Seashell home undulates with Carmel landscape

Jennifer Karmon

Tucked into a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this $4 million property on Yankee Point in Carmel, California, is a sensitive yet playful response to its marine surroundings. (Check out a slideshow of the seashell house on Yahoo! Homes.)

Listing agent John Saar tells Zillow in the video below that there are "all kinds of little coves around the different houses here," including Yankee Cove. "The original owner of the property knew how fascinating [the undulating environment] was" and sought the perfect designer to build an appropriate living space -- settling on architect Mark Mills, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright with a love of organic shapes.

"Mark came up with one of the most amazing sort of indoor-outdoor experiences. ... Throughout the house there's this seashell feeling, this movement, this roundness."

The home doesn't take itself too seriously, though. Saar points out "sea-foam bubbles in the kitchen door," as well as porthole-style "wild, beautiful-colored circles" embedded in the entry door (pictured below):

And a sculpture of storks in a nest perches atop the home. Its outline is visible in the photo above; here's a closer view at right.

The seashell theme takes a page straight from Frank Lloyd Wright, who called seashells shelter made by God.

The home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a guesthouse with one bedroom and one bathroom, for a total of 2,267 square feet of living space.

Of course, a house as distinctive as this is going to have its detractors. Critics in a Frank Lloyd Wright chat forum think it looks like a California "monstrosity" known to many as the Flintstone House. "Mark Mills was one of the best of the Taliesin lot, but this house is beyond the Pale. It looks to me less like a lobster than a barnacle," says one crabby commenter.

We can't deny a certain resemblance:

(Photo credit: Sergei Krupnov on Flickr)
(Photo credit: Sergei Krupnov on Flickr)

(This house is in Hillsborough, California, and is visible from Interstate 280.)

If you'd like to read more about Mark Mills' architecture, check out this Dwell article from July 2004 that we found on Google Books: