Meet the Mackays - Page 5

With houses designed by Anshen and Allen, Eichler rival Mackay Homes and its MCM neighborhoods are winning new fans today
Meet the Mackays
Home on Whitney Drive in Mountain View.
Meet the Mackays
Home on Colonial Lane in Palo Alto.
Meet the Mackays
Outside Gary Ward's home.
Meet the Mackays
13-year Maywood Mackay owner Gary Ward.

Over the years there have been several attempts to rescue the Mackay homes in Maywood from teardowns, inappropriate remodels, and two-story additions. Walz joined one effort shortly after he moved in two decades ago. He says they tried to restrict second-story additions, but failed.

Ward was part of a recent group, along with Stephen Estes, that tried to create historic designation for modern Mackay homes in Santa Clara. This was inspired in part by recent threats to some original homes, including a home in Maywood whose owners won permission to rebuild as a larger two-story home.

But some neighbors supported the homeowners' plan.

Nick Ochoa, noting that the modern Mackay homes in the neighborhood are surrounded by homes also built by Mackay in traditional styles, says, "John Mackay's intention for designing this neighborhood was not homogeneity. He wanted a heterogeneous neighborhood that allowed people to have different homes in the same tract. And people have done a good job. We have an eclectic mix."

The city is currently developing a historic preservation ordinance that Estes, a member of Santa Clara's Historical and Landmarks Commission, hopes would allow for Maywood and perhaps other modern tracts to qualify as historic.

While the Maywood neighborhood may not be united on the issue of preserving the Mackay look, it does seem united on another preservation matter.

Handmade signs—one reads 'Save School Site for Kids Not Real Estate Developers'—decorate many lawns, as neighbors fight plans to build large apartments on a nearby school site and its extensive grounds, which are currently used as park by neighbors.

Among the concerns—apartment dwellers would look down into glass-walled living areas of Mackay homes.

Whether or not Santa Clara ever recognizes its modern Mackay homes as historic and worthy of preservation, more modest moves are afoot to preserve these homes—by people who love them.

Many Mackay homes in the various neighborhoods appear, from the outside, relatively intact. This offers opportunity for people who love mid-century modern homes to adopt them to maintain or restore.

Cassandra and Lorenzo Barbone are among several relative newcomers to Maywood who are doing what they can to preserve the architectural heritage.

Both are collectors of vintage furnishings. "It's the style we like," Cassandra says of the house, adding: "I was looking for a sense of community and good schools."

She says they found it all in Maywood, where every morning groups of kids get together to walk to nearby, excellent schools.

"The house is pretty original," Cassandra says. "We changed all the light fixtures to make them more period in look. We also painted the walls. They were avocado green."

 

Photography: James Fanucchi, Mason Weymouth (courtesy UC Berkeley Bancroft Library); and courtesy Stephen Estes, Bill Shurtleff