Monterey’s Bixby House: Beautiful views, rich history

MONTEREY – Wending their way along Highway 1, travelers often search for one of the most photographed and iconic bridges in the world – the Bixby Creek Bridge.

But almost none are aware of the house sitting on a coastal outcropping north of the bridge with spectacular views of the span, Big Sur coastline and Pacific Ocean.

The Bixby House sits on 11 acres of a peninsula situated about 12 miles south of Carmel and is now listed for sale for $16 million.

Color photo from 1963 of the view of the Big Sur coastline from the Bixby House. Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Originally designed and built in 1959 by Gregory Ain, a celebrated architect, for Ralph B. Atkinson, a film producer, inventor, social activist and one-time Monterey Peninsula College Board head, the house stands as a historical point of interest.

Today the 5,200-square-foot home boasts five bedrooms and six bathrooms, exposed beams, wood carvings, and a stone sculpture in the garden by Gordon Newell.

Newell studied at Occidental College, UC Berkeley and apprenticed with San Francisco’s most-celebrated sculptor of the 1930s, Ralph Stackpole. Newell taught at Choulnard Art School and Occidental College and the Sculpture Center in Monterey, and lived out his life in Carmel.

View of the Bixby Creek Bridge from the Bixby House, designed by Gregory Ain and built for Ralph B. Atkinson. Photo from 1963. Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

The property’s ocean-side perch above the rocky shores of the Pacific provides space for walking paths, a deck, outdoor dining area, and a rustic guesthouse built in the 1800s and shipped from the East Coast through the Panama Canal in the 1960s to its current spot cliff-side along with the main house.

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, Ain was a visionary architect as much as a social activist who believed architecture could make the lives of all people better. He designed communities with affordable housing accessible to all, and put this philosophy into practice in Los Angeles.

From the 1930s to the 1960s, Ain designed innovative single-family homes, cooperative housing, apartment complexes, and entire communities. Ain’s tract developments fostered indoor/outdoor living and community interaction across racial lines. His Mar Vista Tract, built in 1948, became L.A.’s first Modern historic district in 2003 containing solely Modern-style, post-World War II homes. It is considered an outstanding embodiment of Aim’s philosophy that modern architecture makes for better living and should be available to everyone .

The Bixby House with Bixby Creek Bridge in the background is on the market for $16 million. (Photo courtesy Sotheby’s International)

The Mar Vista plan was to develop 100 houses on 60 acres. Because the Federal Housing Administration was skeptical about the modernistic design, only 52 houses were built. The existing tract was marketed as the Modernique Homes development emphasizing the flexible, open nature of the floorplans which included folding doors that could convert space from one room to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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