For Carl Malone, a visit to his uncle Emile Norman’s home at the top of Pfeiffer Ridge in Big Sur, California, was a treat. "My dad would throw us in the station wagon every summer," recalls Carl, who first started visiting in the 1960s and now lives in the home with his wife, Pamela.
The spacious home, located three-and-a-half miles off of Highway 1, sits on 40 acres and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. In 2017, Carl and Pamela moved from their home in Monroe, Washington, to the late artist’s residence to restore his art and sculptures and work on the archives.
Born in San Gabriel, California, Emile Norman specialized in sculpture, mosaics, and jewelry and was known for his work with the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco. He once owned a gallery in Carmel, but now his former home acts as a private collection, with art soon joining a permanent exhibit at the Monterey History and Art Association.
What’s impressive about the home—besides the numerous handcrafted mosaics throughout—is that Emile and his former partner of 29 years, Brooks Clement, built the interior themselves, laying pieces of wood over one another in a unique pattern, a mosaic in itself.
The original home was built in three years, but it has gained three major additions since the 1950s. "Every time my uncle got a major commission, the house got bigger," says Carl. "That’s where he spent his money."
The framing and exterior were constructed with locally milled redwood by builders Frank and Walt Trotter. Frank’s son, Mike, is now the caretaker of the grounds—and has been for the last few decades. On the top of the structure lies a spectacular look-out point Emile called the Crow’s Nest, which features a 360-degree view of Pfeiffer Ridge.
The kitchen, a pass-through galley in style, features a 24-karat gold cooktop and rose-gold tile left over from a job Emile completed for the Masonic Temple. Other impressive details include the organ, the central focus of the living room, a gift for Brooks on his 50th birthday in 1971. The spa, which was once used as a greenhouse, features four faces that spurt water into the redwood-clad tub.
"One of the first things that struck me as a kid was how different the house was from the one that I grew up in," Carl says. "[Emile] built all of the furniture and did inlays of leaf patterns on the master headboard. It was his largest piece of art."
In addition to organizing the estate and preserving his legacy, Carl and his wife have brought the electrical system up-to-code and installed a few new sliding doors. "None of the room had power switches because Emile didn’t like the look of them," he remarks.
The historic home is now on the market for $2,000,000, and Carl hopes that the money from the sale will help complete his uncle’s final wishes: building the Emile Norman Arts Foundation and making room for an artist-in-residency program at the home.
45955 Pfeiffer Ridge Road in Big Sur, California, is currently listed for $2,000,000 by Tim Allen Properties.
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