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Charles Greene

Carmel & Monterey Projects

During the later period of his career, Charles Greene had relocated to Carmel, CA. Carmel-By-The-Sea was a bohemian settlement of poets, artisans and artists ideal for Greene's spiritual and creative nature, dotted with quaint rustic cottages. The commission of the D.L. James house in Carmel Highlands in 1918 provided Charles with ample motive to settle permanently in this scenic paradise. With Henry running the office in Pasadena, and with no thoughts of Charles and his family returning there, the Greene & Greene firm dissolved in 1922, with Henry assuming the firm's practice in the Pasadena office.

When Charles Greene first settled in Carmel-By-The-Sea in 1916, he and his family lived in a large house near the ocean that had such bad electrical wiring that Charles refused to have the power turned on during the entire three years they lived there. Artist George Bellows was their neighbor and friend who lived across the street from their second rental home. While in this home, Charles bought property on Lincoln Street & 13th, and in 1920 built a small U-shaped redwood bungalow.

Charles Greene Carmel Studio, (1923)

Charles built his studio in front of and to the side of the original wooden bungalow (now demolished). In 1919, he had purchased the salvaged brick from the demolition of a nearby hotel in Pacific Grove for use in the new studio. The White Lumber Company in San Francisco had long been a source of hardwood for Charles' northern California work. In gratitude, they gave Charles oak flooring and teak for the doors. By doing much of his own work, the studio was built for the modest sum of $2500. Charles died in 1957, and his wife Alice passed away a few years later in 1963. In 1965 when the estate was about to place the property up for sale, a group of developers had drawn up plans to subdivide the property that would have razed the studio. Charles son, Thomas Gordon "Did" Greene and his wife Betty managed to outbid the developers, and set about restoring and making additions to the studio. In 1926 Thomas had moved to Berkeley to attend architectural school at the University of California, but financial reasons led him to discontinue the education where he would have embarked upon a career like his father. The studio addition he did provided the start of a second career in architecture. One of the masons involved in the refurbishing said that he had apprenticed at the studio in the original construction for Charles Greene. See more at the Greene & Greene Virtual Archives Project Drawings.

Closeup of entry closet window
Closeup of entry bathroom window
Side view of front entry
Gate and arched fence

Charles && Henry Greene at DL James House, Carmel, CA 1947
Above: Charles and Henry Greene at the front terrace
of the DL James house, Carmel Highlands, 1947

D.L. James Residence, (1918-1923)

DL James House on cliffs

The D. L. James house, also known as Seaward sits on a rocky cliff above the Pacific Ocean just west of Highway 1. It is located directly across from the Highlands Inn. The entry to the house on the west side of Highway 1 is made up of a clinkered sandstone brick wall and wooden doors contained in an arched portal. The clinkered wall continues along the west side of Highway 1 where it leads to a small turnout and vista point where there is parking for about a dozen vehicles. The house can be seen through the native pines from this location. It can also be viewed from the rocks below accessible from a neighboring development to the south. The house is the most organic form of architecture ever done by the Greenes, and gives the appearance of growing out of the rugged, native rock. This only seems natural since the rock was quarried from Yankee Point, just three-fourths of a mile to the south from the site. The native rock, although of the same composition, is weathered grey in contrast to the sharper quarried rock which is more yellow and gold in tone. Soft sandstone was also utilized for detail work, which was found at the beaches of nearby Point Lobos. Other interior limestone was brought in from Carmel Valley. The chief stonemason, Fred Coleman, was selected by Charles. He lived in a small cottage that he built on the edge of the site throughout the several years it took for construction. Construction had begun in 1918 and lasted 5 years into 1923, when an impatient Mr. James hastened Charles to alter his concepts and finish things to a point where the James could begin to occupy the house. This resulted in some unfinished detail to the interior lights and plans for any furniture by Charles were dropped. Whether this strained the relationship between client and architect is not known, for no work for Mr. James was shown in billing from 1925 until 1937, when Charles was engaged to add the library to the house. See more at the Greene & Greene Virtual Archives Project Drawings.

