Endangered Species for Sale

Its hilltop setting so scenic, this unusual mid-century home’s future may be at stake
Fridays On the Homefront
Its transitional design successfully bridging modern and ranch house, this well-preserved home, now on the market, on a Los
Gatos bluff may be threatened.
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront

Venture south from San Francisco and San Jose, nexus of the Eichler world, into the wilds of Los Gatos. There on a hill, overlooking the town and the valley below, sits an endangered species of the housing world, a 'residential Dodo bird' with a seven-figure price tag.

Not a quintessential modern residence, not really a ranch house, the home actually is a bit of both—on the market for the first time ever.

It belonged to the scion of a family dynasty in Bay Area business—but it's quite possible you've never heard of them. It boasts spectacular views and intriguing design—but by an architect you may be unfamiliar with. Some homebuyers, we confess, might see this home as merely a 'teardown.'

"It's really a spectacular property. This is one of the greatest houses I've ever seen," says John Faylor, listing agent for the property with the Los Gatos-based Sereno Group. Built in 1963, the house at 15581 Toyon Drive is 6,072 square feet with five bedrooms and 6.5 baths. Faylor says the home's architect, Los Gatos-based Ray Cobb, was "good friends" with its only owners, the Raisch family.

"There's a lot of history with the Raisch family in [this] area," says Faylor, who's built some local repute with his own name, as a former football player for Santa Clara University and the San Francisco 49ers. We met up with the free safety turned realtor/developer recently to check out this rare bird of a house.

The company that became A.J. Raisch Paving Co. was founded in 1849 in San Francisco and later moved to San Jose. Stanford graduate and Navy veteran Albert 'Bo' Raisch took over the company in 1957. He renamed it Raisch Construction Company, and for the next three decades employed hundreds and built much of the infrastructure of the burgeoning Silicon Valley.

Bo and Jean Raisch lived in the Toyon Drive home together for 45 years before Bo died in 2008. Jean passed away last May and was survived by three children, including son Bryan, a construction law attorney whose past service as a football coach at Saratoga and Mountain View high schools mirrored his parents' longtime volunteerism in the valley.