Hillside Haven - Page 4

For 100 Eichler owners, the good life is low-key living with big-time views high in the hills of Burlingame's Mills Estates
Burlingame Mills Estates
Grandfather and the little one making the trek up Hunt Drive to the park.
Burlingame Mills Estates
Inside the home of Tracy Park and Byron Lee, a beautifully updated Eichler, Tracy keeps her three sons busy with fun and games.
Burlingame Mills Estates
The Park-Lee Eichler at the street.
Burlingame Mills Estates
Tracy's rhino room—formerly the extra shower.

"We tried to enhance the mid-century modern, 1964 look, but with the benefit of 2014 structure and up to all codes," Andrew says.

"We did paint the ceiling white," he says, saying there was no choice due to "mystery stains" that appeared under prior ownership, when the place served as a halfway house for recovering addicts. "It does brighten up the room," he says of the paint job. "Some traditionalists don't like that look, but we like it."

Like many people in the neighborhood, the Wolfs pepper their interior with vintage classic pieces, Eames chairs, and a Nelson clock.

Their 12-year-old son, Spencer, one of three children, shares their enthusiasm for the architecture, reading up on modernism before they moved in and building a modern structure out of Leggos.

"It's like a house you want to live in," Spencer says. "The kitchen, you walk in, and it's someplace you want to cook in."

He's not the only teen in Mills Estates to love his Eichler. "Out of all the houses we've lived in, this is absolutely the coolest," says 17-year-old Reid Livingston, Flynn's son. "I never thought I'd live in a house like this."

Byron Lee and Tracy Park, who are raising three boys, bought an Eichler that had been remodeled in a way that plays up its modern lines, leaving the bones intact but modifying textures and materials. Woven granite adds textural interest on the façade and fireplace and some interior walls.

Tracy, the design maven of the family, hung works on paper by Albers and Noguchi, found original mid-century furnishings, and hung a stark white bust of a rhinoceros in what used to be an extra shower. The shower walls were sheathed in gray slate.

"It's cute, right?" she says of the rhino. "I love the dark-gray slate, but I thought something white and eye-catching would bring out the darkness of the slate."

"We weren't specially looking for an Eichler," she says. "We were trying to get a modern-looking home."

Nor were Donald and Sora Lei Newman, when they first found the Eichlers on their return from Japan in 1963. Donald, a psychiatrist, was called to town to create a mental health unit for Peninsula Hospital just down the hill.

"We fell in love with Japan, and this place reminds us of it very much. In Japan they'd have gardens inside the houses," Sora Lei says.

"And we liked modern," Donald adds.

The neighborhood, which was forested with exotic species by financier Darius Ogden Mills in the mid-19th century, was virtually treeless when suburbia arrived, Donald says. The initial developer bulldozed all the trees.