Concept Home high res
The homes at Walden Monterey aim to have zero net impact on the environment.

One of many things the pandemic has taught us is that our immediate surroundings matter. A lot. Lockdown has essentially transformed our homes into our universes, and although this way of living won’t last forever, for many, priorities have shifted for good. A break from normalcy has made things like a simple walk in the woods the highlight of the day. If we can work from anywhere, why not work from a place that feeds the soul?

Concept Home high res
Designed to be sanctuaries, each estate features 20 acres of secluded land.

Walden Monterey, a small, residential planned community located 100 miles from San Francisco with eco-mindedness at its core, supports this societal shift and brings the fantasy of embracing the natural world to life. “The community was inspired by Walden, the novel by Henry David Thoreau, which reflects upon simple living in natural surroundings,” says developer and founder Nick Jekogian. “Thoreau famously said, ‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,’ and Walden Monterey is just that, a contemporary approach to living well in balance.”

Designed to house 22 private estates—each with 20 acres of secluded land filled with 200-year-old oak trees and native shrubs—the lush sanctuary allows residents to build any type of home they’d like, with only two rules: The removal of trees is not allowed and the use of renewable energy is required. “Unlike other planned communities, Walden takes a minimalist approach where less is more and simple is better,” Jekogian explains. “This is a shared community for thought leaders who want to leave a light footprint on the land while disconnecting, reflecting and then reconnecting with one’s self and family.” For inspiration, prospective homeowners can reference an overall design vision and concept homes by a number of prominent architects, including Feldman Architecture, MAD Design and more.

Concept Home high res
Homes are built with a minimalist approach—less is more.

Those seeking connections outside the home will have the opportunity to socialize with other community members on more than 200 acres of open space that will include a communitywide trail system, a Zen meditation garden, a treehouse for kids, a communal garden and vineyard, and more. “We also have a fellowship program that will provide education on sustainability and the ecosystem,” Jekogian explains, “while our Walden Gatherings will give residents and invited guests a platform to focus on making the world better for the next generation.” Properties from $5 million,