Family Tradition - Page 3

Bigger-than-life figures continue to leave their mark on the Palo Verde Eichlers of Palo Alto
Family Tradition
Neighbors Richard Willits (left) and David Hanzel.

There are many neighborhood parks. It's a short bike ride or stroll to the trails of Baylands Nature Preserve. Grocery stores and cafes aren't far. And the sidewalks serve as parks. "We go for a walk every night. We see a lot of the neighbors," Peter MacDonald says.

Real estate broker Monique Lombardelli, who has sold several homes in the area, says, "The homes have wonderful privacy, and the location is perfect, located centrally to everything."

There may not be an official neighborhood association, but people know people in their immediate vicinities, connect on Nextdoor, and have emergency preparedness and crime prevention efforts.

Some of today's crop of homeowners, and in particularly the ones who watch out for neighbors and see to social happenings, will likely be Palo Verde legends of the future. "Katie [Renati] manages all the block parties," her neighbor Swati Kapoor says of one such future legend. "She knows every single person in the neighborhood. She keeps people together.

Family Tradition
Rosalie Taimuty, 93, has been a resident of Palo Verde for 45 years. An artist, she has veered from the Eichler color scheme with charm, turning her hallway into a multicolored joy by filling it with murals (as above), and painting doors and trim.

This is a neighborhood that has kept much of its looks, although it also contains some of the more ungainly second-story additions anywhere. One is an angled contraption that some call the 'crows nest.' There are only 18 homes with full or partial second stories, and no second stories have been built since the 1980s, neighbors say. Most of the other homes look pretty original and, Willits says, "None have been torn down, none. Which is amazing."

Sudha Nagarajan and her husband, Anan, bought an Eichler with a second-story addition in 1995, in part because of its added space. They raised two children there and love the house and its extensive garden filled with paths, clematis, roses, and more. "There are 270 varieties of flowering plants, so every day of the year I have some flowers," Sudha says. Anan gardens most days.

"We try to eat lunch outside," Sudha says. "It seems like a park." The Nagarajans' second story is an impressive space built for an artist, with open beams. From the home's wraparound balcony Sudha picks blooms, which serve as an offering at their shrine to Ganesh. Most of the tract's homes are four bedrooms and, although the atrium entered the Eichler lexicon in 1957, few are atrium models.

Larry Magid, who brings celebrity to the neighborhood as an internationally known author, broadcaster, and journalist on all things tech for the San Jose Mercury News, CBS Radio, and the BBC, lives in an Eichler with an added second story and upstairs deck.

Family Tradition
Inside Rosalie's art studio.

For years CNN filmed Larry in his home studio for broadcasts, and TV trucks have parked outside. Tech titans like Sergey Brin stop by for interviews.

Some Palo Verde homes remain mostly intact, including Rosalie Taimuty's. Rosalie, an artist, has veered from the Eichler color scheme in one charming way, turning the hallway through her bedroom wing into a kaleidoscopic, multicolored joy by filling it with murals and painting doors and trimming.

"Isn't that fun?" she asks. "And that makes me happy!"

Architecture certainly attracts people to the Palo Verde Eichlers, but the real sell has always been the schools. Sudha and Anan, who have a son and daughter, came in large part because of the schools, as did Larry Magid and his wife, Patti Regehr, and Peter and Heather MacDonald.

  Family Tradition
One of Rosalie's lively painted doors.

And when focusing on what makes Palo Verde great, everyone—members and non-members alike—mentions the Eichler Swim & Tennis Club, which sits adjacent to but just outside the boundaries of the tract.

"It brought a cohesiveness to the community, right?" says Desiree Docktor, who grew up in the neighborhood in the '60s and '70s. "It still had a snack bar, and you could go there all day. It was kids running and going crazy.

"Now it's more adult swim and less kids," she says.