5664 greenridge

For a change, here’s an Eichler for sale that’s not in our ‘hood –it’s in Castro Valley’s Greenridge neighborhood, in the East Bay. We do have a personal connection, which I’ll get to later. Before that, let me show you around.

5664-greenridge-front

This 4 bed/2 bath flat-roofed atrium model is one of around 200 Greenridge Eichlers, built from 1960-63. This neighborhood includes designs by the most recognized Eichler architects –Anshen & Allen, Jones & Emmons, and Claude Oakland & Associates.

5664-greenridge-atrium

Greenridge Road is the neighborhood’s central artery, which extends up a steep hill. Homes on the left side, like this one, benefit from ridiculous Bay views, enjoyed by three large spaces, spanning the rear –living room, kitchen/family room, and master bedroom.

5664-greenridge-view

The model is Anshen & Allen’s E-111, though it’s rumored that Claude Oakland actually designed it. Below is an almost identical floorplan, the LA-81 (found here). The original wall between living and dining room was removed in this home.

LA-81-floorplan

This is a change for the better, in my opinion, and really opens up the space. This model has the (gas burning) fireplace on the left side wall, allowing more windows/sliders at the rear –ideal for taking-in sunsets over the Bay. Sigh.

5664-greenridge-living-dining

The home shows really well, and is packed with period-appropriate furniture. I counted at least five George Nelson lamps, along with furniture from all the usual suspects –and why not? It looks SO good in this space.

5664-greenridge-family-room

The kitchen is original, complete with Formica counters, swing-out side table, and all the cabinets. The appliances have been upgraded, but the replacements are fittingly modern, and obviously very functional. We like.

5664-greenridge-kitchen

The bathrooms are original too. Most later Eichlers have this configuration, with a double-vanity guest bath, and a door out to the side yard. This model doesn’t have a dedicated laundry room, but a stackable set fits in here nicely.

5664-greenridge-guest-bath

All the wood paneling and doors are intact or restored. In fact, I didn’t notice any painted paneling. We won’t be replicating this in our own home, though (after seeing this) I am trying to convince Karen that we should restore a couple more walls.

5664-greenridge-master

In addition to having incredible views, and an atrium, this home has something else I wish ours had –these windows. Even though this model was built only five years after ours, they are larger, with cleaner lines, and make the small bedrooms feel bigger.

5664-greenridge-guest

As per most atrium Eichlers, It also has an office/4th bed at the front, with sliders into the atrium. This looks like a nice place to work. Truthfully, our current office is a better fit for the two of us…but we’d cope, I’m sure.

5664-greenridge-office

So, why were we there? Well, the listing agent, Thomas Westfall, is our realtor. He decided one of the bedrooms could use some ‘re-purposing’ and asked for our help. We provided some toddler bedding and decor from our shop.

5664-greenridge-toddler-1

The room is minimal. Partly because that’s our taste, and partly due to a lack of space in our MINI. We took the trip down on short notice, so we had to make do with what would fit. We need a bigger car. Or a trailer. Or maybe just a roof-rack. I digress…

5664-greenridge-toddler-2

We supplied the toddler bedding and bed, and the mobile came courtesy of our Sacramento-based retail partner, Brian Schmitt, of Schmitt Design. We stock this mobile, along with several of Brian’s others.

5664-greenridge-mobile

This home has just been listed for $850K –more pics and info here. Bay prices are crazy right now, and competition is stiff in this neighborhood as it is. But with those views? As they say, better bring your checkbook.

5664-greenridge-back

While there, we took a walk around the neighborhood, to steal landscaping ideas appreciate the homes, while snapping  a few pics –I’ll share some of those with you in a later post. Listing photos courtesy of Thomas Westfall.

Disclaimer: I am a Sacramento Eichler owner, with no realty affiliation. Observations are my own. Prospective buyers should conduct a thorough home inspection, through a licensed professional.

