Lilacs & Laughter: A Cottage in Carmel-by-the-Sea

At first glance, this cottage in Carmel, California, looks like it could be one of Hugh Comstock’s Fairytale Cottages, so I was surprised to learn that it’s much newer, built in 1992. Comstock was building his charming little houses, with names like Hansel and Gretel, back in the 1920s.

This one, called “Lilacs & Laughter,” is on the market for $1.395 million.

The listing says: “In 1902 the tiny oceanside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea was founded. Poets and writers, artists and crafters…they all came to this charming town to experience what was then and still is, a lifestyle unmatched the world over.”

The house has “hand-hewn plank floors, open-beamed ceilings, a fantastic location, and unbelievable detailing.”

There are 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. It’s pretty cozy with only 1,000 square feet.

Like it? For more photos and information about this Carmel cottage, check the listing by Tim Allen Properties.

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  1. says

    i used to live in monterey, ca- right up route 1 from carmel. so many homes in carmel look just like this one… we called them “hobbit houses.” :o) it’s fun to actually get to see inside one of them!

  2. says

    It’s so charming! I don’t think I would update anything but the bathroom. The kitchen is perfect the way it is. Needs better decorating. But it really does look like a storybook cottage!

    • Dawn says

      But they would be a pain to access and skim at that distance. It is nice as a decoration though.

  3. Laura says

    Its so lovely! Being able to see these dreamy cottages is so fun – thanks, Julia!

  4. says

    Love it! I would only change the window treatments and furnishings.

    Such a fun house. I can’t believe it is only 1000 sq ft.

  5. Maddie says

    It is so perfect (well not the bathroom)! Love the arched doorways, ceiling in the living room, and the exterior. I would have so much fun decorating this house. Carmel is heaven–wonderful shops, unspoiled beach, but you better have a dog. This is a serious doggie town. I was there in October with dog and everyone petted her, fed her, she went everyplace with me. Everyone ignored me! Maizie would love it.

  6. says

    The only thing I would change are most of the window treatments, and I think I would paint the kitchen cabinets. I absolutely LOVE these little cottages. The books ranging ’round the living room look great! Thanks for the look inside this little gem!

  7. says

    Carmel is such an amazing town. Did you know none of the houses has a street address? They refer to the houses by names and street intersections.

  8. kelly in georgia says

    PRECOUS! I would change the window treatments in all of it and the backsplash in the kitchen. But it is super cute! As Maddie said above it IS a serious doggie town! I could not believe all of the water bowls for pets sitting outside the shop doors when we were there. Thanks for giving us a look inside one of the cottages! Here is a neat place to stay if you are in Carmel:

  9. Diana says

    It’s a little bit pokey. Is it just me, or does it look too much like a Thomas Kincaid painting, or like a Disneyland version of a fairy tale cottage? The effect is a bit contrived. With some better furniture though (more to scale, i.e. get rid of that huge couch that is dominating the tiny living room) it could be a charming home.

  10. says

    Such an adorable cottage! Carmel is pretty magical.

    Don’t be jealous, but I’m headed there today to meet with a client who just bought a new property. I’ll let you know if it’s anything like this one!

    Have a great Sunday.

  11. says

    Other than a new bath tub, I wouldn’t change a thing! Julia, just think of how amazing my aluminum tray collection would look on the surrounding shelf in the living room…replacing the books!

  12. Cyndia says

    I love this house and all the houses in Carmel. When my daughter lived in Monterey I would visit her & spend at least one full day wandering around Carmel taking pictures of the fabulous architecture there. The whole town is mystical; a bit of steppig out of time. Changing anything but the window treatments would be an absolute shame, as it totally suits the area.

  13. says

    Carmel is one of the most charming towns I’ve been to, and this home is adorable. I have to say, it’s a bit to gee gaw for my taste, I tend to be a bit less “cluttered”. However, I do love the bedroom and the treatment on the walls.
    I think a tiny bit of an update might help, but it is well done in sits in one amazing location!

  14. says

    Looks like a cozy place to live. It is hard to see what is totally going on in the backyard, but the house looks like it has good circulation to the backyard. The first thing I would do is make the patio area more functional for outdoor gatherings, and enhance it with an inviting color palette by way of outdoor fabric selections for chair cushions and the umbrella.

  15. says

    Carmel is such a great place! Sweet cozy cottage…, just the way I like them. The bathroom needs a redo, but otherwise I think it’s just cosmetics. Love the book ledge too.

  16. says

    I wish I had $14 million dollars laying around. I could be quite content in that little cottage. And to have it in Carmel, pure heaven!

