Cottage Garden Inspiration from Carmel-by-the-Sea

November 10, 2009

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

California here we come!!….Is Carmel-by-the-Sea within a days drive round trip (with 2 kids) of LA?  I hope so, because I would really love to check out the cottages of this pretty town.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

These images are all taken by photographer Linda Hartong (Linda Yvonne on flickr).  She wrote this history of the area to accompany her images.

“In 1924 Hugh Comstock came to Carmel to visit his sister Catherine and her husband, George Seideneck, both artists and members of the struggling Carmel Art Association.
While in Carmel, Hugh met Mayotta Browne, who successfully made and sold rag and felt dolls, called “Otsy-Totsys.” Hugh and Mayotta married that year. Buyers from large cities came to place orders for the dolls, which soon filled their house to overflowing. She asked Hugh to build her a cottage to use as a showroom. Hugh was neither a builder nor an architect, but he loved to draw and tinker. He designed and built with Mayotta a whimsical little cottage, Gretel, on Torres near 6th, inspired by the watercolor illustrations of the British children’s book illustrator Arthur Rackham.
The Carmel Pine Cone called Hugh “a builder of dreams” that year. With some happy exceptions, most of Carmel domestic architecture of the period consisted of large, boxy board and batten houses without any pretension to style, and commercial stores had false Western fronts. All this changed with Hugh’s intriguing little creations, and people clamored for him to build them cottages or stores. The little cottages seemed to grow from the ground they rested on. Hugh purposefully did not use a carpenter’s level, so the lines were untrue and the chimneys crooked….

…His homes have served as as inspiration to other builders over the years and given a distinct “fairy tale” quality to the lovely city of Carmel, Ca.”

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

This house,  3 blocks from the ocean, can be rented as part of Lincoln Green Inn.  The Inn has 5 cottages all with stunning gardens.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

What I find so charming about these houses is the priorities in making them.  The gardens, landscape and materials are as respected as the structure itself.  So rather than cut trees to make house, houses were built around trees and like below, the materials used are a key element in the structure.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea bark house

Linda explains :  “Built in 1922, this unique cottage was conceived with the ocean spirit of Carmel summer days in mind. The facade of the house was made of redwood-bark boards. The current owners maintain this exterior by retrieving and storing fallen pieces from the forests of nearby Big Sur.”

cottage houses of carmel by the sea purple garden house

This owner must really love purple and boldly went for it in styling this home.  The purple flowers and the purple trim are a great contrast with the warmth of the wood and the copper roof.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea clint eastwood's house

One of Carmel’s most famous residents in Clint Eastwood….this lovely sitting area is located on his ranch and from this perch you can watch sheep in the fields below.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

Front gardens rule here, tucked behind little fences, there is hardly a patch of lawn in any picture.

cottage houses of carmel by the sea

cottage houses garden of carmel by the sea

Though not generally a cottage garden enthusiast myself, I have to admit that there is a lot to love about the overflowing exuberance and attention to details in the gardens that surround these cute houses.   The gardens in many cases seem to outsize the home, which is a trend I would happily endorse.  Unfortunately, as I am finishing this post, my husband just told me that Carmel is about 4 hours away from where we will be, so I guess I will not be going there on this trip….;(  maybe next time.

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  1. michelle d. says:

    Sorry to say that a one day turn around trip from L.A. to Carmel by the Sea is not advisable.

    There is so much to see in this area , especially The Monterey Bay Aquarium ( fantastic for kids and adults alike !!) which is just a few minutes down the road from Carmel that you should schedule at least two days.

    If you decide to go I recommend staying at Asilomar.
    Check out the design history of this place and I think you will love it.
    This is where I stayed when I was working on a 3 year long landscape project in Carmel Valley

  2. Lynn says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing those. I can see how those could take days to visit (and then there’s that ocean, too). Saw you in Gardenrant.

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