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paint it black

We’re big fans of Rustoleum paint –the finish is great and it’s so darn cheap. So much so, I’m always on the lookout for stuff to spray. At the weekend, I bought a six-pack (not that kind), rounded-up the latest candidates, and got to work.

black-rustoleum

You might recognize these bullet lights –I previously sprayed them gray. As we’re painting the exterior gray, we figured they might be too ‘matchy’. Black should make for a better contrast. This pair will throw some light on our back yard, eventually.

painted-black

In the center, a collar for another wall-mounted globe (like this one) we’re installing by our patio. On the right, two former office bins. These were old and scratched-up (no ‘before’ pic, sorry) so we’ve reinvented them as planters. Now, what else can I spray?

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surf and sand

Time to share the coffee table project I’ve been hinting at. This early sixties Lane surfboard table was embarrassingly cheap, thanks to our wonderful neighbors, Kelly & G –they’d been sitting on it (not literally, thankfully) for a year or so, planning to restore it.

surfboard-before

They knew we ‘needed’ a new coffee table, and that we’d give this one a good home. So we paid ‘mates rates’ (just an English expression?) and set to work. Main issue was the top surface –it’d clearly lived in a coaster-free home.

surfboard-before-close

It also had a bad case of ‘the wobbles’, there were scratches/dinks on the frame, and the lattice shelf looked rough. We detached the top, re-glued all the joints, and fixed the lattice. Then we brushed-on Ready Strip Pro, left it overnight, scraped and hand-sanded.

surfboard-sand

The coffee rings and blemishes were still visible, so I finished with an orbital sander, then thoroughly hand-sanded the frame, and cleaned everything with mineral spirits. Next, I used pre-stain conditioner, followed by ‘special walnut’ stain.

surfboard-tabletop-after

I applied a couple of stain coats, followed by several coats of wipe-on poly, lightly sanding between each coat with 220 grit sandpaper. It came out beautifully. The grain really shines through, and the coffee-cup rings are completely gone.

surfboard-after-overhead

I wasn’t sure about the long strip of lighter wood grain at first, but now I really like it. Down below, we had considered flipping the lattice, as it looked so rough. With a good clean, followed by stain and poly, it looks like new. Almost.

surfboard-lattice-shelf

This coffee table is huge by the way –almost seven feet, end-to-end. To start with, we were concerned it might be too large for our living room, but now we love how it works in the space. And it certainly makes a statement.

surfboard-sofa-view

It’s also a big improvement on the ‘modern’ glass coffee table we’ve had for years. That gets a new spot, out on our patio. Being glass, it makes the perfect weather-proof table. And we can just hose it down to clean it.

glass-outdoor-table

Back in the living room, I can’t stop taking pics of the table. I love how the top appears to float above the legs, and it looks great from so many angles. That said, it’s difficult to do it justice. It looks much better in-person…but you’ll have to take my word for it.

surfboard-after

We finished the table a few weeks back, but have only just started using it –it looked so good, we were afraid to touch. The lattice shelf is incredibly useful, and we even place the occasional coffee mug on top. Coasters are mandatory, naturally.

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kitchen plan

We’ve been working hard in the kitchen. And I don’t mean cooking. We’re giving this space a makeover. This Eichler Homes ad (via Eichlerific) shows how our kitchen used to be. Sixty years on, ours looks remarkably similar. Minus actors. And with some notable differences.

eichler-kitchen-ad

Our version is understandably tired, battered and bruised, with some ugly thrown in. And despite being a small (by most people’s standards) galley-style kitchen, there’s a lot to do. So, I’ll set the scene, then spread the work over a few posts.

kitchen-before-2

Cabinets, doors and drawers are painted brown/cream. Walls are sprayed ubiquitous off-white. Counters and backsplash are tiled cream with brown grouting –nice. There’s a bulbous vent hood, cream faucet and heavily chipped/stained (then painted) sink. But it’s not all bad.

kitchen-before-1

The appliances, though not ideal, are all new. All the cabinets are original, including the ‘flying coffin’, plus the hairpin table beneath it –most neighbors lost these long ago. You can see both in this old pic of another (slightly smaller) variation on our kitchen.

