Open House Report, Marin County Edition: Vintage and Shingled–Classic Marin Cottages


Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, Marin County was a sleepy place, mostly open coastal meadow and virgin redwood forest. Wood was cheap. Many houses were built in an East Coast vernacular using local materials by ship’s carpenters at turn of the 20th Century. Eager for some extra work while waiting for theirs ships to leave from San Francisco, what they built became a classic local style.

157 Ethel Avenue, Mill Valley $1.05M
On a steep slope just above downtown Mill Valley but accessed from Ethel Avenue, this 1903 cottage has a winding path down to Miller Avenue and is a short walk to the Plaza. Probably built by ship’s carpenters who brought their East Coast techniques to projects like this before sailing off again from San Francisco, the 3-bed. 3-bath house has a quirky plan and some very odd rooms. The main space is grand and open although the rest of the renovations could use some rethinking. New to the market this week, the house hasn’t changed hands since 1992. Open Sunday, July 15 from 1 – 4 p.m.

9 Dot’s Lane, Mill Valley $1.395M
This classic woodsy cottage has has it’s interior fully refinished at some point in the recent past, along with new cedar shakes outside, plus we’re loving the “arsenic” green exterior trim. Located deep in the second-growth forest near downtown Mill Valley and built in 1909, the 4-bed, 3.5-bath house just came on the market. In addition to a beautiful kitchen and all that knotty pine everywhere, there’s a classic Japanese tatami room– complete with reed mats, sliding shoji , plus an alcove for a household shrine. Worth a visit. Open Sunday, July 15 from 2 – 4 p.m.

600 Redwood Road, San Anselmo $1.849M
What a bargain– two houses on one lot. Actually, a lovely hillside lot with nice views over Marin County, and the c.1917 house was redone about a decade ago and still look like the summer retreat it most likely once was. Some of the details are dated and/or uninteresting but it’s a classic shingled Marin house– a little more than just a cottage. On over .5-acres, it’s been on the market about two months. Who gets to live in the cottage? Open Sunday, July 15 from 1 – 4 p.m.

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