Baby Steps – Cleaning up the property

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Palms cleaned up beautifully!

Since purchasing this wonderful property in February, we’ve been hard at work with our architect (Eugene Sakai, Studio S Squared), so develop our site plan and the floor plans and elevations for our dream compound. We have made much progress on these elements, but as they are all conceptual, it’s been leaving us feeling like we were just watching our lovely property sit stagnant as spring and now summer have come and gone, leaving the grasses dried out and the overall property looking a bit shabby.

To counter act this we’ve begun to do some initial landscape maintenance to prepare for the larger building project we hope to begin as soon as possible in 2017. This maintenance process began with having Quality Arbor Care (Henry Bosinger and team) come out to assess the condition of the existing trees throughout the property. We came to the conclusion that all of the palm trees were in good condition, they just needed some clean up and care to allow them to stand majestic. Unfortunately, the few other trees on the property were in varying stages of disease and were sadly dead or dying. As such, we decided to clear these out to allow us, when the time comes, to plant new drought tolerant trees and plants, which will ultimately help to bring this lovely estate to its full potential beauty.

In addition to cleaning up and clearing out the trees, we also brought in Nate Arroyo and his crew to help clear out years of overgrowth and blackberry brambles, as well as get a start on the massive job of weed abatement. Nate and his team have done a terrific job clearing out tons of overgrowth and trash, with their crowning achievement being the bark they took painstaking effort to lay out (with weed abatement cloth underneath), along the front, center and sides of the property.

All of their efforts, combined with Quality Arbor Care’s hard work on the trees, has helped to give us a nice start toward bringing this property to life again. Many thanks to Henry, Nate and their crews for all of their hard work!

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Tree clean up process

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Palms looking much better with the old fronds removed

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Look at all those old palm fronds!

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Weed abatement bark along the front helps make the property look much cleaner

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Center court weed abatement bark

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Starting to looked loved…

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Welcome to the Castle!

FrontView_OldSHotWelcome to the new site dedicated to the historical landmark, most frequently referred to as the “Red Brick Castle.” Over the coming months and beyond we will be posting information about the property, its history and its future.

We purchased this wonderful, crazy historic property in February 2016 and are excited to tackle restoration work, as well as round out and compliment this property with new residential homes to complete what will become our primary family compound. I will be documenting here for anyone who cares to follow the progress of our restoration and construction project.

The first step in our project was to work with our historic architect, Nancy Goldenberg of Carey & Co, to document a historic assessment report, providing the Historic Preservation Committee of Santa Cruz with an overarching report on the condition of each element of this historic property. This report, as well as a structural report from our civil engineer, Dale Hendsbee of Mesiti-Miller Engineering, has helped to inform us of the structural integrity as well as historic significance of each component of this mysterious property.

We have begun the process of working with the city planning department and Historical Planning Commission as to how best to renovate this gem while providing visibility to these landmarks. Our intent is to save and restore all of the major (significant) components of this amazing architecture. The most significant components being the front archway, or Gate of Prophecy; the main brick house, or Red Castle; the two obelisks set at the front of the property, and a representative portion of the original fence or wall along the front of the property to either side of the archway. All will be carefully documented and given respectful representation in our historic depictions of the property, which we plan to portray, along with historical facts and urban legend on a tasteful placard set at the front of the property once our restoration work is complete.

Looking forward to taking any interested readers along on our journey!