Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Walker Residence

One of the greatest surprises during my California adventure was coming across a little known Frank Lloyd Wright house in Carmel directly across Monterey Bay from Pebble Beach.
While I agree with many other architects that Frank Lloyd Wright is overly regarded in general, one can't help but admit he was a tremdendously talented architect.The Walker Residence was designed in 1948 and completed in 1951 for Della Walker. It's a small house nestled into the beach rocks on the water side of Scenic Drive in Carmel. I loved the gates into the driveway / carport which almost feel like the backdoor as it has such a prominent face on the other side.As you can tell from these pictures, it's so perfectly sited that it blends into its surroundings. If you didn't know it was there, you might not notice it!It's small sizes gives it the nickname 'the cabin on the rocks' (Carmel is full of cottages or 'cabins') but it's definitely not small on design. Above you see a typical FLW element, the carport.Built originally for $125,000, FLW later added a master bedroom in 1956. He is known to have considered this amongst his favorite houses.
I would compare the siting of the house and its relationship to the water with Fallingwater. FLW took a beautiful piece of property and only improved it with his design.The one side of the house has stairs which go down onto a small secluded beach area, seen above.The design is based on a ship with a terrace off the liviing room becoming the prow, thrusting into Monterey Bay.
Such an elegant house and I love the stonework.The plantings on this side of the house look native to the area and really feel a part of the house itself. The house was featured in the 1959 movie "A Summer Place". Has anyone ever seen this? I'll have to add it to my netflix queue.
If you're ever in Carmel, make sure to pay special attention to the cabin on the rocks!

41 comments:

Blue said...

Now this is why I like your blog! Beautiful house and stunningly sited. I wonder if it could be moved higher when the seas rise - like the Temple of Dendur?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

haha, I doubt it, Blue - but woudln't it be fun to be on that terrace during a storm with the waves crashing around you to either side?

Blue said...

I would love it - very "last night I returned to Mandalay ... "

David said...

When a beautiful site gets the right building it really is magic.

Mel said...

Interesting that "A Summer Place" was set here in Maine but filmed on the CA coast. The plantings that are currently there, at least, don't really look like Maine. I wonder if it was really cheaper to shoot there vs. finding a suitable location in Maine.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Well, that was a short blogger holiday, and what a spectacular return post. I couldn't agree more that Wright is in general over-regarded, but when he was good, he was VERRRY good, and this house is just wonderful. And the setting doesn't hurt.....

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

It would be amazing to be in there during a storm - would bring your senses alive that's for sure.

I like how the house wraps around the big tree on the cliff front.

pve design said...

Again, you never cease to inspire one with architectural designs. Handsome home. It has such a great vibe.
pve

Francine Gardner said...

Stunning architecture and location. I will be in Carmel in September for my first visit...needs to be in LA and decided to include a little touring and flying to SF instead and driving to LA on the Pacific coast highway....will make sure to look it up

Renee Finberg said...

S-
you are the best!

i love this house.
...wouldn't it be nice to live there???

xx

David Toms said...

I have always loved Frank! This is one of the reasons I love him more. Check out a fellow architect named Walter Burley Griffin. I think you will like.

eddieross said...

Love this house! SO wish we could see it in person!

Eddie + Jaithan

little augury said...

Stefan, perfectly situated. sometimes one's genius comes and goes-like many of the famous, it might be said of FLW,rather than overrated. Don't you think the materials readily available today would have benefited the sustainability of his design. perfect post from you as always-pgt

Woody said...

I went to AZ two months ago and saw Taliesin West, my first visit to a FLW home. The more I walked around on the tour the more I fell in love with his architecture and the more I hated the man. This home is exquisite but I still have a hard time reconciling my prejudice against his personality with the beautiful homes that came out of it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's one of the places I recommended to you when you were asking for suggestions before your trip. Glad you were able to see it.

Did you also see any of the Storybook cottages I'd mentioned? Wasn't sure if that style was of any interest to you or not.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Anon: stay tuned :-)

Sherry said...

I have been to "Falling Water" many times, but I think your new find is destined to be a fav of mine.

xoSherry

imagineer said...

Hey - I think my long winded comment got cut short..oh well, probably came off as an ass anyway. How do I 'follow' your blog? You don't have a 'follow' button up?

Anonymous said...

> Anon: stay tuned :-)

Great!

Incidentally, a number of celebrities live in Carmel -- Clint Eastwood, Joan Fontaine (co-star of Hitchock's Rebecca) , and Doris Day to name a few. Last time I was there I spent a few minutes trying to find Doris Day's house. I had a general idea where it was located, but I couldn't spot it. Disappointed, I started to drive away, and when I stopped at a traffic light a Mercedes pulled up next to me and Doris was sitting in the passenger seat! It was exciting to see a Hollywood legend.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Anon,
we actually stayed in a hotel partially owned by Day. I'll be posting about it sometime soon- charming hotel. No major celebrity sightings other than some famous golfers and one character actress (whose name escapes me at the moment) -which was a bit disappointing.

