The island of Alameda is considered by some as the hidden gem of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Your hosts have turned their circa 1890s detached carriage house and stable into a welcoming garden cottage. This tastefully appointed guest spot is perfect for a quiet getaway or extended academic or corporate visit.
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood, you are just walking distance from Park Street, Alameda's central shopping district. Here you'll find everything you need....antique shops, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and the newly renovated Alameda Theatre. Less than a mile away you'll find a pristine beach park with stunning views of the San Francisco skyline.
Want to head into 'The City'? You are just 25 minutes away from all SF has to offer. We are close to the Alameda ferry, AC Transit and BART. A quick drive over the Bay Bridge drops you right into the heart of downtown San Francisco.
The Carriage House: The owners have spent decades collecting antiques and designing interiors and have used their talents to create a comfortable,quiet vacation space for those who appreciate a green way of living.
Virtually every item, from floor to ceiling is recovered or recycled in some way.
The Garden: The bungalow is covered by a gorgeous and legendary Wisteria tree that is the star of the spring season.
The practice of 'Living Green' extends to the lush surrounding gardens. Old San Francisco cobblestones, recovered copper downspouts and perfectly placed architectural elements create a serene garden so creative you'd think you were on a movie set.
A Coi pond that is sometimes visited by elegant egrets, sits just outside the bungalow door. The garden is surrounded by three small aviaries that house small families of canaries. Their song and the sound of flowing water will lull you while you read a book in the sun on your own private patio.
The Neighborhood & Beyond: Developed in the late 1800s as a beach resort community, the modern day version still holds much of it's charm from the early 20th century.
Take a drive through the different neighborhoods and you'll see beautiful examples of California architecture. Perfectly restored Victorians share the same street with cute California Bungalows and Craftsman style homes.
The talents of your hosts, John and Arthur, have appeared on HGTV’s Curb Appeal and in a series of books on Arts & Crafts bungalows by Paul Duchscherer – The Bungalow, Inside the Bungalow and Outside the Bungalow. Their business, House of Orange, specializes in European Arts & Crafts furnishings, and some of their most outstanding pieces are now in the homes of local collectors who have become close friends over the years.
Their carriage house – circa 1890, has been turned into a garden guest cottage – and except for a few planks, tiles and a sofa bed, the cottage and its contents are all recycled in some way. The wood interior and exterior siding are bits and pieces from old projects, and with their creative eye, all the pieces work: as ceiling and wall sections, windowsills, door jambs, storage closets - you name it!
Their recycling even extends to the surrounding yard. Reclaimed copper downspouts from the roof divert rainwater into the koi pond and an existing well. The outdoor lighting is on a sensor to save energy, and old lanterns were rewired as lamps. Chimney liners were turned into water features and pulley hooks into sturdy plant hangers. All plants need little to no watering and bloom beautifully.
Wisteria Cottage – a name given to it by friends and guests – may be small, but every idea John and Arthur used was big on result and can easily translate on an even grander scale. They provide decorating, remodeling and landscaping services and advice.
John and Arthur are called the “Green Giants” because they are all about reducing, reusing and recycling in a BIG and BEAUTIFUL way. Whether shopping at thrift stores for clothing, repaving their driveway with old cobblestones from a San Francisco street, or resurfacing floors with reclaimed wood, they make mindful and creative use of materials with spectacular results!