Our charming circa 1903 cottage in Mill Valley is just 9 miles north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge in scenic Marin County. This special home is featured in the Summer 2009 issue of Better Homes & Garden’s Creative Home magazine. It has also appeared in California Interiors, an internationally acclaimed design book, and on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Home Section. Filled with antiques, books, artwork and a baby grand piano, this is an elegant, comfortable home away from home close to the culture of San Francisco and the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay, the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Tamalpais.

The cottage is built with rough old growth redwood plank walls and beamed ceilings enameled a luminous white. The Douglas fir floors have been whitewashed to a soft pink glow. Generous windows, French doors and the dining room’s glass solarium ceiling flood the interior with warm light filtered through the verdure of a mature garden with climbing roses and wisteria clambering over rooftops and arbors.

In the living room, a comfortable banquette with down pillows, English antique reading chairs and a French Louis XV style brocade love seat circle a wood-burning fireplace. We created the coffee table from a salvaged slab of antique mahogany. Across the room, built-in bookshelves house a collection of art and design books. A bird’s eye maple drop leaf desk holds Bay Area trail maps and guidebooks.

A wide archway joins the living room with the music room, featuring a 5 ft. grand piano and furnished with a velvet chaise and an English-style overstuffed sofa.  The exterior wall of floor-to-ceiling 1920’s vintage black steel multi-pane casement windows is softened with antique Italian lace curtains. The beautiful green light from the windows is reflected in a wall-size mirror over the sofa.

A step down from the music room is the solarium dining room, with a rough-hewn antique farm table and vintage metal Chinese Chippendale garden chairs. The solarium continues the music room’s steel casement windows, wrapping around to the back of the cottage, where French doors lead to an ipe-wood deck furnished with teak garden benches, Adirondack chair and marble coffee table. The dining room and the deck share a glass solarium roof that is covered in white roses and wisteria each spring.

A half-wall bookcase housing our collection of garden books divides the dining room from a small media room with a comfortable twin daybed sofa for watching the 42” HD plasma TV with home theater sound system. You may view the TV from the dining room, or draw vintage floral chintz drapes across the opening. The sofa can be made up as a twin bed, with memory foam mattress topper, high thread-count linens, down pillow, quilt and down duvet.

There are CD and DVD players, a selection of music and videos, and a wide range of premium cable channels including HBO, Showtime, AMC, IFC, Retroplex, On Demand, etc. There is high speed WIFI internet service for your laptop computer.

The kitchen has custom-built mahogany cabinetry with pink marble counters and a butler sink. There’s a Bosch dishwasher, Gaggenau gas cooktop, electric oven, side-by-side refrigerator with filtered ice and ice water, and small appliances including a microwave, 4-slice toaster, Francis-Francis espresso machine, French press, coffee grinder, Cuisinart food processor/blender, rice cooker, waffle iron, ice cream maker and immersion blender. There’s a full complement of cookware and bakeware, sharp knives and handy gadgets. Tableware includes an extensive collection of vintage English china circa 1840-1940.

The kitchen’s library/breakfast nook is wrapped in white-washed pine bookcases filled with more of our extensive book collection –– here fiction, poetry, cookbooks and reference volumes predominate. An antique pine table is drawn up to a cushioned banquette. Residing over all is a marble Buddha in the window.

The first floor’s full bathroom includes a shower tiled in sea green/blue glass mosaic. A steel casement window in the shower has stained glass panels of Chicago art glass in watery tones.

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a comfortable, Edwardian era English mahogany king bed. The bed is dressed with a memory foam mattress topper, quality linens and quilt, down pillows and duvet. The room’s rough redwood ceiling and walls and Douglas Fir floor are all enameled white. A wedding cake confection of a Venetian glass chandelier hangs from the peaked ceiling; halogen reading lights on both sides of the bed provide focused light.  Japanese and Chinese cabinets act as nightstands; there’s a low wall of poetry books along one side of the bed. A marble-topped Italian vanity table sits across from the bed below a charming amateur copy of a Picasso painting from his pink period; an amateur Monet hangs next to the Dutch door that opens onto a sunrise view overlooking the garden.

