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Authentic style that’s true to the land

By Melanie Chatfield Photography Wayne Capili, Interface Visual Wayne Holden

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Mara and David knew they wanted their Santa Lucia Preserve home to be true to the land. Given the Preserve’s rich history of Rancheros and the influences of the Spanish Colonial period, they opted for a hacienda. “Authenticity and respect for the legacy of the land are very important to us,” Mara says. “During planning, design and construction, I always joked, ‘we do not use the four letter F-word around here.’” That word being f-a-u-x, of course. The design of the home clearly reflects Mara’s California roots. She grew up in Carmel Valley and her father was born and raised in San Francisco. His grandparents met in a tent camp in Golden Gate Park in 1906, having been evacuated from their homes after the earthquake and fire. This exquisitely authentic hacienda was built in stages and completed in 2005. Knowing Mara’s commitment to authenticity, a friend suggested that she talk to Chilean-born architect Bernardo Urquieta of San Francisco’s BRU Architects. “The first time I spoke to him on the phone and told him of our intent, he said in his heavy accent, ‘I am yourrr man! I am borrrrn in hacienda!’ and that was it,” Mara remembers. In addition to the design, Bernardo carefully positioned the home on the site to capture views of Carmel Valley, Stillwater Cove and the Monterey Bay.

Page 48: Though miles inland, on
the frequently clear Carmel Valley days, this Santa Lucia Preserve home enjoys inspiring blue-water views.

bottom left and top right:

Around every corner, the homeowners’ collection of precious and interesting objects from around the globe takes center stage; Bottom Right: Outdoor living is the order of the day—this cozy patio is just off the master bedroom.

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Respected contractor Bob Lis, of RJL Construction, was hired to bring their vision to life. From the foundation, framing and finish carpentry work to project management, Bob was instrumental in the hacienda’s creation. “I enjoyed working with David and Mara,” says Bob. “We built a great home for great people.”

Left: A separate and private guest house Top Right: The homeowners frequently
entertain in the rustically elegant loggia. Right: This striking, leather-covered spiral staircase leads to a second story photo studio and darkroom. is a short walk from the main house.

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Painstaking care went into selecting building and finish materials that reflect a true hacienda and the owners’ discerning tastes. Most of the finishes in the house are hand-crafted and none are painted. Walls are one-foot-thick plaster or stone. Bob Lis hand-stained the wood beams and ceiling to create a naturally aged, weathered look. The roof is a special monochromatic gray slate from India and stone walls were hand-tooled, also by Lis. “We found a stone we liked and then sandblasted it to remove all the orange of the iron to give it a creamy color and soft, centuries-old appearance,” Mara adds.

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Above: Just inside the main entrance,
a custom steel wine storage system displays vintages in an artistic manner.

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The hacienda’s interior architectural elements were built by local artisans. Fred Saunders of Sculpture Works crafted the iron hand railings throughout the home, chandeliers in the kitchen and dining room, and the strikingly contemporary spiral staircase in the library—all designed by the owners. The one-of-its-kind wine storage and display room were designed to create a dramatic entry space, while keeping wine at just the right temperature. Bob Mattson, a well-known saddle maker in Carmel Valley, hand-crafted the leather that sheathes railings and door handles, pillars between shelves and all of the bookcases in the library—even the steps of the spiral staircase. Bob Lis was responsible for all the builtin wood elements including the handsome library. “It’s rewarding to work with craftsmen who can implement your vision,” says Mara. “We didn’t use an interior designer since we had a distinct vision for all of the spaces, except the living room,” says Mara. “I collected furnishings and antiques and had my girlfriends come over to help me arrange them.”

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From antique English wood, Sonoma Country Antiques of Sonoma crafted the long kitchen island table to Mara’s specification. Another attribute of an authentic hacienda is the natural fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces, built around courtyards. The loggia—more of a second “outdoor” home that pays homage to the Moorish influences in Spanish architecture—features a heated floor, massive fireplace and BBQ at one end. “This is where we entertain most of the time,” says Mara. “When we’re not in here, we sit outside at the long table. We’ve only used the dining room in the house a couple of times.”

Spanish-colonial artifacts from South America, rugs from Egypt and Turkey, a collection of Western Han Dynasty bronzes, and an assortment of antique sconces, all collected during the couple’s world travels, make this home a vivid expression of their lives. “We wanted our home to reflect our lifestyle and spirit,” says Mara. “We surrounded ourselves with elements that mean something to us and honor the heritage of the land with which we’ve been entrusted.” n

resources
Bob Lis (General contractor) RJL Construction Pacific Grove (831) 643-9280 www.rjlconstruction.com

Bernardo Urquieta, AIA (Architect) BRU Architects San Francisco (415) 861-4848 Bob Mattson (Leather work) Carmel Valley (831) 624-8146

Fred Saunders (Iron and metal work) Sculpture Works Inc. Sand City (831) 899-7970 www.sculptureworksinc.com Commercial Woodworking (Cabinets) Monterey (831) 655-0346

Ingram Plastering (Interior and exterior) Carmel (831) 624-6164 Jerome & Horner (Steel) Oakland (925) 943-6325

Legacy Roofing Salinas (831) 753-7663 Sonoma Country Antiques (Reconstructed antiques in kitchen) Sonoma (707) 938-8315

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Art & Function
Fine Metal Work Design, Fabrication, Imagination

831.899.7970
460 Elder Avenue Sand City, CA 93955 sculptureworksinc.com
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