It’s springtime in California and the wildflowers are blooming with bursts of orange, purple, and yellow all over fields and along hillsides. The rains that drenched the earth of the sunshine state brought about the most beautiful and bountiful season we have experienced in years. Over spring break, Melis and Melda traveled up to northern California with their families in search of inspiration and grandeur among the blooms, which brought them all the way up to Mar Vista Farm + Cottages.
Magically tucked away on the secret coast of Mendocino County, Mar Vista Farm + Cottages is an experience like no other. This is no AirBnb or hotel stay, but a mindful and serene escape that will bring you back to center. Life moves slower among the many acres on which can be found cottages, a farm, a glass house communal area, a redwood soaking tub, forested trails, chickens, and so much more.
House No. 23 had the pleasure of working directly with Christopher and Deanna Boettcher, the stewards of this agriturismo, to turn the living spaces (11 vintage cottages) into areas of rest, calm and ease. Besides opening this retreat up to Melis and Melda’s families, they were also kind enough tell us all about this inspiring property:
1. We know the property has a lush, rich history prior to your discovery of it—can you give us a quick snapshot of the area's past (leading back to the 1800s)? What is your favorite historical detail?
Our property is ceded Pomo Territory and we are grateful for the care and preservation of this space they once inhabited. There is a special, almost magical feeling here—many guests can feel it too. We believe it comes from the deep respect for the land that the Pomo had.
In the late 1800’s this property was part of the Brick and Tile Association—and you can still see why—our land is full of very heavy clay soil. This area was also in the center of a now defunct town called Fish Rock which had its own Post Office and General Store.
It wasn’t until the late 1930s that the original founder, Louis Kovacs, purchased the property as part of 100 acres of land he bought on the coast. He started as a chicken farmer and only came up seasonally from his home in San Francisco.
By the early 1940’s, he and his partner Eschen Eriksen lived here full-time and started building the cottages (which were then fishing cabins) to cater to the year round fisherman coming up here that needed lodgings.
In the mid 1960’s Louis + Eschen sold the property and it would change hands four more times before settling in ours in 2020.
Our favorite historical detail (from the 1800’s) is an allowance in our deed that says we can build a railroad on site if we want to! (We assume this was for the Brick + Tile association to help move the materials out to the dog-hole schooners in Anchor Bay).
2. How did you and Christopher stumble on this property and become stewards of it? Was it serendipitous or intentional?
It was both intentional and serendipitous. We decided in 2019 that we wanted to start a business together that combined our passions and expertise while also enabling us to live the lifestyle we wanted. As we brainstormed, the vision for a place where we could create experiences for people to connect with nature, wellness, and themselves took form. We were living in LA at the time and scouring all lodging broker websites for a property to purchase and build on. One day, a former colleague sent us an article from the SF Gate about Mar Vista going up for sale. He said, “Aren’t you looking to do something like this?”…
That was Jan 29, 2019 and by Feb 4th we made the 9hr drive to come see Mar Vista.
We entered into a contract on March 13th, 2020. YES, the exact date the world shut down. This changed everything for us. What started as a somewhat easy transaction suddenly became nearly impossible. We could not get financing while the business was closed, and once it reopened no bank wanted to talk to us. Hospitality was one of the worst hit businesses during Covid so banks would not even look at our business plan or the actual property itself. We were rejected by 35 banks before we found bank 36 in October 2020. It was an emotional roller coaster and a lesson in never giving up. On December 6, 2020 our dream came true and we officially became the stewards of Mar Vista Farm + Cottages. Perseverance won!
I always tell people - this was not a fluke or fly by idea—this was something we manifested and we made happen. We are meant to be here
3. What amenities and experiences are unique to Mar Vista Farm & Cottages?
We cultivate over 24 raised garden beds of fresh produce year round that we give all of our guests access to, complimenting their meals while staying with us. We also have a flower cutting garden where guests can cut flowers to make arrangements for their cottage.
We deliver fresh laid eggs each evening to all cottages (from our resident hens) for cooking their breakfast daily.
We have private access to the beach across the street. In addition, we also have a small creek trail on our property surrounded by redwood and fir trees. Our Japanese style soaking tub, which is as old as the cottages, is glorious to experience while gazing up at the night sky. We have an outdoor gathering space with a fire pit and barbecues.
We offer daily goat gab and chicken chat—meet our triplet Nubian goats or join us in collecting the day's eggs from chicken city. Guests can also participate in complimentary yoga and meditation on the weekends. Due to the ample outdoor space, Mar Vista offers opportunities for the traveler that wants solace as well as those that want social interaction. They can co-exist here in harmony.
*We are also dog-friendly!
5. How large is the property and how many cottages are there on it? Do the cottages vary in size/style?
The property is 9 acres including a small creek + trail on the east side with 2 ponds on the south side with vast open spaces throughout. We have 11 cottages total—seven 1 bedroom cottages and four 2 bedroom cottages. Most of the one bedrooms are the same size and while the layouts are essentially the same, each cottage has its own charm with different vintage furnishings and views. We do have 2 one bedroom cottages that are larger than the rest offering more relaxing space.
6. How would you describe the style of the cottages? Do you feel the style honors and ties into the surroundings?
I would describe the cottages as Scandinavian inspired and minimal, honoring the original founders intent but modernizing to today's times. Most have large picture windows bringing the outside in and we use only natural materials for all soft furnishings. The cottages tie into the surroundings perfectly, as we have preserved the open spaces—giving ample outdoor space for roaming, playing, and just being. We intentionally have no TV’s in the cottages and the style and layout encourages you to spend less time indoors and more time in nature.
7. On that note, can you tell us about the House No. 23 products and pieces that inhabit the cottages and kitchen of Mar Vista Farm & Cottages? How did you come about incorporating these goods into the space and what do they bring to the overall experience?
We first found House No. 23 while we lived in Los Angeles (before embarking on our business partnership) and purchased the Alaia bedspread at a local Makers Market for our own home. We already loved the product and the sustainably produced philosophy so when it was time to refresh the cottages, House No. 23 was an immediate pick. We chose to adorn all cottages with the Alaia bedspread, and also added the delightful kitchen towels. Not only are the products beautifully made with organic materials, but we also think the minimal modern styles and colors compliment the cottages. The variety of colors and patterns adds a nice touch and also keeps that individual uniqueness to each cottage. We take great care into the businesses that we purchase from and look for like-minded partnerships. We also like to support small, women owned businesses.
The Alaia bedspread is our favorite piece—we use it on our own bed as a layering piece for those cooler nights. But it’s also great to curl up in front of the fire or just lounging with a book. The combination of the larger size and the soft, fine cotton make it cozy without being bulky.
Christopher, Deanna, and their team hope each guest leaves Mar Vista Farm + Cottages feeling INSPIREd. “Everything we do here is rooted in conscious living,” they tell us, “and we want our guests to not only feel it, but be inspired by it. Whether it is eating fresh vegetables from the garden or introducing a child to chickens for the first time. The more we all understand about nature, wildlife and our mother earth, the more we respect and care for it.
If you are looking to feel relaxed, rejuvenated and a bit lighter on your feet, book your visit and stay at Mar Vista Farm + Cottages here: Inspiration is just a click away