A restless property with a haunted bedroom is transformed into a Californian cliffside hideaway

When Carey Crosby bought a house in Stinson Beach, about an hour from San Francisco, she knew she was up for it. “There had been deferred maintenance everywhere,” she said. There were two kitchens, one in the main property and one in the adjoining apartment, and both had obviously been untouched in decades.

A bedroom on the lower level was lit by a pair of fluorescent lights better suited to a garage, which made it look “clearly haunted,” Carey says. The burnt red coating was peeling off after years of sun exposure and plants were overgrowing the dusty pockets of forgotten land. But Carey bought the place for her setting. There are only so many places on the California coast where you can still feel remote. “It’s only 30 minutes from civilization, but the area has retained its rural and friendly personality,” she says.

BEFORE: Downstairs bedroom was “haunted” when Carey moved in. “We called it the ‘hostage room,'” she jokes.

AFTER: “Andrew completely reconfigured this bedroom to create a huge master suite with my study area, my bed, my walk-in closet and a stunning spa bathroom with a freestanding bathtub. I painted everything white and burned some sage – no more hostages!

Plus, even though the house needed a lot of work, Carey knew she could handle it with the help of friends Andrew and Kerstin Fischer. They own Fischer Architecture, a company specialized in modernizing old houses for the present. Additionally, Carey had partnered with them on four previous renovations. This particular house had been built in the 1920s and repaired a few decades later. That mid-century influence was everywhere, from the all-over panels to the choppy layout, and Carey wanted to find a way to retain the best parts while removing the rougher ones. In other words, she and the Fischers were already on the same page.


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