almost-our-original-kitchen

Sadly, our Formica hairpin table has been altered –recovered with new white laminate and curved-off at one end, presumably to prevent regular hip-banging. Drawer fronts have been painted to contrast with, rather than match, the cabinets.

kitchen-before-left

Our plan –remove tile, repaint cabinets, doors, drawers and walls, install laminate counters and backsplash, replace sink and faucet. As usual, we’ll retain anything original and salvageable, while adding a few of our own touches. More soon…

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pre-sale steals

Our neighbors, Kelly & G, kindly gave us a garage sale preview recently, and we picked up some bargains. We love this unusually shaped vase. I’ve used this retro juicer multiple times already. And we Karen had to get these serving trays…though they’ll likely just sit in the cupboard.

tray-vase-juice

We also snagged this minimal gray planter, and promptly filled it with Golden Sword. We love how it looks –shame they didn’t have a matching pair for sale. Obviously an impulse buy, so we’re yet to pick a landing spot. But we will soon.

gray-plant-pot

I’ve saved our best score for last, but I’m only giving you a sneak peek. Clue #1: it looks like a surfboard. Clue #2: it isn’t. Here’s a closeup, and I’m sure you’ll guess what it is. You can also see it needs a little help. And help is what it got.

surfboard-mystery

It was a whole weekend’s work, but the results are worth the effort –I can hardly wait to share. But I will have to wait, as I haven’t written the post yet. I also desperately need to show you what we’ve been doing in the kitchen…

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master recap

As usual, we’ve been doing plenty but failing to share it. I’ll do my best to catch you up here over the coming weeks. In the meantime, see Instagram and Facebook for sneak peeks. Anyhow, I wanted to revisit our master, to share some details we added.

master-bed-after

First, a quick recap of how we got here. We bought insulation for the external walls, only to discover better stuff already inside. Then we painstakingly restored a wall of paneling behind the bed, replaced trim and painted the other walls, ceiling and beams.

paneling-and-ceilings

Next, we took our first shot at laying VCT flooring –this went surprisingly well, and it still looks great. Then we installed a solar shade, which makes a BIG difference, helping it stay relatively cool, despite the western exposure. It also looks pretty slick.

master-solar-shade-down

Then we got creative, making matching wall sconces, to flank the bed. We made another light fixture for the opposite wall, gave our hallway closets a refresh, and restored the original wood doors, to the master suite and shower room.

master-bedroom-sconce

Now for the new stuff. We’ve struggled to find quality modern bedding in the US (without spending $$$) so we designed our own. As a result [cue shameless plug] we’ve started our own company, twig+nest, with an Etsy store and website in development.

master-bedroom-bedding

This is our Nest duvet set, with subtle gray/white crosshatch pattern. We’ll be adding more bedding, pillows, and artwork, while curating/selling lots of other stuff for the home. Well, that’s the plan. It’s a natural complement to our baby bedding business. Plug over.

master-bedroom-bedding-close

Elsewhere in the room, this simple furniture project. This used to be an office desk, but it was severely damaged during our move here. I cut it down, removing the affected section, and attached some legs, to make this TV table. Nothing special, but it works.

tv-table

We also framed this PANTONE artwork. I’d like it on this wall, but Karen would rather it sit on a long, low (as yet, non-existent) bench/credenza. We have a green, orange, gray and brown version of this print too. A couple will likely land in our office, where they should make sense.

master-pantone-poster

A few more things to do. We need to re-upholster Karen’s long-owned brown leather chair (scratched by over-zealous English cats), install a blind for the small window behind it, get the bench/credenza I mentioned, and buy an area rug…which we’re yet to find.

master-chair-window

So we’re not quite done, but the room has come a long way. Here’s an early look-see. Note the off-white spray paint, covering walls, ceiling and beams. And the bleh beige carpet. Every surface has been changed. For the better, we think.

master-bedroom-before

We reorientated the bed too. We figure this must be the intended position, as there are equally spaced power outlets on either side –perfect for the wall sconces. Visually, the wood paneling makes an attractive backdrop too.

