Escape from the Bay - Page 2

From Boise to Sacramento to Portland—flight paths that lead to modern living without sky-high prices
Escape from the Bay
The Templemans' former home, a Concord Eichler.
Escape from the Bay
MCM fans from California are eyeing the lower prices of the Pacific Northwest, including the city of Portland (pictured here).
Escape from the Bay
Escape from the Bay
Top: Portland Rummer home, one of the Eichler-like jewels of the Portland area. Above: It's booty time at the Portland Modern Home Tour.

In Sacramento, Ted DeFazio has never seen an Eichler owner in the Bay Area trade down, as it were, for a modern home in the Central Valley. But, he says, "More people are seeing the home appreciation in the Bay Area and thinking, 'Wow, I can cash out of this and go live a easier life in Sacramento.'"

Retirees are among this number, he says. "One teacher said, I can retire off the proceeds of my house and live in Sacramento."

Dane Kealoha, a modern real estate broker in Portland and Palm Springs, says that people who have job flexibility, who can work from home part-time, or telecommute full-time make up a good part of the influx.

"It's great being able to go to a market where you can get the style of home you want—specifically, mid-century modern—in a more affordable market than where your job is located," he says.

In Andrew Templeman's case, the decision to replace his Eichler in Concord with a not-quite-so-modern mid-century home in Boise, was difficult—though it brought with it opportunities.

The broker who handled Andrew's Boise transaction, TJ Pierce, often tells would-be buyers about one major advantage of quitting a high-price market like the Bay Area for a cheaper one like Boise: "You can get ahead financially," he says. Pierce runs Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate in Boise.

"We didn't want to leave the Bay Area. I especially didn't want to leave," Andrew says. But the Del Monte Research Center, where he designed mostly pet food packaging and pet food (like Milk-Bone Good Morning treats), had been bought out, and was shifting operations to Ohio, "absolutely in the middle of nowhere, Amish Country. I wasn't going to go there."

Andrew sought design jobs in San Francisco, found the competition tough, and started freelancing.

"I desperately tried to cling to our Eichler, but eventually we ran out of money. My wife was working as a hairstylist, and we couldn't make enough with me just doing random jobs."

They considered buying an Eichler home in Sacramento, but those hit the market rarely and were selling for $500,000 plus. They considered buying a mid-century Streng home in Sacramento. But another consideration came into play.

"With a young son, we had no family in California," Andrew says. Back in Boise, they had family who could help with childcare and the like.

They quit Concord in 2017. "It was a tough decision, but in the end we came here," Andrew says, from his 'modest modern' ranch home in Boise.

"It's not ultramodern, but it's got some large windows and some of those other elements you would look for in a mid-century modern house," he says.

The home also has a view, sitting on the rim of the Bench, a ridge above downtown Boise where homes were built throughout the 1950s and '60s.

It's also got what he and Randee have done with it, playing up its modern lines, painting the front door an eye-popping teal, adding hourglass exterior lights and floor tiles that suggest Eichler-style cork, and removing an added sunroom to create a covered patio with a shoji-like screen and flagstone paving.

They have filled the home with original furnishings by Eames, George Nelson, and of course Eero Saarinen. And much of what you'll see in the Templeman-Cole home are abstract artworks, wall décor, and mid-century-styled clocks designed and built by Andrew, with Randee doing the make-or-break social media outreach for their company, Autronic Decor.