Janet said...

Grogeous. There is a translucency to it.

Semigloss Chic said...

Stunning how the house just seems to appear as part of the landscape. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

A Summer Place was a stunning movie for 1959. I was 15 years old and madly in love with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee and THAT house. You must see the movie. I remember walking out of it in an adolescent fog which bugged my mother for days!

Vitania said...

Thanks for the images - What a spectacular home.. Carmel i definitely on my list of to-dos.

CJ/Rick said...

That is just gorgeous. I can't imagine. Thanks for sharing.

La Dolfina said...

I know this house well as I lived in Carmel during my high school years. It's part of the fabric of this quaint town. Great post!

Gramercy Home said...

I totally remember this house from that same drive...weren't you just dying to see the inside? Although, a shack would still look beautiful on that piece of land. I think Carmel area is one of the prettiest places I've seen. And, I can't believe you stayed at Cypress Inn (Doris Day connection). I stayed there too and adored it. Especially the doggy friendly atmosphere. Can't wait to see your post about it!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog! I'm actually planning a trip to the West Coast soon and am interested in basically taking the same route you took! If you don't mind me asking what was your itinerary? Did you drive back to SF from San Simeon to fly home?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Anon: It was an amazing trip, stay tuned for more posts. We flew into SF and stayed a few days, rented a convertible and drove down route 1 (stopping at Filoli) to Carmel where we spent 4 days. We had one daytrip to San Simeon and returned to Carmel all in one day -but allow for 3 hours travel time each way. This part of the trip you NEED a convertible. Take route 1 even if people discourage you from doing so!
We returned to SF our last night and flew out of there in the morning. It all went smoothly and you should be fine with the same itinerary.
Let me know if you need any recommendations!

Anonymous said...

I'd love any recommendations especially for Carmel which I've heard is gorgeous but know so little about. Route 1 is an absolute and I love the convertible idea! If my boyfriend and I can swing it we're thinking of maybe continuing on down to Santa Barbara for a few days which I blame entirely on Nancy Meyers.
Nick - Anon 8:57

Thombeau said...

Marvelous!

You'll enjoy "A Summer Place", if only for it's camp value!

Thombeau said...

Marvelous!

You'll enjoy "A Summer Place", if only for it's camp value!

Rood Anderson said...

Enjoy the film "A Summer Place", if you will, as long as you realize the interior shots of the house are actually inside a Hollywood sound stage. In no way do they resemble the actual interiors if the Walker House.

Worried, a bit, about the effect the Tsunami from the 11 March 2011 earthquake in Japan might have on the house, but apparently the surge at Carmel was only a few feet above normal high tide. Can anyone verify this fact?

Anonymous said...

I always remembered the house in the movie- so I tivoed just to see it again- thinking it had to be a flw
And yes- it is so cool

Question
About 20 years ago had to go look at a flw hunting lodge in north Carolina

Anyone have story on this- at the time the lodge was VERY abandoned- I will never forget it
Hunters guns going off- tiny little road
Little town- little kids in the small town asking for $
And then like magic- we drove thru a ranch gate and these little cabins staggered up and down the road and then at the end of the road the main house
Empty- deserted - but I remember I could see what it once was
A room w yellow tile and hooks in the ceiling for the game they had shot
Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, but one error - the house sits on the south end of Carmel bay, Monterey bay being on the other side of the Monterey peninsula.

David Coffman said...

Lived in Carmel for awhile, often wondered about required maintenance with the salt water.

Cy Hebert said...

What fun it was to be watching "A Summer Place" late one night and decide to google this house. What a treat to find it and learn more about it. Beautiful place and the setting makes it even more so.

Susan Glaser said...

I'm watching "A Summer Place" right now. I've seen this movie before and always admired this house. I am a fan of architecture too and decided to look it up. Thanks for posting the info. Next time I get to California I will try to get there and see it in person! I know I'm gonna love it : )

Stacy Slater said...

Watching "A Summer Place" on TCM this afternoon. It's been a couple of years since I've seen it and had forgotten about the beautiful, lovely cottage by the beach. The movie takes you all through the house and you get to experience how absolutely stunning this house really is in its ability to perfectly become part of the rocks and the ocean. The Walker House will definitely be added to my list of FLW homes and structures to visit. I'm amused that architects find FLW overrated. Probably the same architectural academia that no one remembers their work. It is very difficult to see or be in a FLW house or structure and not feel that you are in a creative and healing environment - it's more than just about the architecture.

Thank you for the Blog and the beautiful photos. Much appreciated.

MoveupDiane said...

I'm watching a Summer Place now. What a beautiful home. Thank you for your blog post.

MoveupDiane said...

Watching A Summer Place this afternoon before Easter Sunday. Beautiful home. I can dream about how wonderful it would be to live there with the ocean crashing against the wall outside. Amazing.