Entry gate on Highway 1
Side view of entry gate on Highway 1
D.L. James house atop cliffs
Close up, arched windows

Carmel War Memorial, (1922)

Carmel War Memorial on Ocean Ave.

In 1922, Charles Greene designed the Carmel War Memorial for the center median on Ocean Blvd. The memorial was made up stone work that had a tooled, uniformed finish. This was unlike the clinkered look that was typical of other Greene projects in the area, The more rustic texture of the redwood beam that supports the bronze bell with the arch was more typical of other works done by Greene. See more at the Greene & Greene Virtual Archives Project Drawings.

Bronze placque inscription
Carmel War Memorial, looking northeast

Carmel City Hall Proposal

In 1921, Charles drew this conceptual sketch for a design of the new City Hall in Carmel-By-The-Sea. It was never built.

Marvin Flavin Residence, Front Gate, (1928)

Flavin Gate

Another project that kept Charles busy was the Martin Flavin house, known as "Spindrift", in the Carmel Highlands, south of Carmel-By-The Sea. It was built by Charles H. Gottschalk in 1922, but development of it was continual under Charles Greene's guidance, so much so, that the owner Martin Flavin wrote in a letter to Randell Makinson, noted Greene scholar, "Charles Greene was not the architect, but over the long period of years he contributed to it almost everthing of value and distinction, both inside and out... I regard Charles Greene as its creator." The garden walls and front gate were designed by Charles and the library addition was completely his design, and may quite well be his most significant work of this later part of his career. See more at the Greene & Greene Virtual Archives Project Drawings.

Flavin Gate archway and mailbox
Flavin Gate mailbox
Flavin Gate right side archway
Flavin Gate right side

John L. Howard Residence, (1929)

John L. Howard Residence

Charles last complete commissioned design was built in Monterey on 86 Ave Maria Road in 1929 for John Langley Howard, the son of the UC Berkeley architecture professor John Galen Howard. This project initially consisted of a single-storied shingled main house and a small studio located to the right and front of the main house. The siding of this all wooden structure was done in irregular wavy shingles in a pattern reminiscent of the shingle thatched roof of the Mortimer Fleishhacker estate Green Gables in Woodside. One year later, Greene added a second story to the main house

Upper floor bedroom, Craftsman lamp
Living room fireplace
Wall lamp by fireplace
Exterior NE front view, Studio
Exterior NE front view, Studio
Exterior NW front view, Studio
Exterior front view, main house


Charles Sumner Greene & Henry Mather Greene biography
Carmel Walking Tours   Architecture by Charles S. Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright, Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck
D. L. James House    Greene design in Carmel Highlands, California
D. L. James House    A student's case study
D. L. James House Drawings    8 Pages, 120 Drawings & Documents, Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
The Art of Craft   A visit with Randal Makinson, noted Greene & Greene scholar.
More Greene & Greene links


Greene & Greene Books

Cottages by the Sea, The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America's First Artist Community    by Linda Leigh Paul   Highly Recommended!
Five California Architects    by Esther McCoy. A chapter about the Greenes, plus Maybeck
Greene and Greene    by Edward R. Bosley New!
Greene and Greene Architecture As a Fine Art   by Randell L Makinson
Greene & Greene: The Blacker House    by Randell L. Makinson, Thomas A. Heinz, Brad Pitt   New!
Greene and Greene: Furniture and Related Designs    by Randell L Makinson
Greene & Greene: Masterworks    by Bruce Smith, Alexander Vertikoff (Photographer), Edward R. Bosley    Read a good review
Greene & Greene: The Passion and the Legacy    by Randell L Makinson
Images of the Gamble House : Masterwork of Greene & Greene    by Jeanette A. Thomas, Theodore Thomas, Kuniko Okubo (Photographer)
Monterey and Carmel : Eden by the Sea (Hill Guides)    by Kathleen Hill, Gerald N. Hill
Sketches of Carmel-by-the-Sea    by Bryan Lisa, Day Ashley
Toward a Simpler Way of Life: The Arts & Crafts Architects of California    edited by Robert Winter,   Highly Recommended!
Big Sur    by Jack Kerouac

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Last updated 08-20-2004