Real Estate Report: Vine-covered Compound in Stinson Beach, $3.885M

Dating back to the earliest days of Stinson Beach, before the surfers showed up, this Marin County property overlooking the ocean has seen a lot of history, both local and global.

The Basics: Five bedrooms and four baths in two redwood buildings- the main house and a cottage- in Stinson Beach. Not So Basic: One of the classic shingled Marin cottages, in the same family for generations, surrounded by gardens and lawns and a thirty-foot-high cypress hedge. Another "if these walls could talk" listings, it's got the untouched look of so many long-inhabited but well-maintained houses.

The house was begun in 1917 by Lazarus Lansburgh, a turn-of-the-century polymath/lawyer/flute player, and designed by his brother Albert Lansburgh, a prominent San Francisco architect who went on to design dozens of vaudeville and movie theaters, among them classics like the Wiltern and the El Capitan in Los Angeles. Originally the living room (above) plus a kitchen and bedroom were built and the rest of the house grew around it over the years. The gardens, laid out by a Dutch landscape designer as a series of outdoor room in the late 'teens, include a magnificent century-old cypress; the cottage would later be remodeled during WWII by Los Angeles architect Rudolf Schindler.

A later occupant would be the son-in-law of Lazarus, Haakon Chevalier, a Berkeley French professor and translator who would bring along his colleague and friend Robert Oppenheimer (Father of the Atom Bomb) and post-war, guests from the nascent United Nations, then being formed in San Francisco. Haakon's wife, Barbara Chevalier, a San Francisco interior designer, was primarily responsible for maintaining and improving the gardens over the decades. There's more in an online history of the house, with vintage family photos, put together- clearly with a lot of affection- by Barbara and Haakon's daughter (click through the realtor's dedicated site.)

The house has been on-and-off  the market since mid-2008 and has been reduced more than 20% from it's original asking price of $5M. It's sited directly on Shoreline Highway (AKA  Route 1) and the public parking lots for Stinson Beach. There are still some ocean views, but it's probably no longer an idyllic  setting.

Listing: 3325 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach [Redfin] and Sotheby's

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