  17. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! I WANT this house. I LOVE this style. If only I lived in CA & had 1.395 million dollars!!!!!!!!!!! :) Or even enough for the down payment & mortgage payments :0)

  18. cecile delouvrier says

    Love it! it’s so cute! I could easily see myself living in such a fairy tale!

  19. Cindy says

    I just finished reading a Jane Austin novel, so if I had the money I would definitely move there and become Jane Austin.

  20. Barbara says

    I think it’s perfect the way it is; actually my own bathroom now is very similar; vintage all the way!!

  21. Lynn Shields says

    I lived in Carmel from 2000- 2004 and one of my favorite activities was to walk around town and look at all these “snow white and the 7 dwarves” houses. There is a place that is located down in a glen with” not-to-be-believed” houses like this, with a little foot bridge across the glen. That was my favorite place. Wish I were back there, and oh, by the way, if I owned that house, I would not do a thing to it.

  22. Kim says

    The only things that need to be changed are the window treatments and bathroom. Other than that, I love the cottage the way it is. The woodwork throughout the house is gorgeous.

  23. says

    What a fantastical place! Love it. Would have to update the bath though. Thanks for sharing. Hope your evening is grand. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  24. says

    $1.4 million dollars and they didn’t even bother to take down the balloon shades? I’m not impressed with the panelling in the bedroom either. If I owned this house the first thing I would do is pull down the window treatments and stomp on them and then burn them in a big illegal bonfire in the back yard.

  25. Anne says

    I’d definitely redo the bathroom and kitchen. The tiles gives away it’s age. Other than that I think the rest of the house is very nice.

  26. barb says

    This is so cute, but for $1 million, I think they could update the bathroom tile!!

  27. says

    Oh, I just love that house! I’ve always wanted a storybook cottage, and I’d love to live in Carmel! Swoon! I’d update the bath and paint the bedroom panelling, but I wouldn’t change a whole bunch. I like the storybook character!


  28. says

    LOVE IT! I would nix the tub, window treatments, and kitchen backsplash, and I would probably paint most of the walls stark white. Other than that, I would be a very happy camper!

  29. says

    Ohhhhhhhhhmygracious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want it of course. And nice to know that later versions of these Faerie Tale Homes were built.

    Well now, if I could buy it, then I’d have the $$$ to make my own changes, wouldn’t I? Of course I would. -gigggles-

    Oh what a lovely afternoon project….. To think of all the ways I would make it my own. :-))))))))))))))))

    Gentle hugs,
    “But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie;
    Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie!”

    ~Margaret Junkin Preston

  30. jodi from new jersey says

    I love! It’s so cozy and pretty. I love houses that aren’t up to date in every single room,within every inch of itself. I like to imagine a happy family living there with a dog, snuggling on the couch. Sometimes the garden needs weeding ,and that’s OK–that’s life!

  31. Susan says

    I’d do something with the mauve bathtub–other than that, it doesn’t need much. It’s just lovely.

  32. Janice Mahon says

    My husband and I were wandering up and down Pacific Coast Highway one day several years ago, we stopped and looked around Carmel. I was hoping to see Clint Eastwood, who was Mayor of Carmel at the time. Nope, no Mayor Clint in sight, but the town was enchanting. But OOOH the traffic! Cute house by the way, lots of them like this one in Carmel.

  33. Jen in Oregon says

    It’s lovely! But that bathroom is SCREAMING for a free-standing tub of some kind. Maybe a cast-iron clawfoot, or one of those brass ones (like this? Otherwise, I really like it!

  34. kim says

    If I had $1.395 million, I would surely purchase this stunning cottage in Carmel, California. I really like it just the way it is. In my opinion, “Lilacs & Laughter” looks like The Witch’s House in Beverly Hills, California. I visited this storybook house last month and I was very impressed of it! Its owner, michaellibow wants to preserve it for the historical society. very nice of him!

  35. says

    It really amazes me the difference in prices for properties based on location. Wow! That house in my county would go for considerably less than the asking price. Other than that, the house is adorable.

  36. Jennifer says

    Oh man, it hurts my heart to see that bathtub in a home that costs 1.395mil.

  37. Beverly Palmer says

    What a great way to display books! I love the coziness and storybook feel of it. The only thing I would change is the bathroom.

  38. Shannon says

    This seriously is my dream house. . . I love everything about it!

  39. Debbie says

    Oh to die for!… Now if Publisher’s Clearing would just show up at my door! LOL I wouldn’t change anything except perhaps the Window Treatments, and adding some throw rugs in the living room. I have always wanted to see Carmel By The Sea.