A-Frame Evokes New Frontier

Unusual modern design and great location among Woodside listing’s myriad assets
Fridays on the Homefront
It's an A-frame with a bomb shelter underneath—straight out of the mid-century! While most A-frames from that era were built with structural beams, this one above constructed of solid cedar and redwood, was not. It is now for sale in Woodside.
Photos: Klaudia McBride
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Living room.
Fridays on the Homefront
Bedroom.

Certain things can earmark a house as being of mid-century construction—and a striking home now for sale in Woodside has two of the most unusual.

No, it's not a two-story Eichler, or an Eichler of any kind. No, it's not festooned with poetry and peace signs. And it's not designed by a modernist master either—as far as we know.

One of the classically mid-century characteristics is obvious upon visiting the three-bed, two-bath at 87 Upenuf Road, because the 1962 structure is an A-frame. The other is less apparent.

Its distinctive style of construction is probably centuries old, albeit formerly known as a roof hut, with various factors contributing to its coming of age from the mid-'50s to the 1970s.

"The construction on the property is really interesting," said Loren Dakin, who listed the home in for $3.45 million and is hosting an open house there from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, August 4.

"It is stacked on both sides," he marveled. "You couldn't afford to build it today…The construction today as it is would be wildly expensive."

What surprises Dakin about the home is how it differs from most mid-century modern A-frames built by architects like Rudolph Schindler, John Carden Campbell, George Rockrise, and Andrew Geller, the latter whose 1955 design of a beach house on Long Island helped popularize the style when featured in the New York Times. Whereas those homes were generally built with structural beams, this house of solid cedar and redwood was not.

And the other telltale mid-century feature of this mid-seven figure offering, architect unknown? It should appeal to our survivalist readers, at very least.

"Under the A-frame is a bomb shelter," the realtor offers offhandedly of a hidden trap door and staircase leading to a series of three rooms with 18-inch thick concrete walls and ceilings.