When his clients got a call that a house they’d rented in California was for sale, Kevin Chick says they didn’t hesitate. Though the muddy-brown house was uninspired and stuck in a 1974 time warp, it had a spectacular location on the Monterey Peninsula. The Illinois family hired Chick to reimagine the property, and flew him out every other week for two years to manage the transformation. The house grew from 5,000 to 6,500 square feet—and every detail is custom: cabinets, hardware, railings.
Chick hired Monterey architectural designer Joshua Stewman to redesign the exterior. Gone are the concrete blocks and cheap siding, the stockade fence and railroad ties. Metal sliders were replaced with generous windows with a pretty cloud-lift muntin detail.
This stunning modern Craftsman house rose on the foundations of a tired “oversize rambler” that sported a concrete-block first floor and stingy metal windows. Construction manager Kevin Chick, who also produced 300 detail drawings for the client, worked with the Coastal Commission to meet zoning, height, and setback requirements; a three-story tower at the core of the house has a rooftop deck. The house is nestled in the sand dunes in a rare Monterey coastal pine forest.
The interior features custom-designed elements in the Arts & Crafts vocabulary; plugs, splines, and joints are exposed. Main rooms with more formal woodwork are upstairs for the view, bedrooms with painted trim tucked below. Windows in the Stillwater room, located in the tower, have a cloud-lift motif. The Asian flavor comes from both the designers’ homage to the work of Greene & Greene and from the owners’ love of the Orient. (Gilded Buddhas, lacquered tables, and enameled ceramics were collected on their travels.)
Arts & Crafts details are apparent on the front (entry) façade. The building envelope was the province of Monterey architectural designer Joshua Stewman, who specified vertical-grain Western red cedar trim and shingles, stained a gray-blue, along with warm-hued Montana stone. The framed roof is covered with lightweight copper shingles. The garage doors are framed by a shallow pergola with tapering columns and exposed tenons. Using native plants and colorful perennials, landscaping was carefully designed to nestle the house in its grassy setting.
An added bay in the kitchen provided space for a built-in banquette, where the custom-built table in quarter-sawn oak, with exposed strapwork and joinery, recalls the designs of Greene & Greene. (Table and chairs were built by designer Kevin Chick.) The new kitchen is a modern take on the Arts & Crafts theme, with Douglas fir cabinets (also custom) and a granite-top island. Inspired by barn doors on the owners’ other property in the Midwest, Chick designed iron hardware with overhead sliding tracks for bath and laundry doors—a nod to the functional character of Arts & Crafts design.
From the Deck
From the Deck that tops the tower roof, views across the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links take in the Pacific. The two-acre property is beautifully landscaped, with a bridge, stream, waterfall, and ponds. Chick designed fences and gates in a California Arts & Crafts idiom. Before the extensive remodeling, the lower level of the 1970s house was a warren of poorly planned rooms, one leading into the next. Now private bedrooms open off a center hallway clad in a rhythmic painted wainscot with narrow battens. Colorful tribal art hangs on the walls. Bedrooms have similar high painted wainscots; one has a Japanese decorating theme.
Design/interior: Kevin Chick, Artistic Creation Designs LLC, Grayslake, IL: (847) 774-4958, artistic-creations.com
Architectural design: Joshua Stewman, Homelife Design Studio, Pacific Grove, CA: (831) 920-8814, homelifedesignstudio.com
Landscape: Habitat Gardens, Pacific Grove, CA: habitatgarden.com
Stone: ‘McGregor Lake’ and ‘Castle Rock’ dry-stack natural veneer stone from Montana Rockworks: montanarockworks.com
Copper roof shingles Zappone: zappone.com
Interior design: Susan Strahorn, Optimum Environments, Menlo Park, CA: (650) 321-9729
Shingle stain: Cetol ‘Blue Shadow’ by Sikkens: sikkens.us
Trim paint Arborcoat ‘Barn Red’ and ‘Cedar Mountain’ from Benjamin Moore: benjaminmoore.com a Antiques: 18th- and 19th-century Chinese furniture from Asian Village Antiques, Edwards, CO: (970) 926-6188, asianvillageantiques.com