“This immediately caused a ripple reaction,” he says. “ ‘You should be able to do anything you want with your property,’ people argued.”
Phil and his neighbor eventually dropped the effort. “The whole thing was very stressful,” Marcia says.
Today, Eichler fans count it as a victory when, if an Eichler is remodeled or replaced, what arrives in its stead is not a traditional home but something modern.
“At least they’re going along with the aesthetic,” says Cesar Agustin.
Steve and Denise Henry did a better job than most of revamping their Eichler in Stanford Gardens shortly after they bought it a decade ago. “It was pretty rough, pretty original,” Steve says of the home when they moved in.
Working with an architect, they opened up the space, mostly preserving the original footprint and the splayed layout, but adding an immense, garage-like sliding-glass door to the rear yard.
“We wanted to maximize the glass,” Steve says. “We like open, we like natural light, we like clean lines.”
The Agustins are among Menlo Park’s more committed Eichler fans. When they bought their 1970s model, it had been badly remodeled, and was staged by the listing agent to resemble a Nantucket cottage.
“It was the light that sold us,” Hildy Agustin says. “Sunshine.”
“We said someday we’ll fix it up,” Cesar says.
They gradually have, restoring portions, redoing the kitchen, adding a skylight. One recent project involved removing the drywall that had long covered the brick fireplace.
“I had them scrub it brick by brick,” Cesar says. “I wanted the original brick wall back.”
Photos: David Toerge, Stefan Heller
• The Eichlers of Stanford Gardens, from 1950 and 1951, are found on Evergreen, Oakdell, and Lemon streets, east of Stanford Avenue.
• A small court on Stanford Avenue across from Stanford Gardens has three Claude Oakland models from the early 1970s.
• Oakdell Park Eichlers are found a few blocks away, on Olive and Oakdell streets, where the two streets meet, and on adjacent Middle and Magnolia courts.
• Peninsula Way and Berkeley Avenue, in the Menlo Oaks section of town, have eight and two Eichlers, respectively; some are on hidden lots.
• There are other Eichlers, including some stand-alone semi-custom models, at other, scattered sites in the city.