The tidy, conventionally upscale streets of Los Altos may seem an odd place to find Eichlers—and they are—but Eichlers do exist here, and they account for some of the most attractive, and most expensive, of Eichler neighborhoods.
The largest grouping is the 28 or so homes of Fallen Leaf Park, on Clay and Alexander in south Los Altos. Along with Burlingame’s Mills Estate, this may be the best maintained and most prepossessing of all sizeable Peninsula Eichler neighborhoods. Built in 1968, these home are typical late-period move-up Eichlers, in a bewildering array of elevations and floor plans, with plenty of spacious gallery atrium models. Most have four or even five bedrooms, almost all are at least 2000 sq.ft. and often more, and they’re usually on Los Altos-style quarter-acre lots. A great neighborhood, in one of the nicest tract-style areas on the Peninsula, and with highly-regarded schools as well.
The other Los Altos Eichler tract, San Antonio Court in prestigious north Los Altos, is even nicer but that praise has to come with an asterisk: it’s easier to maintain a consistently excellent neighborhood with only nine houses (eight of them Eichlers). Off San Antonio on Parsons Way, a short street of manicured homes, this what every Eichler neighborhood should look like. Built in 1974, these are four- or five-bedroom galleries of over 2000 sq.ft.
Nearby on Almond is a custom Eichler of over 3000 sq.ft. dating from 1969, and there may be other customs as well. But contemporaries of any provenance, size or age are hard to find in Los Altos. The “small and cheap” flattop, built for mass consumption and found in many nearby cities, is non-existent. The larger upper-middle class 1950-vintage contemporary, found in limited quantities in similar areas such as Central Menlo Park and Atherton’s Lindenwood, is extremely rare here and, when found, is likely to be valued just for the quarter-acre it sits on. It’s almost as if every neighborhood’s CC&Rs prohibited the construction of contemporaries (I’ve seen that provision, although not in Los Altos). But it’s more likely that the typical Los Altos homebuyer through the years hasn’t been interested in midcentury modern.
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copyright © John Fyten 2004-16