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December 4, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Hearts and Flowers

Hearts and Flowers is a great example of curb appeal.The architecture is not as fanciful as that of many Carmel cottages. It could just be a small ranch home were it not for the loving touches the owners have added.

Hearts and flowers

The gate is set in a stone arbor that frames a colorful window with its plant shelf.

Hearts and flowers

An old bell hangs in the arbor

hearts and flowers

and this wonderful mailbox hangs on the gate.


It was once a Carmel custom to have a box with paper and pencil on the gate or by the door so visitors could leave a message when they called.

The gate swings open to reveal such fun colors. The yellow house is trimmed in blue and has a red door.

Hearts and Flowers

The brick of the patio is an intricate design.


A Tate-A-Tate bench adds interest.


About a year ago I noticed the owners were making major changes and repairs to their little home and I held my breath. Would it lose its charm in the process?

NO!  The little home once again shows loving touches. It is now an eye-catching green.

Hearts and flowers

Flowers hang over the garage and the driveway is pavers and planting.

Hearts and flowers

The front door welcomes visitors with a wreath, welcome mat, planted bicycle and pumpkin.

Hearts and flowers

I love the new sign. “Welcome, where have you been?”

Hearts and flowers

The gate is still cleverly done.

Hearts and flowers

The bell survived

Hearts and flowers

But the mailbox is replaced by a bicycle planter.And at night small lights brighten the arch.

Hearts and flowers

Such a colorful, welcoming house. It is almost always occupied when we are in Carmel.

Hearts and Flowers

November 25, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Chez Jo

As I stroll to the beach, I often admire Chez Jo.

Chez Lo

I like the landscaping so much that I clip it out with photoshop and try it in front of my own little cottage. You know what they say about imitation and flattery. But this lovely landscape belongs right where it is.

The front is a symphony of green, silver and gray. Potato Vine thrives on the fence and arbor.

Chez Jo

I peek through the gate and see the lovely arched door set in Carmel Stone.


Huge red roses club the trellis.


This house gets lots of sun during the day and the plantings love it.

Chez JO

There is also a side fence adorned by a jaunty planting.

IMG_2873 (1)

Bacopa and red petunias spill out of the window box.


The front garden is lush.


Back to the front and up the hill to home.

Chez JO

Chez Jo is charming

November 18, 2017 / Linda Hartong

The Cottage Garden at 5 Casanova Street

Over the past 20 years, we have seen many changes in Carmel. Shops and restaurants come and go. Mayors come and go. And cottages change owners and personalities.

One of my favorite homes is 5 Casanova St. which I blogged about in 2012.

I hang over their gate countless times because this garden is breathtaking in every season.

5 Casanova

In August 2007, hydrangea, alstroemeria, lilies, and fuchsia bloom exuberantly.

5 Cassanova

In May 2008, salvia, roses and foxglove wow me.

5 Cassavoa

October 2009 It is utterly charming.

5 Casanova

June 2011 still has me snapping pics.

5 Cassanova

So on our trip last week, I prepare to see my garden again.

5 Cassavoa


I AM IN MOURNING. The house is being remodeled and so is my garden. A new roof is going on but it looks like the path is being rerouted.

I will keep you posted. Sometimes change is a good thing.

November 14, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Maison Rustique

Maison Rustique first caught my eye in 2007.


What a charming home set behind its grape stake fence and Carmel Stone arch. So, of course, I walked closer.

Maison Rustique

Yellow roses bloomed over the gate and I was smitten.

Carmel 162501

I loved the huge window and the front dutch door with its arched top.

Carmel 1625011

Tres charming.

This trip, I revisit the cottage.


Still charming.

Maison Rustique

I peek over the side fence and see the path winding through a tiny garden.

I read at one time that this was being rented but could not find that again.

More random photos from Carmel

October 27, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Random Photos from Tales From Carmel

There were so many photos that I loved but could not work into a complete post. I have to share them with you little by little. Hope you enjoy Maison de Belle


April 23, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Quirks of Carmel


Carmel’s first residents were artists who fled the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906.

The first homes were very simple and often self-built. There was a strong sense of community.

The residents often met at the post office in the morning to gather their mail and chat.


So when the Post Office offered to deliver mail to homes with street numbers, the residents decided to decline.

Homes were given names and later geographical addresses to identify them. Thus our address is SW corner of 8th and Lincoln St. Trying to decipher this system is tricky.

The format used for geographical addressing lists the street, cross street, and the number of houses from the intersection.Some enterprising soul has now developed an interactive map of named Carmel Homes. Here is the link.

As one can see there is no ownership of a name so there may be several Acorn Cottages, Aloha, Hideaway, Lanikai, Rose Cottage


and 4 Sans Souci

Certain words pop up frequently such as “Beach”,

Beach Cottage







Sea Castle

There are a multitude of “Casa”


Casa Bonita with Butterfly


Chez Lo




The Little Wooden House


Maison Rustique

and Villa

Other rely on creativity and imagination


Tinker Bell


Sleepy hollow

7th Heaven

Despite all this, UPS and Fed Ex and still find us. Amazing


April 12, 2017 / Linda Hartong


Carmel stone is used extensively in Carmel. You will see it in many historic buildings like Harrison Memorial Library.

carmel stone on Library

It is used in businesses such as Wittpenn’s Antiques

Wittpenn's Antiques


and in countless residences.

Gate House

Once cheap and easy to find, it is sedimentary shale with lovely creamy yellow, rust, orange, and pink and caramel iron oxide striations.

It is typically softer and more porous than other types of building stone and much more likely to degrade with time and exposure to the elements. The Carmel Mission was one of the earliest local structures made from it more than 200 years ago.The Mission has undergone extensive stonework renovation. As you can see this porous quality provides opportunities for small plants to grow in the rock, further eroding it.

carmel stone deterieration on the Mission

I read an article in The SF Gate about the stone and stonemason Michale Mahoney who learned to cut and build with Carmel Stone in the 1970s. Mahoney has been building with the stone since then. He is also a rock guitarist who studies manuals on Moorish arches and builds the chiseling hammers he uses to achieve his hand-hewn work. As a child, he was a bell ringer at the Mission where he watched Harry Downie do his work in restoring the Mission.
Below are some examples of Carmel Stone used in gates,



Conrad Home


carmel stone wall

entry paths and steps,

path, steps and entry 2


path and doorway surround

and facades


facade 3

This home on Scenic is a wonderful example.

house on Scenic