Sweet Sixteen - Page 4

Neighbors build friendships and retain a distinctive rural feeling along Monte Sereno’s tranquil Eichler cul-de-sac
Sweet Sixteen
Sweet Sixteen
Sweet Sixteen
At the home of David Frankel and Karl Brown, who maintain "an appreciation for the [Eichler] architecture and architects," says David, "but trying to preserve that style while still having a 21st century experience."
Sweet Sixteen
Sweet Sixteen
Inside the Eichler of Bryan Mekechuk, who did an amazing two-story rebuild of his home—with its second story underground, and as green as can be.

Cross Los Gatos Creek and the creek trail and you come to the other mid-century modern landmark in the vicinity, the stylish Los Gatos Civic Center from 1966, where one building has become the lively New Museum Los Gatos.

Adults at Via Sereno, many of whom work in the tech industry, also appreciate how easy it is to get to other places, including San Jose International Airport and their workplaces.

Shelley Sullivan, who works for PayPal, gets to her job in about half an hour. Her husband, Patrick, who works for Apple, gets there in 15 minutes. "I can do all back roads," he says. "I don't have to get on the highway." Their commutes back East were much longer.

All the younger people on the street work in tech, folks say. But then, so do all the young people in the area, they add.

Neighbors work for Google and Facebook, among other firms. Tim Begg works for Apple. David Frankel works from home as CEO for a firm that provides audio conferencing services.

Tales of obsessive techies working 24/7 and never turning off their devices are overblown, Tim and Jennifer say, though, Tim adds, "There are times I'm working at home because I have to get something out of my brain, some ideas I need to work out. But it's not draconian."

"In your 20s, you're not raising family, so you work long hours," Tim says. "You have plenty of time. Why not?"

But today, he says, "My manager is happy to say, 'Go home, be with your family.'"

Jennifer says of her husband, "He's at every school conference, every teacher conference, every school event."

And owning an Eichler makes it easy to mix work with play. Patrick Sullivan mentions a party he gave for his colleagues, 100 people or so enjoying a barbecue. "People barely came inside," he says.

Adding to the tract's creative flair is its artistic community. Artists have lived in the tract from the start, say Ned and Marian Gault, who have been here since 1977.

He's a photographer, a frame maker, a glassblower, an Autoharp player who often entertains at Filoli, the famous mansion and garden, and a button accordionist who can be heard in German restaurants. She's a nationally known calligrapher who travels to teach, and a watercolor painter, printmaker, and greeting card maker.

Both are folk dancers, and for 37 years they ran the well-known troupe Ensemble International, performing in Russia, Scandinavia, Israel, and other locales. Both continue to teach dancing.

Together with their neighbor, L.D. Hirschklau, a ceramicist, they put on the annual 'Art on the Court' exhibit and sale. Other artists from the area take part as well, in their homes and outside, at the end of Via Sereno.

"We used to have ten other artists on the street," Marian says. Today there are a handful.

Why the tract is so small has long puzzled residents. Bryan Mekechuk, who lives in the neighborhood with wife Jo-Anne Sinclair, dug through city papers to discover this history, and found out that Eichler originally planned to build another grouping of 17 homes on a neighboring site.