Log Cabin at Nepenthe, Big Sur

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Bedroom in log cabin at Nepenthe, the hilltop restaurant in Big Sur. The log cabin was open to the public for 3 hours on last Saturday.

This is the original building on the site, which was bought in 1944 by Orson Welles and his wife Rita Hayworth. They never returned, and when they got divorced in 1947, they sold the cabin and surrounding 12 acres to Bill and Lolly Fassett. The Fassetts then hired architect Rowan Maiden to design the restaurant.

I lived in Big Sur for three years in the ’60s and had never seen the cabin; nor did I know the background. The Fassetts still own Nepenthe, and Lolly’s granddaughter lives in the cabin.

Note: The roof sheathing is split (not sawn) old-growth redwood boards.

Despite all the years and the overcrowding of tourists on some days, it’s still a magical place.

Tip: You can avoid the pricey dinners by getting a draft beer and an “Ambrosiaburger” at the bar.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Log Cabin at Nepenthe, Big Sur

  1. martin says:

    I haven’t been to Big Sur or visited Nepenthe for at least dozen years (too much traffic/too many visitors anymore) but have visited many times in the past and an Ambrosiaburger was always de rigeur each time I did.

  2. Tina says:

    Several days ago I read this post and thought that’s a beautiful space. Today I’m in my favorite thrift store looking in the book section and there is a memoir cookbook called My Nepenthe by Romney Steeel for $1 !! The recipe for the ambrosia burger is on page 65 …and of course I bought it!!

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