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Del Mar's Community Plan

Gentle Remodel
Shannon Hogan Cohen | Luneta Drive

Photo Shannon Cohen Hogan
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Many of you may be familiar with the Anne Hathaway Cottage, a storybook style home on Luneta Drive and a symbol of bygone days. The labyrinth garden, rolled roof, beveled glass and window boxes exude charm. It has been featured in numerous publications showcasing its distinctive cottage ambience and architecture. This local jewel was modeled after Anne Hathaway’s childhood farmhouse near Stratford in Warwickshire, England. For those of you who are thinking of the Hollywood actress, you are mistaken. Ms. Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare.

I was honored when the Sandpiper asked me to write about this enchanting cottage. My family and I purchased the keepsake home, located in the heart of Del Mar village, six months ago. Prior owners Nancy and James Schibanoff had been stellar stewards for over forty years. Although the home was built in 1910, their care and attention made it possible for us to pursue a gentle refurbishment versus a major renovation. We were determined to preserve the heritage, and maintain the charming character inside and out.

It needed a little mending. Much of the original construction is still intact. A stately fireplace with antique terra cotta tiles is the central focus as you enter the front door. In each room the original, creaky wood floors still exist, but they have been refinished to showcase coastal colors. The Schibanoffs were very thoughtful people and left a literature lover like me flabbergasted with countless books in the library. A treasure trove of timeless books in various genres tucked nicely into the handcrafted, wooden shelves with lead glass cabinet doors. I relish every day the timeworn distinct smell that permeates the room. These books are generous gifts that continue to give for generations to come.

In the well-established English garden we overlaid existing brick pathways with a unique, natural quartzite. A low water landscape design was incorporated while replacing invasive vines and solid shrubberies with drought tolerate plants and native flowers. A focal point in this California garden is the trellis structure which incorporates sentimental, stained glass. This visual feature was part of a cabinet that Mr. Schibanoff’s mother handcrafted for him years ago and we used to create a fresh look while enhancing the garden’s form and functionality.

Our neighbors have been warm and welcoming. It has been a natural transition without complication for my two teenage boys. They both are attending Torrey Pines High School. One of their buddies always asks me, “What is it like living in a gingerbread house?” My retort is consistent, “like a fairy-tale.”

This little treasure is a portal to the past that continues to provide pleasure for my family in the present. It was important to preserve the stories of this home. We will continue to represent and respect its history while creating our own story as well.


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