A second upstairs room with gas fireplace and flat screen TV with DVD is usually set up as a home yoga studio, with a wall-size mirror and yoga props including mats, blankets, straps, blocks, light dumbbells, etc. It can be used as a queen bedroom on request, with a very comfortable, normal bed-height Aerobed air mattress with a thick mattress pad, quality linens, down pillows, quilt and down duvet. Setting the room up as a nursery with a portable crib is another option.

The upstairs bathroom has a vintage clawfoot tub with hand-held shower spray. Appropriately painted shell pink, the bathroom displays an extensive collection of shells and shell-craft.

The cottage is filled with original works of art, antique furnishings and chandeliers. We are both artists whose media include painting, poetry, letterpress printing and vintage home remodeling. Our home is our favorite work of art, lovingly lived in and created over a period of more than twenty years.

The cottage is surrounded by a long-evolving garden of roses, wisteria, hydrangea, herbs, Mediterranean perennials and California natives. The back deck looks out on a center courtyard with a fountain that is a favorite of local songbirds and hummingbirds; to the left is our studio, where one of us quietly works most weekdays; to the rear is “The Playhouse,” our own cottage retreat. Laundry facilities in the studio are available in the evenings, weekends or by arrangement.

Located at the gateway to Homestead Valley, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mill Valley, our cottage is on a quiet street near the Miller Avenue shopping district, around the corner from Whole Foods Market, Marin Theater Company, and a variety of interesting shops and tasty restaurants.  A Golden Gate Transit bus stop is a block away, with service throughout the county and to San Francisco directly or via the Sausalito Ferry.

It’s a 3 minute drive or pleasant walk to Mill Valley’s charming downtown, with boutique shopping, dining, movie theater, bookstore, library, and live music, theater & stand-up comedy at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. Annual events include the Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in America; the Mountain Play at Mt. Tam’s splendid outdoor Greek theater: Shakespeare, film nights and the Fall Art Festival in Old Mill Park; and the celebrated Mill Valley Film Festival.

A yoga studio and circuit training gym are a block away. We’re at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais, with many miles of gorgeous hiking, running and mountain biking trails. Level, scenic bike trails link Mill Valley to the picturesque bayfront towns of Tiburon and Sausalito. Golf, tennis, indoor & outdoor swimming pools are all nearby; kayaking & sailing on the bay and swimming & surfing at the ocean are 15-30 minutes at most. We’re close to Muir Woods and many beaches, including Muir Beach, Tennessee Valley, Rodeo Beach, Stinson Beach and the Marin Headlands.  From bird watchers to whale watchers, the region is a haven for nature lovers.

Napa and Sonoma wine country and the beautiful coast of West Marin are within 20 minutes to an hour. We’re an hour from both San Francisco Airport, with bus transport to Mill Valley’s Manzanita Parking Lot, a 5 minute cab ride from the cottage; and Oakland Airport, with bus transport to central San Rafael, a 15 minute cab ride. Door-to-door van service is also available to both airports.

Parking is on the street. Sorry, no pets and no smoking. May not be suitable for young children; please inquire.

Rental Rates

$300 per night with a 2 night minimum

$1800 per week

$100 nonrefundable cleaning fee

$500 refundable security deposit

10% tax on rental fee

Mill Valley California Cottage 
Sleeps 2-5     $300/night     $1800/week     Contact millvalleycottage@comcast.net     415.381.1243
  1. 1-3 Bedroom

  2. 2 Baths: clawfoot tub & shower

  3. Living room with fireplace

  4. Music room with baby grand piano

  5. Solarium dining room

  6. Kitchen with library breakfast nook

  7. Media room/optional bedroom

  8. Yoga studio/optional bedroom

  9. Furnished porch, garden with fountain

  10. Linens supplied

More Photos    

            Contact:   millvalleycottage@comcast.net     415.381.1243

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