12042016Sun
Last updateWed, 30 Nov 2016 4pm

News

Reaching readers: Library makes strides to attract new cardholders

Reaching readers: Library makes strides to attract new cardholders


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Patrons of the Los Altos main library may soon benefit from expanded hours. Santa Clara County Library District and North County Library Authority representatives were expected to mull additional evening and weekend hour...

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Schools

MVLA board honors longtime trustee

MVLA board honors longtime trustee


Courtesy of MVLA
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian honors outgoing Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Trustee Susan Sweeley at the Nov. 21 MVLA board meeting.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of ...

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Community

Los Altos resident's passion for Girl Scouts results in 2016 exemplary leadership award

Los Altos resident's passion for Girl Scouts results in 2016 exemplary leadership award


Courtesy of the Miner family
Petere Miner’s Girl Scouts award recognizes volunteers who serve as “exceptional models for girls and adults and have had an extraordinarily profound impact on girls’ lives through their empowerment of those girls.”
&n...

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Sports

St. Francis swept out of playoffs

St. Francis swept out of playoffs


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Brigitte Canty leaps to make a kill in Saturday’s playoff match against Valley Christian. She led the Lancers with 12 kills.

After the Lancers let leads slip away in the first two sets, ther...

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Comment

In search of trees: Other Voices

There weren’t any trees. That’s how it looked to me when I arrived at Stanford University. I had come with a fellowship for a doctorate in modern British history. Home was in Missouri, college in New York, both were in river valleys. I was used to an...

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Special Sections

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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Business

Recent renovation keeps  Spangler business at home

Recent renovation keeps Spangler business at home


megan v. winslow/Town Crier
The Spangler Mortuary in Los Altos, built in the 1950s, has been in the Spangler family for three generations.

Spangler Mortuary recently underwent a full renovation at its Los Altos location on San Antonio Road. A ribbon...

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People

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

Attellia Ann Berg age 94, a resident of Los Altos and Mt. View, CA from 1965 – 2016 and most recently of Santa Fe, New Mexico passed away early Tuesday morning, November 15, 2016. After struggling valiantly in recent years with the crippling effect...

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News

Reaching readers: Library makes strides to attract new cardholders

Reaching readers: Library makes strides to attract new cardholders

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Patrons of the Los Altos main library may soon benefit from expanded hours. Santa Clara County Library District and North County Library Authority representatives were expected to mull additional evening and weekend hours this month.

It’s a lofty goal – obtain the h...

Readmore

Business

Recent renovation keeps Spangler business at home

Recent renovation keeps  Spangler business at home

megan v. winslow/Town Crier
The Spangler Mortuary in Los Altos, built in the 1950s, has been in the Spangler family for three generations.

Spangler Mortuary recently underwent a full renovation at its Los Altos location on San Antonio Road. A ribbon-cutting ceremony held early this month underscore...

Readmore

Sports

St. Francis swept out of playoffs

St. Francis swept out of playoffs

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Brigitte Canty leaps to make a kill in Saturday’s playoff match against Valley Christian. She led the Lancers with 12 kills.

After the Lancers let leads slip away in the first two sets, there was no turning back. The momentum belonged to vi...

Readmore

Community

Los Altos resident's passion for Girl Scouts results in 2016 exemplary leadership award

Los Altos resident's passion for Girl Scouts results in 2016 exemplary leadership award

Courtesy of the Miner family
Petere Miner’s Girl Scouts award recognizes volunteers who serve as “exceptional models for girls and adults and have had an extraordinarily profound impact on girls’ lives through their empowerment of those girls.”
 

You could say Petere Miner is a Girl Scout...

Readmore

Comment

In search of trees: Other Voices

There weren’t any trees. That’s how it looked to me when I arrived at Stanford University. I had come with a fellowship for a doctorate in modern British history. Home was in Missouri, college in New York, both were in river valleys. I was used to an environment of deciduous trees: maples, elms, oak...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

'Junkyard Wisdom': Businessman shares story of wealth, generosity

What can you learn working in a junkyard? According to Roy Goble, quite a lot.

He learned hard work. He learned about business. And he came across a diverse group of people. His junkyard experience also launched him into a career that led to a great deal of wealth.

