Despite the lack of a named architect, the Stanford Gardens homes are attractive, with splayed plans, their wings opening to a backyard patio through floor-to-ceiling glass held in place with wooden posts.
The homes have jaunty profiles, each with a tall, single slope roof that rises above a lower central section, providing high clerestory windows that bring light into the center of the house. Some of the houses have two sloped roofs over separate wings.
Interiors have tall, open-beamed living rooms and brick fireplaces that poke through the wall to serve as backyard barbecues.
The Friedlys recall how friendly the neighborhood was when they arrived at the end of the 1970s, when another couple came by with a welcome wagon.
“We got together regularly on a one-on-one basis,” Phil recalls of the neighbors. All were educated, “and interesting people,” he says.
Today, Marcia Friedly says, “You hardly know anybody.” Marcia does meet people on her daily bike rides through the neighborhood. “The younger people feel the same way,” she says. “They want to live in a neighborly place.”
A visit to the homes of nearby Oakdell Park, among Eichler’s first architect-designed homes, dispels the notion that in his early years, Eichler was building entirely for entry-level, or near entry-level buyers.
The homes, on Olive Street, Oakdell Street, and Middle and Magnolia courts, were originally 1,300-plus square feet and sold for $25,000 and up in 1952, a relatively high price at the time. Homes were set on half-acre lots.
Flo Barr, who has lived in her long, low-gabled Oakdell Park Eichler for almost 50 years, has seen no need to tear it down, or even change it. A tube skylight in the hallway is one of the few changes.
The original Philippine mahogany gives the interior a rustic look that matches that of the exterior. She especially loves her bedroom that opens to the rear garden. “It’s so sun-filled. It’s so pleasant,” she says.
A few blocks from Oakdell Park, a cluster of three Eichlers—make that two Eichlers and one former one—are hidden away on a flag lot.