The Re-uppers - Page 3

For many raised 'modern' as children, no other house feels like home today
  The Re-uppers
Kerry Little, pictured here with husband Ashith Bolar, returned to Eichlers as a grownup. Both her childhood and adult Eichlers are in Concord.

"You look at those old ranch houses," Bob says, "they don't do anything for me. But Strengs are so cool, with the light coming through the upper windows, and the beams."

Kerry Little too didn't fully understand the value of an Eichler until she was out and away. Living in an apartment, Kerry came to see that Eichlers had qualities that went beyond cool.

"I love the natural light, things you don't notice until you move out to an apartment," she says. "Everything [in the apartment] was so dark and blah. I didn't think growing up in the Eichler affected me much. But then I moved out and realized how valuable the natural light was, the indoor-outdoor space."

Others too cited living in modern homes as a life-changing event—or at least as an aesthetic influence.

  The Re-uppers
Kerry (right) and sister Amanda in front of the original Little family home in Concord’s Rancho del Diablo circa 1980s.

Steve Thatcher said the experience spurred both his creativity—he's a cabinetmaker and former rock drummer—and attitude towards society.

"It's a more open-minded, artistic environment," he says of living in an Eichler tract like Fairglen, "because your neighbors are more open-minded and artistic."

"It was more integrated than any other place in [the umbrella neighborhood of] Willow Glen," Steve says. "I'm not saying it wasn't mostly white, but there were more minorities than any place else in the area."

Sherry Hodson says that both her dad, an accountant who commuted to San Francisco, and her mom, a school psychologist, "appreciated the social justice aspect of Eichler."

The Re-uppers
Bob Scari and his mom, JoAnn, at Bob’s current Streng home in Davis.

"Palo Alto probably had three black families then," she says. While she doesn't remember any black people living in Fairmeadow, some did live in another Eichler tract nearby.

Sherry found the houses themselves to be mentally liberating, along with how residents furnished and lived in them.

"In Eichlers, they're open," she says. "Your mind opens up. At an intellectual level, you feel more open, you feel more creative." About growing up in an Eichler, she says, "It's kind of like sending your child to a progressive school. It's like a mind-expanding experience."

The Re-uppers
Back in 1975, while Bob was in high school, his mom bought a Streng on Davis’ Hermosa Place. Here’s Bob eight years later visiting mom at that Streng, beaming over his new acquisition, a BMW 320i.

Karen Johnson-Carroll, who has taught interior design at San Francisco State for 32 years, says growing up in an Eichler affected her design sensibility. "I don't have a traditional concept. I like to call it a California viewpoint," she says.

She prefers warm, wooden furniture, and she likes to plan interiors that are open to the out of doors. "You try to make the outside next to your house look peaceful," she says.

Nancy Philleo says being a child in a modern house "influenced things I buy, like dishes, the silverware after we got married," she says. "Dansk. I like things that are more streamlined and simple."

She also learned one thing from living in a home without a dining room. She wanted one. "When we did our remodel," she says, "we made sure we had a dining table."


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