Slipping Away - Page 5

The Eichlers of Atherton and Hillsborough—living dangerously in a peaceful world
Slipping Away
Slipping Away
This beautiful custom Eichler, located on Hillsborough's
Eucalyptus Avenue, recently changed hands—and evaded the wrecking ball.
Slipping Away
Slipping Away
Near Paul Feder's 'historic' Eichler on Atherton's Irving Avenue, construction recently began (above) where an Eichler (top) used
to be.

Eichler had somewhat more success in 1959 and at the start of 1960s, building a half mile north with the 'Eichler Six' on two back-to-back streets, Encina and Placitas. The homes are beautiful, tract-style Eichlers, but on larger lots. The Pinkston home is about 2,000 square feet.

About the neighborhood, which is at the very northern edge of Atherton and adjoins a neighborhood of cottages, some dating to 1907, Debbie Pinkston says, "It's a nice neighborhood. It's not fancy." She distinguishes it from what she calls the "'real' Atherton."

"Those are the $15 million homes."

Eric Lane, whose home among the 'Six' dates from 1959, says that, from the street and backyard, his tall-gabled Eichler "doesn't look like it has a view of anything from outside. But this house has a view of everything," including a forest to the rear. "It's designed to see the world from the inside out, and not the outside in."

In Hillsborough, Eichler never tried anything like a tract. Even so, locals apparently looked askance when he came in with his oddly shaped houses.

Phyllis Graff says, "Hillsborough didn't like the idea of Eichlers being built there. But they couldn't stop us, because we met all their requirements." Hillsborough officials did insist on some construction changes, including the use of sheetrock beneath the mahogany panels.

Undoubtedly the most significant loss of an Eichler in either Atherton or Hillsborough was a remodel—it actually underwent more than one renovation—that made Eichler's own Hillsborough home something unrecognizable. It was the home Eichler moved to in 1972, two years before he died.

The Claude Oakland design included a large, octagonal atrium surrounded by bedrooms, and living, dining, and sitting rooms and a kitchen.

Kinji Imada, who was Oakland's architectural partner, has said the home was the second such design produced in Hillsborough. Joe and his wife, Lillian, moved into the first one, built as a spec house, and liked it so much that when it sold, Joe built another for himself.

Feeling glum right now about the future off the Eichlers in Atherton and Hillsborough? Perhaps their future fate is up to the younger generation. Debbie Pinkston thinks so.

When her husband John, who loves the home, observed that when they sell, "the next buyer is likely to tear it down," their sons protested. "My youngest son said, we can't sell the house. 'I'm going to buy it. I'm going to keep it.'"

Story originally published in 2017


Photography: Sabrina Huang, Andrew Corpus, Dave Weinstein, Suzanne Dunn, Adriene Biondo; and courtesy Monique Lombardelli (Modern Homes Realty)

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