master-bedroom-patio

As a bonus, we now get to look back at the house/patio through the sliders. Our model doesn’t have an atrium (like most later Eichlers) but I love how the living space and master wrap around this side patio.

master-patio-view

This orientation also means we get to eye our office (AKA all-purpose room) when we wake up, and contemplate the tough morning commute. It’s a hard life. A busy weekend ahead though. Plenty more updates on the way…

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tool shed

Warning: this post might just be as boring as it sounds. But I had to share our triumph, in transforming our tiniest space –this oversized cupboard, off our courtyard entrance. It houses our water heater, and little else. We wanted to give it more function.

tool-shed-door

Previously, the door lacked a lock, and the hardware was gold. We got a lockable door knob, allowing us to stow outdoor tools and equipment with confidence. It doesn’t match our front door hardware, but it’s in-keeping, we think.

shed-door-handle

Inside, not much to speak of (apart from the water heater) and the walls looked scruffy as hell. For storage, just a high cupboard –we cleared out what little was in here, turning up a few nasties in the process.

bare-tool-shed

I wonder how long this toxic collection has been hiding in there? I’m pretty sure this fly killer is no longer legal, and requires expert disposal (as yet not taken care of). The oil can is cute. That can stay. Not the spoon though.

toxic-shed-contents

We also discovered these instructions for the radiant panel heating, which would have been fed from here. Originally, every Eichler in our neighborhood had Arro underfloor radiant. To my knowledge, all have since failed.

radiant-instructions

Next, we raided our growing garage wood pile for some shelf-worthy planks. We put these up and painted them gray (what else?) with leftover samples. We also painted the walls and door to match. We added some gray hook strips.

organized-tool-shed

And now we have a fully-functional tool shed. This was a while back, and it’s come in very handy since. Not that it looks like we do much yard work –our lawns are shot. I blame the water rationing. That, and our distinct lack of yard smarts.

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bonsai butterfly

Way back, we visited Sacramento’s Shepard Garden and Art Center…and I’ve finally got round to sharing some pics. Technically, we were there for a bonsai exhibition, with our friends Kelly & G. The bonsai was good, but the building was way better.

shephard-front

Originally named City of Sacramento Garden & Arts Center, this A-frame/butterfly roof beauty was designed by Raymond R. Franceschi, and built in 1958 –sounds like I’ve done my research; in reality, I just snapped this pic…

shephard-sign

This post-and-beam building looks great from all angles. The exterior is a mix of funky rock and familiar wood siding. I say familiar as it’s identical to the siding on our house –no real surprise, as the Center was built just a few years later.

shephard-lava-rock

This ‘wideline’ siding is the same type specified for early Eichlers, like ours. Most later models (I’m guessing >1960) had ‘thinline’ siding (here’s a comparison) and a small number had wider plank T1-11 style siding.

shephard-siding

Anyhow, this looks identical to ours. It’s even painted the shade of gray we’d like to achieve (if we can ever resolve our paint-picking woes). And the similarities persist inside. These ceilings look remarkably familiar too, don’t they?

shephard-wall-beams

Much as I tried to focus on the exhibition, distraction was everywhere. From vast walls of wood paneling, to abundant clerestory windows. At the heart of the building, a giant flagstone/terrazzo fireplace –I couldn’t get a pic, as it was covered up, but you can see it here.

shephard-bonsai-view

Some drool-worthy decor too. This clock was high up on the wall –probably best to keep it out of temptation’s way. Anyway, it’d look great in our home, despite the Roman numerals, which just don’t do it for me.

shephard-clock

And there’s plenty to love about these gorgeously retro speakers. You can’t judge the scale from this pic but they were huge. We’d struggle to get them in the MINI. Shame about the office-style vertical blinds, but there you go.

shephard-speaker

Overall, a wonderful mix of materials, textures and angles. And most of the fixtures look to be original. Check out this silver bullet-shaped beauty, suspended from the lattice-work frame overhead. Nice.

shephard-ceiling-light

And how about this intricate up/down wall-mounted light? The pic really doesn’t do it justice –it’s just stunning in-person. This was tucked away in a corner, and there were probably more little gems I missed.

shephard-wall-light

In fact, I didn’t capture nearly as many views as I should have –we must go back, and I’d urge any locals to visit. If you’re craving more, check out the picture gallery, on the Shepard Garden and Arts Center website.

