Finding undeveloped land in the idyllic Californian city of Carmel-by-the-Sea is next to impossible. So when architect Mary Ann Gabriele Schicketanz decided to leave rural Big Sur, where she had lived for 21 years, and move to town, she looked for a good lot with a house she could tear down. But when she found a two-bedroom built in 1972, she instead embarked on a massive renovation of the structure. The end result? A LEED Gold–certified urban hideaway that bows to its modernist history, while giving off a distinctly contemporary feeling.