A historic estate in Garberville, CA, designed by the celebrated architect of Hearst Castle, Julia Morgan, has landed on the market.
“This is considered the crown jewel of Humboldt County,” says the listing agent, Michael Fanelli with Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty.
Built in 1926, the property offers a grand main house, two-bedroom guest cottage, and carriage house on 3 bucolic acres. Hidden away behind gates and known as Redwood Grove, the property sits on the south fork of the Eel River and is surrounded by redwoods.
When the current owners purchased the place in 2000 for $979,000, they found the space “dated and worn,” Fanelli notes. They embarked on a full restoration, even traveling to San Simeon to examine Morgan’s archives.
They also found local artisans to do the work, and discovered original textiles in the basement that were used to recreate pillows and tapestries throughout.
The remodel is “totally in keeping with the Julia Morgan sensibility,” says Fanelli. The result is a prime example of the Northern California Arts and Crafts aesthetic that she helped to pioneer.
The owners, who live primarily in Marin County, poured millions into this labor of love. The process took about three years, according to the agent.
“It was more about the passion to bring it alive, and making it sure that the history lived on,” he says.
Original details, such as the leaded glass, floor-to-ceiling windows, the stone surrounds of the fireplaces, and wood moldings have all been maintained. The property is move-in ready and updated to modern standards, and the floor plan was kept intact, while being brought into the modern era.
Custom furnishings in the home all come with the property.
“Aside from the architectural design and the fact that it’s been rehabbed with such a thoughtful attention to detail, for a property of that vintage to be entirely turnkey is not commonplace,” Fanelli notes.
The home was commissioned by a San Francisco hotel heiress, Margaret Stewart, in 1926. Covering nearly 6,500 square feet, the main house includes three en suite bedrooms. The ground floor features a commercial-grade custom kitchen, a family room, a guest bedroom suite, and a bright and airy sunroom.
The manor’s great room features beamed ceilings, a 10-foot Tudor window, original carved interior panel doors, and French doors. The basement has a 1,500-bottle wine cellar.
Upstairs, you’ll find a sitting area, home office, and an en suite bedroom. Up another flight is the main bedroom suite, which has an etched, floor-to-ceiling window that looks out on the Eel River.
The grounds include meandering paths, grassy lawns, patios, a vegetable garden, access to the river, and an orchard.
The 2,000-square-foot guesthouse comes with its own kitchen and laundry room, and a separate one-bedroom apartment over the garage.
The owners, who are philanthropically inclined, have used the restored grounds to hold charity fundraisers and events. The property, which is zoned for both commercial and residential uses, is allowed to host 50 events per year.
The architectural gem apparently caught the eye of A-lister Brad Pitt, who arrived by helicopter some years ago to tour the property and make an offer.
The deal fell through, as the timing coincided with his separation from his wife Angelina Jolie, Fanelli says. Perhaps Pitt would like another chance to add the place to his portfolio?
We suspect that a buyer with an appreciation for history and architecture will jump at the opportunity.
While examples of Morgan’s work can be found throughout California, this is the only project Fanelli knows of in Humboldt County.
“It’s a total and complete legacy estate,” he says.