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birthday boy

It was my birthday last Saturday. In celebration, I reset our broken (yet much-loved) flip clock, which can’t advance the date unaided. I might just leave it on June 7th, making every day my birthday. Not that Karen would buy that.

flip-clock-birthday

Amid kind gifts from family and friends (thanks all!) I got some stuff for the house. Some of this will pop-up in future posts, so this is just a quick peek. We’ve had this PANTONE artwork for ages (along with multiple other colors) but we needed a frame. So I got one.

blue-pantone-artwork

Next, this Nelson (repro, we’re not made of money) clock. I spent about twenty minutes, going room to room, before settling on this spot, opposite our front door…the very spot Karen had identified immediately. She’s usually right about these things.

nelson-clock

I also got two matching pillows, in gray textured crosshatch. These will sit on our couch, elevating it from ‘uncomfortable’ to ‘almost comfortable’ status. We really should buy based on comfort, but we’re just not La-Z-Boy people.

crosshatch-pillow

Certainly the least inspiring share, these legs and angled brackets. I got two sets, for a couple of furniture projects I’ve been planning for ages. Trust me, the end result will be more exciting. At least it’d better be.

legs-and-brackets

We bought another few bits and pieces with gift money (what birthday would be complete without a trip to IKEA?) but I don’t have time to share everything…and you may just fall asleep. What I will share is this, which made my day…

martha-and-bert

…a handwritten card from my beautiful 5-year-old niece, Martha. So sweet. It’s co-signed by Bert, my dog-like cat (he even plays ‘fetch’) who’s lived with my sister since we moved from England. More projects and house stuff coming soon…

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6449 s land park dr

Now we’re REALLY getting paranoid –yet more neighbors (and friends) are selling-up and leaving! We’re über sad to see these guys go, but very happy for them, as they begin their next chapter. Anyhow, the house is an absolute peach.

6449-front-right

It’s a 3 bed/2 bath 1510 square-foot Eichler Home, built in 1955, as per most of our neighborhood. When we moved here, this was one of the stand-out homes. Happily, we soon became friends with the owners, so we got the tour.

6449-courtyard-out

The house is private from the street, with a low cinder-block wall, fence, and secondary front door. This conceals an oasis courtyard, leading to the actual front door. Inside, polished concrete floors, a muted color palette, and tasteful updates.

6449-living-room

Above is the main living area. The front door is shown top-left, and you can just see through to the all-purpose room, top-right. The kitchen wall has been partially removed, opening up the space, and revealing views to the outside.

6449-kitchen

Speaking of which, this home boasts spectacular outdoor space. Sliders from the living area, all-purpose room, and master bedroom all lead out to a manicured patio, which enjoys some much-needed shade in summer.

6449-patio

Around the back, the source of our ultimate envy, a gorgeous pool. With its simple lines, it’s way more minimal (and to our liking) than most you see. This is a great spot to sit and admire your lot, while catching plenty of rays.

6449-pool

This area also has an elevated deck, which has (apparently) been used for band performances, and even weddings, in the past. Love those green loungers too –wonder if they come with the house?

6449-deck

Back inside, everything has been tastefully updated/maintained during the owners’ lengthy tenure. The master is the largest of three bedrooms, and gets some shade from the west-facing exposure in hot summer afternoons.

6449-master-bed

Check out the listing for more details and pics. This stunning home is offered for $499K, through Luis Sumpter, of BHG Mason-McDuffie. Open houses planned for 11am-2pm this Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Disclaimer: I am a neighborhood Eichler owner, with no realty affiliation. Observations are my own. Prospective buyers should conduct a thorough home inspection, through a licensed professional.

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