Carol Glen with her book 'California House, Restoring Life to an Old Nelson Villa'.

Book uncovers history of local house


In 1981 American traveller, Carol Glen, purchased a dilapidated boarding house at 29 Collingwood Street to renovate and use as a Bed & Breakfast for overseas tourists.  She called it “California House” in memory of her former home.

Now Carol has published a book documenting her time at the house and the challenges she faced in establishing her successful business.

Twice rejected for permanent residency, she spent the first five years commuting between Nelson and California, permitted to stay in NZ only six months at a time. Nevertheless, California House achieved international acclaim as one of NZ’s most popular B&B’s, and Carol was granted residency in 1986.

The book, California House, Restoring Life to an Old Nelson Villa, combines the personal and professional aspects of her undertaking.  Carol presents a moving account of love and loss, and the search for ‘home’ in an adopted country.

Carol has researched the history of the house, a single story Edwardian villa built in 1893 for the family of Nelson draper, Albert Everett.

The house is classified by the Historic Places Trust (Heritage NZ) for its historic and architectural significance, most notably the 24 unusual stained glass windows.  In 1920 the house was purchased by another prominent Nelsonian, Frank Greenslade, who owned a tannery on nearby Halifax Street.

“I was fortunate,” Carol says, “to meet members of both the Everett and the Greenslade families, who occupied the house for its first 54 years.  I wanted to record this piece of Nelson history now, before it is lost.”


The book is available for $35 from Copy Press, 141 Pascoe St, or from Carol Glen.

Contact the author at [email protected]