Architect Henry Hill's Personal Residence Is a Modern Marvel in Carmel

When renowned architect Henry Hill purchased land in Carmel-by-the-Sea for a vacation home, his business partners wanted in. So Hill subdivided the property and designed a trio of modern beach houses. Hill's is now on the market for $1.6 million.

The coastal contemporary made waves when it was built in 1966, receiving a spread in House & Garden's Building Guide. The article notes that the house was created for "simplified part-time living." The vertical structure, surrounded by twisted oaks and Monterey pines is elevated above the street and surrounded by decks, which allow for both privacy and ocean views.

The article also mentions a whimsical design for the family's pets: a ground-floor compartment and sun terrace for cats.

Hill, who died in 1984, studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and then received a master's degree at Harvard, where he worked under Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus movement. Hill's signature style combined inspiration from the San Francisco Bay Area with his modernist training, including "the use of wood, the natural surrounding landscape, and Japanese architecture," according to UC Berkeley archives.

The result: The home's stunning cedar exterior, a stone- and copper-clad fireplace, a spiral metal staircase, walls of windows, wood paneling, and a curved pop-out window.

The house is filled with playful splashes of color, such as in the stained-glass windows, pops of orange accents, and even leather squares of varying shades on the ceiling, plus gold paint.

The family eventually left their home above the Berkeley campus to be in Carmel full time in the 1970s. Hill expanded the space to its current 1,800 square feet with three bedrooms, along with a larger kitchen and dining room.

Although it was built in the '60s, the structure has been updated over time, including a kitchen remodel in the past five years to add granite countertops and high-end appliances, and bathroom updates such as new fixtures. Original cork and tile floors remain.

"What's needed to be replaced has been. What's good hasn't been changed," listing agent Jonathan Spencer says.

The home is being sold through a trustee, who owns the home next door. The home is an easy four-block walk to iconic Carmel Beach, considered one of the country's top beach towns.

It will take a fan of Hill's blend of Bay Area modernism to be its next steward. "It is a very unique property. It's going to take a unique buyer," Spencer says.