Decorating A Dreamhouse - Carmel, California (Cont'd.) With Summer Salmon Over Cilantro Lime Rice With Kale

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In my current Something Beautiful Journal entry, "Decorating A Dreamhouse," I'm imagining that I'm living in this Carmel Highlands, California house built in 1918 of native stone in Arts and Crafts style. 

The D. L. James House, as it is named, is a monument unique in the United States.

The stone structure seems to have grown out of its site atop the rocky cliffs.  It is difficult at some places to " . . . ascertain just where nature's rock has ended and man's masonry genius has begun," — Randell L. Makinson. Greene & Greene: "Architecture as a Fine Art".  Architects: Green & Green.

Let me share some compelling facts about my Carmel Dreamhouse area:

  • Carmel Highlands is an unincorporated community in Monterey County, California 
  • Carmel Highlands has an elevation of 318 feet
  • It is south of Carmel and north of Big Sur
  • Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central California Coast, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. Its stunning views and year round mild climate make Big Sur a popular tourist destination.
  • Big Sur's Cone Peak with its infamous giant redwood trees is the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous 48 states, ascending nearly a mile (5,155 feet/1571 m) above sea level, only three miles (4.8 km) from the ocean. It is also one of the few places on Earth where redwoods grow in close proximity to cacti.
  • Carmel was created as a haven for artists and intellectuals that would endure through the trials and tempests of time

You can search the world with attempts to find venues that are as incredibly dynamic and yet so quaint and picturesque as Carmel, nestled in a pine forest above a spectacular white-sand beach.

It's some nice real estate.

We're going inside now so please join me as I write in my SB Journal on decorating the interiors of my house in Carmel, California. My dreamhome.

My Carmel, California Dreamhouse Entryway:

The interiors of the Carmel house are bare boned, pure, foremost in my mind when creating my home here.  The entryway is really just a niche but I wanted to still give it some prominence.  The casualness of the Maison Chest combined with the antique-looking, albeit reproduction, elegant Vintage French Mirror are 'simplement beau,' (French transl., simply beautiful.)  The Windsor Candelabra is just simpatico! Come on in!

My Carmel, California Dreamhouse Living Room

I love these artworks --  Dancing On A Small Island in particular draws your eye to the celebration of life. All three are by contemporary artist Brian Kershisnik.

The simple design of this sofa and coffee table is perfect in my earthen Carmel house set in the pine forest, above spectacular beaches.  If you could see it up close, the Boho Cocktail Table, with its oversize, industrial style casters, is very simply elegant.  The Barkley Candleholders Set 
with the tallest candleholder topping off at almost 33," are bold and hold their own, but it's the "Circle Circle Bio Bowl," by Vaughan Nelson, that finds itself in visitors' hands. It calls to you 'hold me, touch me."

This sitting area below may appear impromptu, but it is not. The Carmel house is calming. We're drawn to the energy of this feeling of contentment, a special place to enjoy one's spirit.  To cultivate a comfort spot such as this one requires requires exceptional seating.

Sometimes the chair or seating is made complete by its accessory piece, aka, the pillow. The Beaded Scallop Pillow from Anthropologie is shaped in that perfect delicious, kidney size. Rest your kidneys, rest your legs or rest your head - that's the purpose of this unique shape. It's ideal-sized and the pattern and design brightens up the sitting area.

Our spot also requires a convenient table (such as the hand-planed mahogany Rodin Side Table), and good, practical lighting provided by the Mendel Table Lamp, and the Kensington Chandelier.  Novels fiction and non-fiction have been started and finished in this one particular area.

Other art and items in the living room of my Decorating A Dreamhouse, Carmel is: more Brian Kershisnik artwork, "A Woman With Dogs" and "Gardening In The Rain;" the 18" square "Beaded Scallop Pillows;"  set of three, "Yuma Trunks;"  and finally the  "William Yeoward Caledon Ocean Rustic Focal Area Rug."

My Carmel, California Dreamhouse Dining Room

Dining rooms can be theatrical - when we entertain, it is attune to setting a stage, giving a performance, even.

