Real Estate / Houses

Carmel’s One-of-a-Kind Butterfly House is For Sale Following its Magnificent Restoration

A Glimpse Inside the $40 Million Dreamy California Abode

BY // 04.21.23
photography Sherman Chu

There are few destinations in the country, or really around the world, that rival Carmel, California. From its idyllic temperatures to its scenic geography, Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of Dallasites’ top destinations for a reason. And now, for those looking to ditch the Texas heat for Carmel’s temperate climate, beauty, and luxuriously casual lifestyle, the one-of-a-kind Butterfly House is beckoning you to find refuge under its wings.

Offered furnished for $40 million by Shelly Mitchell Lynch of Carmel Realty Company, The Butterfly House is on the market for only the fourth time since it was built in 1951. Located at 26320 Scenic Road, the iconic home recognized around the world recently went through a massive renovation and restoration by acclaimed Los Angeles designer Jamie Bush. Restoring and protecting this home is an architectural feat within itself. It’s considered to be the epitome of mid-century architecture and is celebrated by Architectural Digest as one of the Top 100 Homes in the World. Safe to say, the home is a piece of living art.


The Butterfly House is on the market for only the fourth time in its history.

The home has a spirit and soul of its own, enduring decades of change yet familiarity, consistent with the sea that surrounds it. Generations of families have owned the home, many architects or builders themselves, each putting their own personal touch and fingerprint on the residence.

And a family home it truly is. While the home is obviously extremely unique and efficient in its space, it offers a rare opportunity to raise a family within the intimate embrace of nature. Sitting atop a secluded bay and one of five truly oceanfront properties in Carmel, the home’s residents are exposed to the rhythms and routines of nature that one can only dream of, with orcas and humpback whales regularly passing by.

The house invites the magic of the outdoors inside its walls, true to its California roots. A plethora of natural light provides the perfect opportunity for the California sunshine to glow throughout the home, creating the perfect sun-kissed ambiance. In the massive restoration, modern technology was built into the home, such as the wall of commercial-grade SmartGlass in the living room which senses and responds to light, heat, and glare. It automatically adjusts the level of tinting for a customized experience and your complete enjoyment of one of Architectural Digest’s 50 Most Beautiful Rooms in the World.

The designer cites the owner’s brave vision in recreating this 3,700-square-foot home that features three-bedroom suites, a stunning office overlooking the private beach and cove, a quiet media room, and a private and protected courtyard that includes a new pool and hot tub.

The home incorporates a variety of organic and modern textures, especially when it comes to its flooring and walls, that create a seamless transition between its outdoor and indoor spaces. The courtyard is adorned with a custom sculptural firewall commissioned by Stan Bitters, intended to mirror the colors of the sea and rocky coastline.

Design was key in reimagining the spaces like the modern, efficient kitchen which has hosted world-class chefs who have reveled in its jaw-dropping views.

“The interiors are intentionally varied in materiality and tone combined with brutalist elements that reflect the rugged coastline whilst still achieving a warm and harmonious organic feeling in the house,” says Bush.

Remnants of the ocean and nods to the sea are sprinkled throughout the home, incorporating maritime hues and geological motifs in its furniture and decor. It’s impossible not to feel completely at peace and one with the ocean when wrapped inside the warmth of the Butterfly House.


The wrap-around porch instantly transports you off the coast and into the sea.

And, it’s almost like nature recognizes and protects the home as one of its own. Even through California’s brutal winter storms and king tides this year that produced 20 to 30-foot waves, the integrity and engineering of the Butterfly House could not be shaken. Emerging safe, majestic, and unscathed, the home was protected by its granite rock outcroppings as waves crashed and curled under the home’s deck.

Naturally, the Butterfly House is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Guests approach the house through a private gated entrance and zen, custom-curated garden that evokes the colors and seasonal natural beauty of the California coastline. The home is perched on the California coastline directly above Carmel Bay and is westward facing, which provides unobstructed sunsets and moonsets on the Pacific Ocean horizon all year long.

Take a seat on its expansive wrap-around porch, the perfect place to enjoy a morning mimosa or a nightcap. Cozy up by the fire pit to stay warm and listen to the waves as California’s brisk evening temperatures settle in. And, if you’d rather take a quick dip in the pool instead of the ocean, the house’s pool nestled in the interior courtyard offers the ultimate private escape.

Few times in life does one have the chance to experience the intersection of nature and design as intimately as at the Butterfly House.