Houseful of Eichler History

Exquisite home of late Eichler staffer Matt Kahn hits Stanford market—for faculty only
Fridays On the Homefront
For more than five decades, Eichler Homes interior design consultant Matt Kahn lived in an Eichler on Stanford campus.
That home (pictured here behind Matt in 1996) is now for sale. Photo: Barbara Arbunich
Fridays On the Homefront
The Kahn Eichler's living room today. House photos: courtesy Matt Kahn Historic Trust
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront
Front exterior (top) and master bedroom (above), where art abounds.

One of the most remarkable and beautiful Eichler homes hit the market recently, replete with its varied, sometimes ethnographic art and contrasting motifs. This we had to see for ourselves.

With open house invitation in hand, this writer, a dedicated Cal Bear, made the trek for the first time in decades from our home in the North Bay down to the 'other side'—to the Stanford University campus, location of the Eichler home of Matt and Lyda Kahn.

Matt Kahn was one of the true masterminds of Eichler Homes back in the 1950s and '60s, design consultant and interior designer for its model homes, and—even without a college degree—the longest tenured professor in Stanford history. He was also an accomplished artist, with a passion for painting.

"We're not really staging it. It is the way he left it," said Ira Kahn, a San Francisco photographer and the Kahns' son, who with his sister Claire inherited the house when father Matt passed in June 2013. Their mother Lyda, who died in 1990, was a textile artist who met Matt when both were students at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in the 1940s.

"There isn't a room in the house that isn't gorgeous," Ira Kahn said frankly recently, speaking from the house at 834 Santa Fe Avenue where he and Claire grew up. It was a few days before the mid-May open house they hosted with listing agent Penelope Huang, of the Menlo Park RE/Max office.

"That will be the first time anybody gets to see it," said Huang of the Kahns' 1959 home, one of the 100 or so Eichlers on Stanford campus, which sits on university-owned land and can only be purchased by qualified faculty and staff.

The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home is 2,695 square feet, designed by A. Quincy Jones, one of the three Eichler architects. Ira Kahn praised Jones as, in his personal opinion, the best of the Eichler architects and recalled how proud Matt was to be part of the Eichler team.