The Treviso Twelve Light Chandelier exudes status, not overly so, though.

Sitting atop my humble Russell Dining Room table is the charming Nest Weave Candleholder.  I so prefer table centerpieces that improve when dinner is served.  The Nest Weave Candleholder with its ten candles lit wants to be surrounded by your guests and food displays.  How much more can you expect from one accessory?  The chairs are Christopher Arm Chairs and Christopher Side Chairs. The floor covering is Shaw Floors "Arabia, in color green."

The dining room artwork are all one of a kind, original oil paintings by one of my favorite artists, Mary Hatch. From top to bottom they are "Shadows," "The Woods," and "The Cowboy And The Maiden." Hatch's work has been shown in over 30 one-person exhibits in as many years and is included in more than 300 public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Canada. (If you are interested in reading about starting to collect art, you may enjoy the following article, "Art And Artwork On A Budget." Mary Hatch's art would be considered affordable in the art collection world, averaging between $800 and $5,000; she's an up and coming star. Keep your eye on her!)

The Carmel house isn't large enough for the the luxury of a wine cellar, the unique Wall Wine Storage is therefor a practical piece.

My Carmel, California Dreamhouse Master Bedroom

"Angels," by Brian Kershisnik, a lovely piece, is the sole artwork in the master bedroom.

Okay, I don't know how, but somewhere I fell in love with full length, floor mirrors. They had me. This one is special because it is so quietly marvelous.  The "Grand Tour Floor Mirror"  in antique white at 90" is taller than my very tall bed frame which is 72".

The outside views from this room are so utterly amazing I endeavored to keep its decor subtle. On either side of the bed is an Alexandria Chest topped with the Boule Table Lamp. I chose this tall Celine Bed and bedding with those same thoughts, what is necessary but what is gracious.

Now, let me mention my special garden, my pond my view.

My Carmel, California Dreamhouse Garden and Pond



Not seen from any other area of the house.

Hidden among the brilliance of Carmel, the redwoods of surrounding Big Sur and of course, the Pacific Ocean, we have delicately carved and etched this grandiose garden and pond.  Its very seclusion is magnificent.

From the master bedroom windows and French doors this garden and pond vignette is extraordinary.   Actually from the dining room you are treated to small slips of views of the creek rock and tall evergreen topiary.  It is pretty, not fully exposed but when enhanced with accent lights, these limited views are sweet add-ons of glamour to my dinner parties. I simply love my Carmel home.

Carmel and Monterey County are magnificent, but combine it with Big Sur and the Pacific Ocean and my lovely Dreamhouse and it's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to live.

I could so live here.  Couldn't you?

Summer Salmon Over Cilantro-Lime Rice With Kale Bonus Recipe (From GreenLiteBites)

Makes 2 Salmon Servings and 3 Rice Servings

  • 4 tbsp lime juice, separated
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Approx. 1/2 lb. raw kale chopped
  • 3-4 scallions diced
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (I use the 90 second bagged kind)
  • Approx. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  1. Whisk 2 tbsp of the lime juice with 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp of dried cilantro and a pinch of salt to make the marinade. 
  2. Pour the marinade over the salmon and let sit while preparing the rice.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the kale, 1 tbsp of the lime juice and a pinch or two of salt. Cook for about a minute until wilting.
  4. Add the scallions, brown rice, cilantro, remaining tbsp of lime juice and another pinch of salt. Combine everything well allowing the flavors to merge.
  5. Heat a second skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the salmon 2 - 3 minutes a side depending on thickness. After the first flip pour any leftover marinade over the fillets.
  6. Serve the salmon over the rice with another veggie on the side. I went with broccoli
From GreenLiteBites, "Adventures in Healthy Eating"

Click Below To Read:  Other "Decorate A Dreamhouse" Articles

If decorating isn't easy for you or if you are in need of some particular interior design assistance, our designers at the Something Beautiful Shoppe will be happy to work with you - working with professional helps assure you get the look you deserve while helping eliminate costly mistakes.

(Permission granted for use of D.L. James House Photographs, for this article only.)

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