Two with a View - Page 4

Often misunderstood, Eichler’s original two-story homes are a rare breed that startle some, but surely please their owners

Rather than opening directly onto backyards and internal atriums, these original two-story Eichlers use a variety of techniques to provide the indoor-outdoor connection that makes the homes special.

The large, open living room of Gail and Ronald Miller draws your eye to the dramatic overhanging balcony above.
The large, open living room of Gail and Ronald Miller draws your eye to the dramatic overhanging balcony above.
Ronald Miller plays piano as wife Gail listens in.

“In San Mateo, for instance, the living spaces were placed upstairs because the shallow building pad precluded an outdoor living area in the rear of usable size,” Imada said. “There, the outdoor living was provided by a large second-floor deck.  Other two-story houses followed the conventional scheme of living downstairs, bedrooms upstairs.”

At the home of Ann Everingham, who’s lived in her Eichler on Terra Linda’s Beechnut court since 1967, the entry is midway down the hill, with garage above and to one side, living areas below and to the other, and bedrooms above living areas. Her 1962 home is one of four similar models sharing space on the slope.

The entry itself, a landing and stairway with glass and gardens on both sides and a planted area within, serves as a multi-level garden room, with its open tread and a stained-glass panel added by the first owner.

Everingham and her daughter Susan are particularly enchanted by the home’s original redwood siding, used both outside and in, along with the standard mahogany paneling. ‘When we sell,” Susan says, “we’ll have a stipulation they cannot paint the house, or the house won’t get sold.”

Still, despite the architects’ concern for privacy, some two-story Eichlers do provide their owners with views into the backyards and living areas of their single-story neighbors.

The Fialers can see into their neighbor’s home from their master bedroom, though they say they don’t look. “That’s our bedroom,” Sue says, “so it’s not like our living room is looking into their house.”

 “The people next door put in a screen of trees,” Phil says. “It’s really very private. You can be outside and not be seen.”

And Ann Everingham has recently gained an unwanted perspective into the home of her downhill neighbor when a newcomer to that house removed a plastic awning that had provided privacy in the past.

Other downhill neighbors use landscaping to achieve the same end.

“We don’t see into anybody’s houses,” Julia Smetana says, and Ted Bloyd adds: “All we see are roofs. We can see when one of our neighbors gets a new roof.” He notes that Terra Linda today has zoning to prevent any new second stories.