No Place Like Home - Page 5

In a SoCal canyon edged with rolling hills, the laid-back Eichler neighborhood of Thousand Oaks echoes the best of mid-century living
No Place Like Home
The Moshiers—Joe, Robyn, and daughter Emi—gather while Emi shares one of her latest artistic creations.

There's truth to Merle's point, affirms Marcia Sheffield. While two original owners still remain in the tract today, "my understanding is that there was a pretty large turnover in the first few years," she says. "With no trees providing shade, and no air conditioning, the homes must have been hot in the summer.

"Also, the builder didn't put in hardscape"—perhaps fallout from the looming Eichler Homes bankruptcy. "When we bought our house, the sides had no walkways from the driveway into the back."

Actually, more Eichlers owners were expected to join the original party of 100. "At one point, there was going to be more homes built," Marcia explains, "but in 1966, when Eichler Homes went bankrupt, they sold the rest of the land to other developers to finish. This was on Campbell, north of Fordham."

Even without historic designation or design guidelines in place, the Thousand Oaks Eichlers have seen fewer out-of-character exterior remodels over the years than most other Eichler developments.

No Place Like Home
The modern aesthetic is on view throughout the Mosher home, including here in their kitchen/dinette area.

One significant neighborhood change was a sizable second-story office addition on Fordham Avenue.

Recently the neighborhood was abuzz about another Eichler, also on Fordham, that had been a rental for decades before falling into disrepair. "A contractor took it down to the studs," says Marcia Sheffield. "He made it a very modern house, and kept the atrium, and it's now being marketed as a bed and breakfast."

According to Marcia, the Eichler tract's neighborhood watch and homeowners' association were disbanded after many years, following unfortunate conflicts with local authorities.

Today, one organization that works to preserve the quality of life and natural beauty "that makes living in the Thousand Oaks community so special is SOAR," says Suzanne Duckett. "Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources is trying to guard against overdevelopment, and save the farmlands in our area."

No Place Like Home
Visual artist and lead character designer Joe Moshier at work in his home office.

There's no question that where you find Eichlers, you're bound to find a good measure of understanding, and like-mindedness. For the folks living in Thousand Oaks, there's a pleasant quality that makes everything just 'click.'

Acceptance of life's diversities has also found its way into this neighborly tract, in the spirit of Joe Eichler—with Whites, Blacks, Asians, and gay couples sharing in a common community.

"I wouldn't trade living here for anything in the world," says Phyllis Rautenberg, echoing the sentiment felt by so many of her Thousand Oaks neighbors: there's no place like home.

No Place Like Home
The Moshier family stroll the neighborhood with their pets, Bizzy Boo and Nori.


• The approximately 100 Eichlers of Thousand Oaks are located on Campbell, Fordham, and Stoddard Avenues; Camino Manzanas; and Ellsworth Court. The tract is located only 32 miles southwest of the Eichlers of Granada Hills.

Photography: John Eng; Brad Tucker; and courtesy Steve Eden and Jon Tanaka, Janice Kish Kenton

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