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I Could Live Here: 1970s Redwood Tower House in Bolinas
I've always considered myself a city girl, through and through, but as my days get busier, and I get, well, let's face it, older, the slow life of the country gets more and more appealing. But before you get any funny ideas, let me clarify: I mean this strictly in a "weekend house" kind of way, which is pure fantasy at this point. But I can dream…especially if I'm asked to dream, specifically for a new weekly blog called, you guessed it, "I Could Live Here," in which I will wax poetic about available real estate.
I decided to start off with a house that I've seriously been dreaming about. I've been lucky enough to do some "weekending" in the northern reaches of Marin Country (thank you, VRBO), specifically Marshall, Pt. Reyes and Bolinas, and have fallen in love. So much so that I torture myself by receiving weekly real estate emails of properties on the market up there. It's close enough to get to in under two hours and oysters are never in short supply. But I don't think I would want a full house with all the bells and whistles. I'm thinking more of a cabin, where life immediately slows down because it's forced to.
And this property definitely fits the bill. It was built by hand with recycled old-growth redwood in the 1970s (read: code? what code?) and looks to have only the simplest of amenities. But what it lacks in luxury, it makes up for in sheer number of stairs—how else to get to the "tower room"? Plus, it sits on 22,000 square feet of open space. Structurally, it's exactly what I want: I love that walls are kept to a minimum, so unlike other cabins its not a warren of musty rooms, and there seems to be plenty of lovely windows to let in all that dappled light. Yet, although I dream of a rustic getaway, there would definitely be some upgrades in order. The kitchen is shoved in a small corner, and so getting a little more counter space and some perked-up appliances would set the stage nicely for all those weekend dinner parties.
Plus, some cabinetry to store all those exotic salts and heirloom beans I will surely always have on hand. I love the brick-lined fireplace, but maybe a few less bricks and a few more feet of floor space would make more sense. And the unsightly spotlights would be replaced with some killer pendants and simple-yet-dramatic chandeliers. The ground floor carpeting? Gone. Carpets and cabins don't mix. Instead, layered kilim rugs and a few flokatis would warm things up. A collection of unique midcentury pieces (think overstuffed leather and wood armchairs by Sergio Rodrigues) would pair with modern rustic items like an extra-long dining table by a local craftsman (my woodworker husband, Danny Montoya, would come in very handy here) surrounded by a mix of modern chairs.
There would be guest rooms galore and, of course, a big old garden. How we keep a garden going while only stopping by on the weekend I haven't figured out yet, but I think I have some time to mull that one over.