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View more information about this historic property for sale in Historic New Castle, Delaware

Boulden's Store

Historic New Castle, DE
30 Bromley Road
Pittsford, NY 14534
Phone: (503) 308-0500

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Victorian Revival Vintage Lighting

Mad Dog Primer

Property Details: The Ark     

Property Details: The Ark
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Property Information
The Ark
2191 Ocean Way
Laguna Beach, CA
Find it with Google™ Maps!
Price: $9,995,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.5
Square Feet: 2,400
Lot Description/Acreage:
Blufftop / Oceanfront
Year Built:
Jean L Egasse
Architectural Style:
Arts & Crafts
Contact Information
Name: Markus & Heidi Brown
Agency: First Team Real Estate / Christie's International
Phone: 714-299-3400 or 949-280-2912
Email: Send an email...
Website: Visit the website...
    Historic real estate listing for sale in Laguna Beach, CA
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Property History
Written by Krista Nicholds and Robert Imboden | JANUS

Early Laguna

Long before the city of Laguna Beach was incorporated, the natural beauty of the seaside community was already attracting residents and visitors alike. Artists were naturally attracted to the relative isolation and picturesque beauty of Laguna Beach, and by the early 1900’s, a thriving art community had begun to develop. In those early years, many of the Laguna’s seaside homes were simple framed buildings, modestly clad with wooden siding. Most were intended only for seasonal use by families from the Pasadena, Riverside and Los Angeles areas. By the early 20th century however, this vernacular style was largely becoming replaced by cottages in the Craftsman and other styles popularized during the Arts and Crafts era. As the pace of home construction escalated through the 1920’s, many of Laguna Beach’s homes took on one of the European revival styles, or the more eclectic Storybook style which had become popular throughout Southern California at that time.

2191 Ocean Way

Situated upon the craggy bluff of Moss Point, is a rustic beach cottage at 2191 Ocean Way. The home is seemingly both simple and complex in its design, and is perhaps most notable in its reminiscence of an old sailing vessel. The recessed main entrance is accessed along a narrow wooden deck that reminds the visitor of a stationary gang way. The balustrade continues past the front door hugging the side of the house and was designed to look like the rough-hewn handrail found on a fishing wharf. As the property drops away to the sea, timber support posts are exposed, angled and slightly bowed to mimic the hull of a wooden ship.On the ocean side of the home, the deck which overlooks the ocean, takes the form of a ships’ prow. An early photograph of the home includes a heavy rope, wrapped around the balustrade and attached to a nearby tree stump, theatrically keeping the home from drifting off into the sea below.The original patrons of the home were James and Isabelle (Rice) Utley. During the time of the home’s construction (1923-24), the Utley’s were residing in Los Angeles, in a large two-story Shingle style house designed by the renowned architect Sumner P. Hunt. Like their home in the city, the Utley’s Laguna Beach cottage shared this more informal and rusticated aesthetic. While the house in Los Angeles was large and commodious, the beach house was conceived of more as a compact vacation compound.

Jean Louis Egasse

Although the home’s design has previously been attributed to Yann Egasse. more recent scholarship has confirmed that the house was designed and built by Yann’s father, Jean Luis Egasse. The son of French architect Henri Égasse, Jean Luis was born in Paris in 1886. Following the death of his mother and subsequent remarriage of his father, Jean Luis was sent to school in Spain where began to study architecture. By 1911, he had relocated to the small English hamlet of Welwyn, England where he studied at The Cloisters in nearbyLetchworth. Both Welwyn and Letchworth are notable in social and architectural history, as they are commonly recognized as the first “garden cities.” As an urban planning philosophy, the garden city movement segregated residential, industrial and agricultural zones, separated by “greenbelts,” which afforded residents the advantages of both city and rural environments. Similar to the earlier English Arts andCrafts movement, the garden city concept sought solutions to the slums and pollution of the industrialized cities common throughout England during that time. The profound influences of these studies abroad would later be revealed in his architectural work. While in England, Jean Louis met and married Jessie Reed. The newlyweds set out for the United States in1912, first settling in San Pedro, California, and eventually South Pasadena. In those early years, Egasse worked as a carpenter and gardener. By 1919, he was listed the landscape architect in the development of the new Hollywood Country Club. By the early 1920’s, Egasse had become active as a designer in Los Angeles and in Laguna Beach, and maintained an office in Eagle Rock at least until 1923. The style Jean Louis adapted for his buildings closely reflected the historicist revival that was in full swing in architecture in California in the 1920s. Jean Louis marketed his work by referencing the ancient past which he knew would have public appeal. In an ad he placed in California Southland in 1923 he entices with the headline: “The Craftsmanship of the Guilds of Old Brought into Modern Homes.” By 1923, Egasse had moved to Laguna Beach and was building a house for his own family overlooking Crescent Bay. It was the Utley cottage however, that would be Egasse’s first commission in Laguna Beach and it is believed it was only his second in his career as an architect-builder. In 1926, he was hired to design a hospital building in what the local newspaper announced was in the “Spanish style". With the exception of the hospital though, Egasse remained loyal to the Medieval revival style prevalent in his early work, even adapting it to commercial projects. Egasse’s best known projects in Laguna Beach include the Laguna Beach Lumber Company (384 Forest Avenue) and the Eschbach Building (305 Forest Avenue). In spite of Jean Louis’ efforts, building work became sparse during the depression and sometime in the early 1930’s, Egasse moved with his family to Santa Barbara. There he built a house that had a view of the Mission.

