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Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076
Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076

The RetreatSerene historic home on 2 acres in sunny central Marin

Bedrooms 5
Half Baths2
Space 4,000 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

5 bedroom, 4-1/2 ba. house surrounded by gardens and nature.

This property is one-of-a-kind. It's beautiful, private, serene, filled with vintage charm, totally functional for relaxed modern living, and perfectly located. The house is rich with history, lovingly renovated to preserve its character. It was originally built in 1903 as a retreat for Catholic women, both nuns and lay people. The main living spaces were prayer rooms filled with pews, the nearby cottage housed the Mother Superior, and a Stations of the Cross path ran through the woods behind the house. Half a century of prayer and meditation have left its impression: calm permeates the house and its surrounds.

The house itself has been lovingly renovated to retain as much historic character as possible. There are so many lovely, unique touches throughout: antique windows with their original wavy glass, claw foot tubs, the 1950's Wedgewood stove, the comfy front porch swing, the cottage garden. The house has large, light-filled spaces and 10' ceilings throughout. BIg windows look out onto a sea of sunny green: gardens, old oaks, woodland and redwood groves. There are two wood-burning fireplaces, a hot tub and an outdoor fireplace.

The house is on a gated property at the dead end of a small street, so there's no traffic and absolute privacy. There are two rental cottages in the compound but they are a good distance from the house. The property couldn't be more conveniently located: walking distance to Kentfield town center, 5 minutes from HWY 101, 20 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, 30 minutes from San Francisco, 40 min. from wine country, smack in the middle of the prettiest part of Marin and close to everything.

The Retreat is recently redecorated top to bottom with the highest quality custom furnishings, excellent beds, fresh paint - and feels absolutely clean, open and fresh.

Best of all - there are so many spaces to gather! This property is perfect for a family vacation, business retreat or friends getaway. We've never lived in a house that's better for hosting. Start with a glass of wine on the deck, move to the dining room for dinner, gather in front of the fire in the living room, and move to the outdoor fireplace for a jam session. Movie night is covered with a full-wall projection system and surround sound. Downstairs can be for the kids, Scrabble at the game table or reading a book by the fire. (It's not good, however, for parties or events as parking is limited to two spaces and nearby street parking is very limited.)

The 4000 sf main house has 5 bedrooms and sleeps 8 comfortably in real beds. Below the main house is a one-bedroom garden apartment with its' own entrance, that comfortably sleeps 3, available as a separate rental. Rent just the main house or both. The entire 5000 sf house can comfortably sleep 11 people in proper beds.

Parking for two guest cars is included in the rental. Rent the Garden apartment as well and you get an additional parking space.

More Details

Jenny Israel
Member since: 2014
Speaks: english, spanish
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
January 17, 2018

About Jenny Israel

I am a native of Marin, and love everything about it! Hiking, beach barbecues on Muir Beach, Mountain Home Theater, burritos in the Mission, Fairfax Scoop, wine tasting in Napa... the list goes on and on.

I love Marin even more as I took a long detour from it. Our three children were born and raised in NYC, and I persuaded the family to move back here just last August. Quite the change, brownstone Brooklyn to nature-filled Marin! We love both but are so happy to have landed here.

I am an architect, an artist, and a stay-at-home Mom. I love yoga, hiking, hanging with the family, reading on the porch, and dinner with friends. My husband Sandy is a professional musician and teacher. We are a relaxed, creative family.

My motto? I guess it would be: 'Don't sweat the small stuff.'

Jenny Israel purchased this house in 2013

Why Jenny Israel chose Kentfield

A huge attraction of this property is Marin County itself, one of the most magical places on earth. Marin is famous worldwide for it's astounding natural beauty and the huge amount of land protected for public enjoyment. There are few places on the planet where you can hike, mountain bike, surf, sail, horseback ride and camp on thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, all within an hour of a major city. The variety of fun to be had in the area is unmatched: all the restaurants, museums and shopping of SF, the stunning beauty and outdoorsy lifestyle of Marin, plus wine country just 40 minutes north.

Kentfield is a charming little town in central Marin, an area with the mildest, sunniest, most lovely year-round weather you can imagine. It has several very good restaurants, a gourmet market, bike paths, a school with a big field to kick a ball around, and loads of small town charm. It's one of a string of such small towns along the Ross Valley, all very special. I grew up the next town over, in Ross, and have always wanted to come back. Can you tell I love this place?

What makes this house unique

I first became intrigued with this property when I heard of it's unique history. It originally served as a retreat for Catholic nuns and laypeople: pews filled the living spaces, and nuns ate at the long dining table. When I visited, I could feel the serenity that permeates every inch of the property.

I fell in love. Such light, open spaces; every window looking out on green; almost total privacy; hummingbirds off the front porch and the garden in bloom; our own redwood grove down the hill. It even came with a cottage for my husband to work out of. Does it get any better than this?

