Neighborhood Building Blocks

How family's tasteful Eichler re-do brings appreciation to Burlingame's Mills Estates
Neighborhood Building Blocks
The Wolf family of Burlingame: one of the featured families in a new CA-Modern profile of the Mills Estates' Eichlers. Pictured: (L-R) Andrew, Emmeline, and Drewry. All photos: David Toerge.
Neighborhood Building Blocks
Neighborhood Building Blocks
Getting their morning start: (L-R) Drewry, Spencer, Andrew, and Emmeline.

The way things were headed, only a mid-century modern miracle would get Andrew and Drewry Wolf the dream Eichler they were looking for.

But within a few short months of making that fateful determination, the Peninsula couple turned things around—and turned their fantasy into reality, thanks to a healthy dose of good fortune and a home-improvement project that transformed everything.

Today, the Wolfs are truly living their dream—and, in fact, their family of five and their new Eichler home have become integral players for 'Hillside Haven,' the profile of Burlingame's Mills Estates, the Wolfs' new neighborhood community, soon to be published in the spring '15 issue of CA-Modern magazine.

The Wolfs' dream began several years ago, when they were living in another type of home, in San Mateo, and fell for Eichlers while touring some in the nearby Highlands and other locations. Then, with growing children, they targeted the excellent Burlingame School District, not knowing whether there were any Eichlers there. Lo and behold, they found a couple of Eichlers for sale on Burlingame's Atwater Drive.

"We were pretty excited," recalls Andrew. "We thought, 'Hey, maybe this will be our chance to get an Eichler.'"

Upon visiting the two renovated homes, however, they were disappointed to find them somewhat short of their own Eichler vision. At that point, they realized that perhaps no one else's take on updating a mid-century modern home would make their dreams come true.

They needed a fixer-upper, they figured. And one that was an Eichler. With an atrium. In Burlingame.

"That could never happen. Wouldn't that be amazing?" Andrew remembers he and Drewry fantasizing back in 2013. Then, while Andrew was on a camping trip with the kids in June, Drewry called with big news: She had found their house—and it was a mess!

Immediately, she contacted a San Francisco architect who had designed a room addition for their San Mateo home.

"She called John Klopf [of Klopf Architecture] and told him, 'We're not going to buy it unless you're available,'" Andrew recalls.

"They said they were looking for a house that was 'Klopfable,'" the architect says with a smile. "They wanted it to be bright and light and open. We said, 'Great!'"