where to look in Saratoga

homecontemporaryThe thirty-five Eichlers of Eichler Homes of Saratoga (a subdivision that also includes a number of non-Eichlers) could easily be candidates for “best Eichler neighborhood”. They have much going for them. This part of Saratoga isn’t the Saratoga of “everyone gets an acre and a mansion”, but it’s a very attractive area that reminds me of the better Los Altos neighborhoods. Eichler Homes is one of Joe’s later developments, dating from 1964 and 1965, which usually means handsome upscale homes—and sure enough, atrium gallery models are common here. These homes are big, too, especially for their time, most offering four bedrooms and about 2000 sq.ft. or more. Lots are big too, generally around 12,000 sq.ft. And the local schools are highly regarded.

So far, so good.

But the level of maintenance in this Eichler development is surprisingly variable, with more unpainted houses and dead lawns (before the drought) than you’d expect for the area and price range. Often this happens in a neighborhood with a location problem, and sure enough, Highway 85 is close enough to be heard in the background. But the pampered homes and manicured yards of the adjoining, non-Eichler, development, much of it even closer to 85 than the Eichlers, suggests that freeway noise isn’t the problem.

What is? I’ve long suspected that some Eichler owners don’t care for the design of their homes, and that this distaste is reflected in a reluctance to maintain them. I further suspect that this is particularly true of upper-middle class neighborhoods such as this one, where the preponderance of unadventurous architecture strongly suggests that contemporary is anathema to 99% of buyers in that price range.

Whatever the reason, this is still a great neighborhood, and one that might be said to have the potential for even greater things. Proximity to 85, 280 and 17 makes it a convenient location for commuters.

Further south, just past 85, at the corner of Quito and Allendale (and including Montpere Way), are the handful of affordable mid-’50s contemporaries of the Peremont Tract. The neighborhood is small, and homes come up infrequently.  They’re similar to those of the Anshen+Allen-designed Gavello Glen and two readers tell me they were constructed shortly after by the same builder.

On Dagmar, just off Saratoga Avenue, are the unassuming contemporaries of Saratoga Gardens.  They started out small in the early 1950s, but many have been expanded and heavily face lifted, since small and unassuming don’t really fit the Saratoga modus operandi these days.  Very close to 85, but one of the most affordable ways to get Saratoga schools (buyer to verify).

That’s it as far as clusters of MCM in Saratoga, but like any other upper-middle class city, it has isolated outposts of contemporary, particularly in the hills above the Village.

The discussion continues at Eichler City on Pinterest, with over a zillion MCM- and Midcentury-related photos and descriptions.  See photos of typical Saratoga Midcentury Modern plus MCM icons around the world as well as lesser-known homes, architects and builders and even a few oddities.  Also check out Eichler City on Facebook

Feel free to contact me at jfyten@cbnorcal.com.

copyright © John Fyten 2004-16

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