Over a period of two years Harry worked on the Hill House in Carmel-by- the Sea, transforming it from a dated home to a coastal/beach house jewel with modern architectural touches, outside as well as inside. The architect was Henry Hill, however again Harry Parashis handpicked the contractors, materials and managed the daily operations of the project. The result is one of the most beautiful and artful homes of Carmel by the Sea. It is an example of how a home can showcase a combination of beautiful art and architecture and how it can lighten up anyone’s day and life.
The Hill House is currently a private Residency.
The house was built in 1919 by art patron and socialite Elizabeth Bigelow. Elizabeth was instrumental in solidifying Carmel as an artist haven, serving as a mentor and muse for local artists. Most notably, the world-renowned artist John O’Shea followed Elizabeth to Carmel in 1918 from Santa Barbara. John superintended the building of the house, “one of the show places of Carmel.”
Harry Parashis restored this historic, century-old property, in the 1990s, with stunning views and over 4,100 square feet of living space to its former glory. The house boasts seven bedrooms, four full and two half baths, seven fireplaces, a gracious living room with high ceilings, original redwood beams and skylights as well as a hot tub. The stunning grounds feature breathtaking ocean views, a hot tub, outdoor patios, winding pathways, custom fireplaces, artistic stonework, unique arches, fountains, and lovely terraced gardens bearing fruit trees, flowers and vines. A true romance of artistry and historical design; designed and realized by Harry Parashis. The house was upgraded by Brian Swette in 2001.
John O’Shea Biography, the builder and original owner of the house: One of the leading artists in the Carmel area between 1917-1945, he painted in oil, watercolor and charcoal. John’s avant-garde and vibrant paintings of landscapes helped soldiery Carmel as the artistic destination it is today. While maintaining a studio in his home since 1917, he became active with the art community in both Carmel and San Francisco. Two years after his marriage to Molly Shaughnessy in 1922, the couple built a home near Smugglers Cove in Carmel Highlands. The O’Shea’s led a very active social life. His friends included Theodore Morrow Criley, poet Robinson Jeffers, photographer Edward Weston, artists Thomas Parkhurst and William Clothier Watts, William Ritschel and Burton Boundey. It was through his travels in the Southwest, the South Seas, Mexico, and Hawaii, that O’Shea developed his unique style – a blend of American Impressionism, realism, and abstraction. A highly versatile artist, he left a legacy of over five hundred works in oil, watercolor, and charcoal. John O’Shea died at home on April 29, 1956, at the age of eighty.
The exquisite Escondido Alfred Beach House is one of the San Diego area’s most revered and renowned examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture. This crown jewel landmark sits high above its neighbors and is rightly celebrated. Built in 1896 for real estate broker and insurance salesman Albert H. Beach and his wife Anna, it underwent a master restoration with only the most exquisite and handcrafted materials and interior decor and has received many design awards. The two-and-a-half story home has four bedrooms and three baths, with an estimated 3300 square feet of living area. This famed Queen Anne Victorian estate is one of San Diego’s cherished architectural treasures on the National Registry of Historic Places and part of the Mills Act, a state law allowing local governments to reduce property taxes (by as much as 70%),” proclaim listing materials for the home.
Inside is nothing short of perfection with the most historically accurate and luxurious furnishings and fabrics. The home “boasts one of the most intricate collections of hand-printed Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper in the country, which are intricately detailed and provide interest and layers of authenticity along with hand-crafted wood doors, trim, knobs and hinges, genuine antique lighting and fixtures, turn-of-the-century finishes and furnishings from all over the world, including the personal homes of famed historians and figures such as Ulysses S. Grant and Wyatt Earp. The home’s generously proportioned, sunlit rooms include formal living and dining rooms, a parlor, garden, and breakfast room, many of which feature detail work or additional intricately-patterned wallpaper on the ceilings. The property also features several covered patios for outdoor living, along with “an elaborate 2001 award-winning Swiss Victorian gazebo.” The half-acre grounds are formally landscaped with ornate hedges, mature wisteria, and a Victorian water feature. The property is surrounded by a “gold-tipped, hand-welded privacy gate.” Along that line, the home has the well-advised option to the new owner of purchasing this masterpiece fully furnished.
