A Renovated Haven in a California Surf Town Asks $2.4M
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A Renovated Haven in a California Surf Town Asks $2.4M

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By Anna Squier
A photographer puts Camp Wilder, her dreamy Bolinas hideout, on the market.

Photographer, maker, and all-around creative Thayer Gowdy rescued this house from demolition and nursed it back to health, calling it Camp Wilder—a multifunctional home, event space, and studio in the artist and surfer paradise of Bolinas, California, about 13 miles northwest of San Francisco. Now, the picturesque Camp Wilder is ready for new homeowners.

Camp Wilder, a Nordic-inspired retreat in the surf haven of Bolinas, California, is a maker’s paradise on expansive grounds surrounded by greenery, expansive views, and natural elements.

Camp Wilder, a Nordic-inspired retreat in the surf haven of Bolinas, California, is a maker’s paradise on expansive grounds surrounded by greenery, expansive views, and natural elements.

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A lush, protected courtyard allows homeowners to enjoy the outdoors but maintain privacy. 

A lush, protected courtyard allows homeowners to enjoy the outdoors but maintain privacy. 

The once run-down property has been transformed into an open, luminous abode with tall ceilings, cozy nooks, and surfer-meets-Scandinavian vibes. Set on expansive grounds surrounded by fruit trees, Camp Wilder is a charming sanctuary away from the bustling city. 

Rustic and modern elements combine to create a polished, surf shack feel. The eye-catching wood stair is a focal point upon entry.

Rustic and modern elements combine to create a polished, surf shack feel. The eye-catching wood stair is a focal point upon entry.

Complete with multiple fire pits, terraced landscaping, and built-in seating, the yard is ideal for  entertaining.

Complete with multiple fire pits, terraced landscaping, and built-in seating, the yard is ideal for  entertaining.

Hands on with almost every detail of this home, Gowdy began the renovation by taking down the trees that were "literally falling on the neighbors' houses," and milling the wood for a new fence and slabs inside the house. After many hours of creative thinking, inventive re-use, and collaborative construction work, the 4,600-square-foot, three-story home, was reborn as a chic, coastal retreat. There’s even a framed view of the Pacific Ocean. 

The stained-glass window was designed by Gowdy in collaboration with Joshua Graae. A hanging chair is a playful addition to the loft-like space, perfect for reading or enjoying a cup of tea.

The stained-glass window was designed by Gowdy in collaboration with Joshua Graae. A hanging chair is a playful addition to the loft-like space, perfect for reading or enjoying a cup of tea.

The inspiration for the decor was a sort of "Nordic, Norcal vibe: rustic, but minimal and clean."  Gowdy scoured design magazines and Pinterest boards for just the right look.

The inspiration for the decor was a sort of "Nordic, Norcal vibe: rustic, but minimal and clean." Gowdy scoured design magazines and Pinterest boards for just the right look.

A thin wood shelf provides a workspace beside the stove.

A thin wood shelf provides a workspace beside the stove.

Shop the Look
Melanie Abrantes Hardwood Bud Vase - Double
Melanie Abrantes Hardwood Bud Vase - Double
Melanie Abrantes transforms sustainable and locally sourced materials into one-of-a-kind vases, planters, serveware + more. Crafted of solid cherry or walnut hardwood, this vase is hand finished with mineral oil and includes a glass vial for a single flower or two.
The Citizenry Aldama Copper Chair
The Citizenry Aldama Copper Chair
The Acapulco chair, synonymous with laid back, resort-style living, represents the best of modern Mexican design.
Magnolia Home Tulum Rug
Magnolia Home Tulum Rug
The Tulum Rug from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines pairs timeless Moroccan design work with soft ribbed texture that provides instant comfort underfoot.

Whitewashed, loft-like spaces, warm timber accents, natural materials, and contemporary furnishings blend to create a raw, playful vibe that is reminiscent of Gowdy’s own creative style. It's a true compilation of art and craft, built by friends, family, and talented builders.

Natural wooden elements, like this custom-made coat rack and 15-foot-long wooden bench, outfit the home.

Natural wooden elements, like this custom-made coat rack and 15-foot-long wooden bench, outfit the home.

Three bedrooms, including the master, are located on the first floor. A handmade stained glass wall frames the master retreat, and is one of many custom-built elements completed by Gowdy herself. 

Pine wood paneling wraps the walls and ceiling of the master bedroom.

Pine wood paneling wraps the walls and ceiling of the master bedroom.

Just off the master bedroom is a private deck complete with its own outdoor claw-foot tub—saved from the original home.

Just off the master bedroom is a private deck complete with its own outdoor claw-foot tub—saved from the original home.

Brass and marble accents, a large wall-mounted sink, and a geometric mirror create a serene bath retreat.

Brass and marble accents, a large wall-mounted sink, and a geometric mirror create a serene bath retreat.

Modern elements blend with rustic materials in the bath, including an open tile shower, marble step, and brass ceiling light from Cedar + Moss.

Modern elements blend with rustic materials in the bath, including an open tile shower, marble step, and brass ceiling light from Cedar + Moss.

A wood stair leads to 1,000 square feet of open living space on the third floor. It’s wrapped with two-story wood slats, an architectural detail that is Gowdy’s favorite element in the home for its clean lines and craftsmanship.

The white-washed wood staircase is framed by wooden slat walls on both sides.

The white-washed wood staircase is framed by wooden slat walls on both sides.

From the third floor, you can see 280-degree views.

From the third floor, you can see 280-degree views.

The open floor plan, which blends dining and living spaces, is ideal for family or friendly gatherings. The 20-foot ceilings give the home a loft-like feel.

The open floor plan, which blends dining and living spaces, is ideal for family or friendly gatherings. The 20-foot ceilings give the home a loft-like feel.

A built-in window seat next to a rattan dining table and bench create a welcoming dining nook which looks onto the hillside.

A built-in window seat next to a rattan dining table and bench create a welcoming dining nook which looks onto the hillside.

The maple kitchen cabinets are punctuated by leather and brass pulls.

The maple kitchen cabinets are punctuated by leather and brass pulls.

White walls and wood accents create a subdued, relaxing vibe.  A skylight draws light into the cooking and living spaces from above, while large windows provide views of the California scenery.

White walls and wood accents create a subdued, relaxing vibe. A skylight draws light into the cooking and living spaces from above, while large windows provide views of the California scenery.

Camp Wilder, located at 165 Nypmh Road in Bolinas, California, is listed for $2,395,000 through Sotheby's International Realty.

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Project Credits:

General Contractor: Nemec Construction

Interior Design: Wilder Creative

Cabinetry Design / Installation: Kurtis Major