Location: Carmel, California
Perched above a sandy stretch of Carmel Bay on the Monterey Peninsula, 2645 Ribera Road sits on one of the winding blocks that make up this small oceanfront neighborhood. The property is just a few steps down a hill to Ribera Beach and the Carmel Meadows trail. Leaving the neighborhood, a ten-minute drive north takes you to the fairy-tale-like Carmel-by-the-Sea downtown, packed with art galleries, wine tasting rooms, and European-inspired bistros like La Bicyclette. Heading south, the nearby Point Lobos State Natural Reserve (where you can spy seals, seal lions, birds, and tide pools) is a gateway to Big Sur’s dramatic coastline and endless outdoor recreation.
Specs: 4 beds, 4.5 baths, 8,237 square feet, 0.36 acres
At first glance, this home, designed by architect Daniel Piechota, looks like a sleek but discreet bunker, with long horizontal lines running across a three-car garage covered by a sod roof. Made from poured concrete and built into the hillside in 2000, it’s one of Piechota’s many residential designs that seek to blend unobtrusively into the landscape. But once inside, everything feels lighter and a lot more dramatic, starting with a two-story concrete entry staircase and a great room with double-height windows framing panoramic ocean views of Point Lobos. The open-concept living and dining areas both have gas fireplaces and sliding doors to a patio, and the kitchen features double black granite islands. The master bedroom, with sliding screen doors for privacy, is located just off the main living spaces, while the lower level offers another family room, theater, laundry, and three guest suites with bathrooms and access to a lower patio.
Notable feature: Barrel-vaulted ceilings
There are five barrel-vaulted ceilings in the home, all made from vertical-grain Alaska yellow cedar, drawing your eyes up to the clerestory windows. These striking slatted-wood ceilings, flanked by glass, are reminiscent of the sculptural ceilings found in ocean-view stunners by famed Big Sur architect Mickey Muennig, whom Piechota apprenticed under not long after college.