4 sumptuously appointed bedrooms and 2 full plus a half bath rounds out the 3300 sq. ft. The most amazing gardens live here, with a master-crafted gazebo, a fountain, trimmed hedges worthy of Versailles and magazine-styled porch living, all perfectly sited on .5 acres. Escondido’s Beach House may be more than 15 miles from the coast, but it’s filled with historical charm and old-world craftsmanship you won’t find in a modern oceanfront mega-mansion. The half-acre grounds occupy three times as much land as a typical plot in Escondido’s historic district and are formally landscaped with ornate hedges, mature wisteria, and a Victorian water feature. The property is surrounded by a “gold-tipped, hand-welded privacy gate.”
The Beaches family, who arrived in Escondido when the town’s population barely topped 1000, didn’t stay for long. After four years, Albert and Anna sold their house at the corner of Juniper and Seventh, moving to Los Angeles, where Albert would eventually take on a massive development project in the Hollywood Hills. Beachwood Canyon, site of the famous Hollywood sign, bears his name. Henry Putnam, an inventor who created a type of barbed wire, a sealing system for bottles and jars, and carpet tack, arrived from Ohio and bought the home in 1900. He stayed until his death in 1915, playing a major role in the development of Escondido’s water system. Henry Timken, another inventor who made his fortune designing carriage springs, then purchased the home as a gift for his daughter and son-in-law. A later design, the roller bearing system used even today in many automotive applications, allowed Timken to further his wealth – by 1923 an estimated 90 percent of the nation’s bearings were manufactured in his Ohio factory. Later owners included a local hardware store owner who purchased it for $28,000 in 1945 and a former Palomar College dean who, after buying the house in 1968, finally replaced the original wood-burning stove in the kitchen.
The home eventually fell into disrepair and was purchased by art dealer Harry Parashis and his wife Letitia for a reported $300,000. The Parashises spent several years working with historical architecture experts and skilled craftsmen to restore the home to its former glory. Parashis and his wife Letitia spent several years working with historical architecture experts and skilled craftsmen to restore the home to its former glory, from a state of disrepair. Harry personally hired the craftsmen, purchased the materials, and managed day to day renovation activities.
“The house’s restoration has received more than 18+ editorial and design awards, and in 2001 was the subject of the PBS TV show Restore America,” and a local channel KPBS Historic Homes segment. The home’s most recent sale was in 2016.
The Historic Four-Acre Adobe Estate in Monterey, California, Casa Boronda – Splendid Reality on the Mesa Since 1817. Open to select guests and special events for the first time in its two-hundred-year history, Casa Boronda is a matchless and elegant piece of California history.The four-acre Boronda adobe is Monterey’s first residence and one of California’s oldest, built during the reign of Emperor Ferdinand the 7th. Lovingly maintained and in immaculate condition, Casa Boronda is the ultimate retreat for those who value tasteful authenticity. The wooded estate includes three separate historical buildings, sleeping eight. Unequaled.
Over a four year period, Harry Parashis painstakingly restored the four-acre grounds and the three buildings on the Casa Boronda property in Monterey. The main adobe house, the carriage house, and Case Vaquero were restored with nearly the same materials as used in 1818, thus preserving its history for generations to come. Harry handpicked the workmen, materials, and managed the day to day operations of the restoration project. The result is a magnificent original building, in which Harry lived with this family, his wife, and daughters, in the buildings filled with this beloved art of the Early California period. Casa Boronda is the least architecturally altered residence in Monterey, with the most complete historical record. It also has the distinction of having been painted by (at least) three leading artists: Francis McComas, Evelyn McCormick, and descendant Lester Boronda, whose paintings were showcased in Harry’s home.
Learn more about Casa Boronda on this page