Guestbook comments from the owner

Absolutely great experience dealing with Jennifer during the reservation process who was very accomodating with our special requests, and with Sandy once we arrived on site. Everything was ready to go for us when we arrived and we made full use of the beautiful home and property. I only wish we could have stayed for longer!
Jun 2014
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Kentfield House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 4000 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 12:00 PM
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • Min. age of primary renter: 25
  • Children welcome ...
  • Parties/events not allowed ...
  • Pets not allowed ...
  • Non smoking only ...
  • All eating and drinking at dining tables only please. Guests will be charged for any food or drink spills/ stains in other areas of the house.
  • No loud music or TV after 10 pm. This is a family house and a quiet neighborhood.
  • Be courteous about footstep noise and other overhead noise for the downstairs tenant. Fines will apply.
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace ...
  • Heating
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 12 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • 2 Half Baths
  • Master Bath - toilet , tub , shower , Clawfoot tub, separate toilet room
    Guest Suite Bathroom - toilet , Planning to install a tub/shower soon
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower , En-suite bathroom for bedroom 3
    Bathroom 4 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Clawfoot tub
    Powder Room - toilet
  • Pedestal sinks, clawfoot tubs, vintage details throughout
  • 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Master Suite - 1 king , New Temperpedic mattress, french doors on private deck
    Bedroom 4 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 5 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 3 - 1 twin/ single , En-suite bathroom
    Guest Suite - 1 queen , New latex mattress, air conditioning, TV. No tub/shower
  • All bedrooms have high quality beds, pillows and linens. Very important to us as hosts!
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Television ...
  • Video Games
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
  • autumn foliage
  • bay/sound
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • forests
  • library
  • marina
  • playground
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • waterfalls
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • mountaineering
  • sailing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
Beautiful vintages touches throughout the house.


3.8/5 -
(4 traveler reviews)

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The RetreatSerene historic home on 2 acres in sunny central Marin
average rating of 3.75 based on 6 reviews

Great house, poor maintenance, difficult owner

  • 1 of 5

On the plus side the house is beautifully located and has large and attractive common spaces, especially on the upper level (dining room, living room, cozy breakfast den, deck, sunny porch.) However, the rest of the house, with the exception of the master BR, was not prepared for renters. In one bedroom there is a large hole in the window covered by a piece of cardboard (temperature at night 30), another BR stank of the cat who lives there. Most closets in the bedrooms were locked and others filled with the stuff left by teenager children of the owner. Bedrooms were not cleaned properly, there was a lot of trash under the beds.The carpet in the lower LR was stained with ugly dark spots.The grill on the deck was very dirty. The hot tub did not work, and the owner told us about it two days before our arrival. (She agreed to compensate this and refunded $100.) To our surprise, six days after we left, the owner filed an insurance claim saying that the spots on the carpet downstairs were our fault. So far, she has not returned our safety deposit. In short, I would recommend finding another place in Marin county, there are plenty.

  • Submitted: Jan 13, 2018
  • Stayed: December 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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A special retreat for our family vacation.

  • 5 of 5

The Stetson house was a perfect setting for our Bay-area holiday. We were a family of 6 adults and the house was comfortable, well-appointed and fit our needs well. We loved the quiet setting and the fresh Marin air in the morning on the deck off the kitchen. As returning natives we did not need a lot of help with local recommendations; however, we found Jenny very eager to offer assistance and we appreciated her webpage with places to visit and explore in the area. The location fit well with our interests in exploring Marin, the wine country and San Francisco.

  • Submitted: Aug 24, 2016
  • Stayed: August 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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1 1

This was the perfect home for a large family gathering!

  • 5 of 5

The Stetson house is large, comfortable and well-appointed in all the important ways. The kitchen worked well for us and we are a family that cooks. The bedrooms were all comfortable and the location afforded us ample opportunities for various outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, walking, museum-going and eating. The place was spotless, furnishings were in excellent condition, and everything matched the photos of it online. We were a three-generation group with a wide age-range. It worked very well. Thumbs-up!

  • Submitted: Jan 6, 2016
  • Stayed: December 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Mill Valley

A lovely, relaxing stay. House is beautiful!

  • 4 of 5

Beautiful house and property! We hosted a day-long party with 15 of our friends and it was a perfect setting for that! House is open, spacious, good light and energy. Lots of trees in the back and since the main floor is up a level it feels like you are in a treehouse! Comfortable furniture, beds, accommodating and communicative hosts. Would definitely recommend!

  • Submitted: Jun 29, 2014
  • Stayed: June 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
30 Miles
San Francisco International
Nearest Barpub
0.25 Miles
Ambrosia Pizza, Pasta and Wine
Nearest Ferry
2.3 Miles
Larkspur - SF Ferry
Nearest Motorway
2 Miles
Highway 101
Nearest Restaurant
0.25 Miles
Ambrosia Pizza, Pasta and Wine
Nearest Ski
180 Miles
Bear Valley Ski Resort, Bear Valley
Nearest Beach
13 Miles
Muir Beach
Car: recommended

Property is centrally located in the charming town of Kentfield, in gorgeous Marin County. Convenient to restaurants and shops, 30 min from San Francisco and 40 min from wine country. The house is walking distance from Kentfield town center, with Ambrosia Restaurant, Half-Day Cafe and Woodland Market. We are two minutes from bike paths and a 10 min drive to gorgeous hiking trails.

So much to do here! Check out the restaurants, museums and shopping in SF, only a half-hour drive away. Rent mountain bikes in the next town and explore Marin the high-adreneline way! Take an all day hike on Mount Tamalpias or Point Reyes, through redwood groves and chaparral and huge ocean vistas. See the sea lions, red-tailed hawks, maybe a bobcat if you get lucky! Kayak or stand-up paddleboard on the Bay. Stroll to downtown Kentfield and have one of the best brunches ever at Half-Day Cafe. Take leisurely walk in the lovely hills behind Kentfield. Take a wine-country tour and ship some of your favorites home. Grab dinner and a show at nearby Terrapin Crossroads, and get your Dead on. Or have an elegant dinner at Insalatas, 10 min away. Truly, this property, in this part of Marin County, is just wonderful.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $750
Housekeeping fee $250
Property Damage Protection $79
Tax Rate 10.0%

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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