you they should!! This east coaster is chomping at the bit to see the homes also, so appreciates the great pictures and commentary. Thanks for all you do to give us a glimpse of the magic.

  9. Barbara / Sep 13 2013 7:25 pm

    I like the comparison of the two cottages. Both of the owners have the same first name, but different tastes.
    I especially enjoyed the pink stucco corner window on the south side…..with the sun glancing thru the trees. The east wall chimney is a great shot…..made me fall in love with the cottage.

  10. Stacy Barkulis / Jun 22 2014 2:28 am

    Laughed and loved the fact that you followed the meter man to ogle these enchanted fairy tale homes – reminds me of me. Hey a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! I too am obsessed with these cottages, truly my dream homes. A girl can dream right?

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