Acorn Ranch Home + Guest Cottage

The original dwelling was a 550 square foot, single wall, board and batten cottage built circa 1915 on a lot along the Carmel, California shoreline. The owner put the house up for auction in order to clear the lot for new construction. My wife’s family had an operating dairy ranch, 3 miles south of Carmel and across from Point Lobos State Reserve, with several rental units thereon. We bid $50 for the house, deciding we had a good nucleus of another rental unit – or possibly a weekend retreat for ourselves. As it turned out, we were the only bidders and so became the owners of a rustic redwood shell which we felt would fit happily onto the site we had selected. The house, with its roof collapsed and its stone fireplace intact, made the journey to the ranch on an innovatively rigged trailer.

We set the house on a continuous footing, adding two bedrooms and a deck, all the while continuing the same board and batten redwood interior finish. Although we furnished the house and used it for a while as a 880 square foot weekend cottage, we succumbed to economic needs and the house was rented for 23 years.

Upon retiring from active practice in San Francisco, we prepared to move to the ranch. There was never any question that we would select this site for our home. As is apparent from the photographs, the location affords privacy and magnificent views of the Pebble Beach Peninsula across Carmel Bay.

The change I had was to design an unpretentious, comfortable ranch home that would retain its livability and character over a period of decades and outlast changes in popular design styles yet to come. We decided to retain the interior configuration as a true restoration of the 1915 portion of the house and its 1960 addition. We restored the interior redwood walls and ceiling and the fir floors and continued the same finishes and ambiance in the new additions which commenced in 1983. A new master bedroom suite, a living wing, solarium and garage were the first additions, enlarging the house to a total of 2,300 square feet.

Not only did we impose upon ourselves the preservation of the original house, but since we reside in the Carmel sector of the Coastal Plan, it was important that the house be sited comfortably and unobtrusively in the sensitive environment of the State Reserve environs. Natural finishes – wood and stone – and native plant materials were utilized wherever possible and appropriate. The house was called “The Acorn” because of the variety of the name’s connotations.

Our oldest son, a licensed general contractor, built the 1983 additions and modification, and has built the subsequent additions. Our youngest son, a licensed landscape architect, assisted with the land use planning and plant selection.

Thank you,
Francis “Bud” Whisler A.I.A