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Along Mountain View’s streets of Monta Loma—where Eichlers spark a kinship with Likelers
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At the Emmons Drive Eichler of Tricia and Michael DelGaudio, who are seen here at play with sons Bryce and Ashton (top); and in their kitchen preparing a meal (above).
 

"That neighborhood was kind of blue collar when I was a kid," recalls Eric Boyenga, who sells homes in the neighborhood with the Boyenga Team. He adds, "Over the years it's become kind of a gem."

Joan MacDonald, a teacher who raised two kids in a Monta Loma Eichler starting in 1960, remembers the neighborhood then as more of a mix.

"We were not totally blue collar when we moved in. But we didn't have as much income as people on the other side of El Camino Real." Neighbors, she says, included "dentists, doctors, teachers, a couple of professors at Stanford, some lawyers, a couple of architects."

The Eichlers are small, 1,100 square feet, with three bedrooms and two baths. The Mackays and Mardells are comparable in size.

Many homes have been expanded by 300 or 400 feet. Some Eichlers have been pushed out in the rear, so the chimney that once adorned the rear wall of glass is now in the middle of the house.

Still, most homes present to the street the look of true Eichlers. "That really says a lot about the neighborhood. People have a pride of ownership there," Boyenga says. "Even people who buy there not knowing the architecture come to appreciate it."

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Inside Eichler owner Pat Moran's living room.

"By the time the sign went up [announcing the remodel], it was in the bag basically," he says. "But they're fine people, they're great in the neighborhood."

Purcell believes the small size of Monta Loma lots has helped preserve the homes from teardowns. "There is limited room for expansion," he says.

Gloria Jackson, a teacher who has lived here with her husband since 1988, appreciates the original look of the tract. "I like keeping things as they are. People who are buying in [to the tract] like that mid-century look. It's an attractive look to them," she says.

Tricia DelGaudio, whose own Eichler lost a wall of glass to a past owner's remodel, says that in recent years many Monta Loma homes have undergone changes to the original architecture—but mostly the Mardells and Mackays.

"I haven't seen people renovate the Eichlers to lose their integrity," she says. "They've done things like take them down to the bones and reconfigure the inside, but when you drive past them [today] they still have the Eichler quintessential look."

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"People [here] really take the extra step to make people feel welcome," says Pat Moran, seen here pointing out a piece from his framed art collection.
 

Tricia and her husband have already gotten architectural plans to bring back some of their home's original features—including that lost wall of glass.

Sonya Rikhtverchik, who's raising a daughter, says architecture was not on her mind when she bought her Mardell in 2004. And she suggests why Mardell owners don't fixate on their homes' architecture.

"It's not weird enough, right?" she says of the Mardell look. "I think Eichlers were weird enough that you kind of had to bond with them. Whereas Mardells, I don't think they are that special, necessarily."

Although people love their Eichlers, there are no regulations in place to prevent teardowns, second-story additions, or changes to character. Mountain View has granted protection against two-story homes to the other Eichler tract in town.

"People have floated the idea," Pat Moran says of a zoning change. "It's not universally supported. I would support it. There are always a few who will chime in, 'oh, its my property I should be able to do what I want.'"