The Legacy of The Ark

It is not known who first coined the name, but over time the house has locally become known as the “Ark.” What also remains unknown, is the impetuous of the home’s unique character. Of his known buildings, Egasse never again returned to the pared down Arts and Crafts form exemplified in the Ark, nor has history revealed what role the Utley’s may have played in the development of the home’s unique expression. Nevertheless, the home’s design could not be more appropriate to its distinct seaside location, perched above the rocky edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. The home is vaguely reminiscent of both Laguna’s early beach cottages, as well as its later homes in the Storybook style. It’s use of natural materials, absence of applied ornamentation and rustic style convey a hand-crafted feeling, securely positioning the home as one of the finest expressions of the Arts and Crafts ideals in Southern California. A former owner of the Ark once wrote, “To own The Ark is to own a piece of Laguna Beach history, and to live in it is to live in a work of art. A magical house in a magical spot, it is one of those rare homes that has the power to truly enrich a life. A one-of-a-kind dwelling in one of the best places on earth.” 
Property Description
Famous for whimsical details and bold “architecture-as-art” style, The Ark is designed to resemble its famous namesake and is one of Coastal California’s most iconic historic homes. Perched on the bluff above the idyllic sandy shore of Moss Cove with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, The Ark boldly faces the deep blue sea as if ready to cast off its mooring and sail to adventures over the horizon. This offering presents buyers with significant tax savings through the Mills Act property tax reduction program and the singular opportunity to become a part of the legend by owning a historical work of art with a rich history at the core of the Laguna Beach experience. The story of The Ark begins in 1923 when French architect Jean L. Egasse was commissioned to apply his famously individualistic vision to build a home befitting of this magnificent blufftop location. The design features ship portholes, carefully knotted ropework handrails, rough-hewn timber beams, a striking stacked stone fireplace tucked beneath the stylized ribs of an inverted hull, and colorful stained-glass windows crafted by one of Disney’s first female graphic designers. The layout includes an oceanfront sleeping porch, an artist’s loft, and the Crow’s Nest – a fully separate guest room with private bathroom located under a canopy of towering heritage Eucalyptus trees. Artists and writers have long turned to The Ark in search of inspiration, and there are numerous examples of locally created art featuring the home, vistas, and the gorgeous cove and beach below. And who wouldn’t find tranquility, or maybe the answers to life’s great mysteries, while gazing out the picture windows at a panorama of waves swirling around rock formations against a backdrop of sunset’s fiery glow? A visit to this magical property is an adventurous exploration, where unexpected details and ancient nautical treasures lie around every corner, and a collection of unique outdoor art installations and carefully curated specimen plants and trees frame the incomparably mesmerizing expanse of the Pacific Ocean. In recent years, the property has undergone renovations including a comprehensive overhaul to refresh the interior wood and to update the kitchen and bathrooms, installation of a new roof that mimics the historic original, and foundation bracing. *Mills Act property tax savings may be as much as $100,000 per year.
Additional Notes
Qualifies for the National Register of Historic Properties. Currently on the Mills Act.
Last Updated: October 25, 2021
All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified.


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