Pride Runs Deep - Page 4

‘Eichler Homes of Saratoga’—an enclave where appreciation and respect have never gone away
Pride Runs Deep
Pride Runs Deep
Pride Runs Deep
The home of Lloyd Binen and Joyce Clark-Binen features lovely landscaping (middle), in part due to neighbor Liz Owen, who has helped the Binens with design. Top: Lloyd in a playful moment. Above: Lloyd and Liz Owen meet up for conversation in front of the Binen Eichler, a rare atrium model.

Reason three is an outdoor pool so close to the house you can hop into it virtually from your bed. 'The pool is not big, but it is long, so you can do some meaningful exercise,' Li says.

Reasons four through 43 are the 40 redwood trees that surround the home. They grow a foot a year, says daughter Selena, and today are between 40 and 50 feet tall.

'One hundred years from now they'll be huge,' Li says, and laughs. 'It's not my problem anymore! People say, you have too many redwood trees. But I really enjoy it now.'

Wenchi, a professional dancer and hobbyist painter, fell in love with the home first. 'The smell of the wood,' she recalls. 'The smell, and the environment. The sunlight, the flowing plan. It's so open. To me, it's more than a house. A museum structure.' Like some of their neighbors, Li and Wenchi hang no drapes.

And reason 44? Li laughs, showing off canvasses on the walls. 'The best thing about this house are my wife's paintings.'

One factor that has contributed to the neighborhood's good looks is continuity. There are many longtime owners and a few original owners, as well as at least three owners who grew up here and now own their parents' homes. Binen tells of one neighbor who lived here, moved to San Francisco, then moved back to her original Eichler a few years later.

'It's fun meeting the longtime neighbors and talking about what the place used to be like,' Pak Chau says.

It's also notable that several owners, including buyers in the 1970s and buyers in recent years, moved from Eichler homes elsewhere. Saratoga's attractions include not just the larger homes and larger lots, but superb schools.

'I like the town itself. You know everybody,' Nicole Chang says, adding, '[even though] the downtown is not as good, or as fancy, as downtown Los Gatos.'

Saratoga Village is a charming spot, with the sense of a mountain village, and half a dozen or more tasting rooms, many hawking wine from wineries in the hills.

Pak mentions the farmers market at nearby West Valley College. 'It's where you meet a lot of your neighbors,' he says. Nicole adds, 'We bump into people we know from our kid's school.'

Like many Eichler neighborhoods, this one originally was filled with young families and kids. 'They had a wonderful time,' Liz Owen says of her children. 'It was a real community.'

There are fewer children today, though there has been a recent resurgence, Lloyd Binen points out. 'For a while there were no kids. For trick and treating we would only get five people all night,' he says.

Today, Nicole says, trick or treating has again become a real treat, not just for the kids, but for older residents. 'The majority of residents here are really old. They love to see kids,' she says. 'Ethan got eight pounds of candy.'

Nicole says many children walk to school, and others walk across sometimes busy Cox Avenue to swim or play tennis at the Brookside Club, a membership spot that Eichler bragged about in his promotional material for the neighborhood.