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People

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

Attellia Ann Berg age 94, a resident of Los Altos and Mt. View, CA from 1965 – 2016 and most recently of Santa Fe, New Mexico passed away early Tuesday morning, November 15, 2016. After struggling valiantly in recent years with the crippling effects of osteoarthritis, she is free from the challeng...

Readmore

Schools

MVLA board honors longtime trustee

MVLA board honors longtime trustee

Courtesy of MVLA
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian honors outgoing Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Trustee Susan Sweeley at the Nov. 21 MVLA board meeting.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees honored one of its own last week.

Susan ...

Readmore

Special Sections

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christmas trees, make garlands and untangle and hang the o...

Readmore

Stepping Out

A 'Geek' tragedy

A 'Geek' tragedy

Courtesy of Pear Theatre
Pear Theatre’s “Geeks vs. Zombies” runs through Dec. 18.

In a departure from standard Christmas fare, the Pear Theatre presents “Geeks vs. Zombies,” a gory funfest by the creator of “Super Villain!,” a hit at the Pear two holiday seasons ago.

“Geeks” is slated to previ...

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Obituaries

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

ATTELLIA ANN BERG

Attellia Ann Berg age 94, a resident of Los Altos and Mt. View, CA from 1965 – 2016 and most recently of Santa Fe, New Mexico passed away early Tuesday morning, November 15, 2016. After struggling valiantly in recent years with the crippling effects of osteoarthritis, she is free from the challeng...

Readmore

Magazine

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Courtesy of Camping
Patrons of Camping, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, enjoy the warm weather during last year’s holiday season.

When I relocated from Mountain View to Buenos Aires in July, I knew I’d be stepping into winter. I packed my rain boots and heavy coat, and I set aside my longing for a p...

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Los Altos builder crafts signature homes


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bob Owen of Owen Signature Homes has built hundreds of local homes, including the Los Altos Hills residence above. Bob and his son Shawn are currently constructing a steel home in Los Altos, below.

Bob Owen loves to build houses. In fact, he’s built so many that he’s lost count.


“It’s in the hundreds,” said Owen, a product of Los Altos whose firm, Owen Signature Homes, is marking its 43rd year.


Construction runs in his blood. His father, who died at 42, founded G.H. Owen Construction in Los Altos.


“I was just a kid then,” said Owen, who raised his then 9-year-old brother.


Although Owen liked helping out in the family business as a youth, he wondered why anyone would want to be a building contractor given the ups and downs of the economy. With his parents’ hard times in mind, he changed course, graduating with a degree in finance and business from Brigham Young University.


He worked in the finance departments at Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Varian Associates Inc. before becoming disenchanted with the corporate world.


“Business is all politics, and I wanted to do something on my own,” Owen said. “I loved construction as a kid. It was so gratifying at the end of the day to stand back and look at something I had done.”


With that in mind and lessons learned from his father, he purchased a lot in Los Altos on a handshake – “I had no money” – and built his first spec house. He drew the plans, poured the foundation and did the framing and just about everything himself.


His “signature” home led to contracts for 10 more. Intel Corp.’s Andy Grove was among the first potential buyers to tour the house.


Since then, Owen’s business has grown – along with his reputation.


“He’s intensely professional,” said Peter Detkin of Los Altos Hills. “He and his team were good about communicating with us every step of the way.”


Detkin and his wife, Michelle, are “thrilled” with their custom home.


“We moved in a few weeks ago and continue to get very good service,” he said.


The couple’s spacious home with its media and exercise rooms is worlds away from the ranch homes popular when Owen started out.


Changing with the times


“In the ’70s, living spaces were defined. Every house had a living room, dining room, kitchen and family room,” Owen said. “Now there are open floor plans and great rooms.”


More people today eschew living rooms, but Owen believes a house should at least have a parlorlike area away from the action for sitting and relaxing.


“Homes in the ’70s and ’80s were pretty dark inside – now it’s just the opposite,” he said, citing the desire for volume, high ceilings, skylights, more glass and natural light.


“Houses were more budget-driven when I started out,” Owen added. “Now people have more money to venture out. And, the clientele is getting younger.”


Among the other trends Owen has noted as his construction career has evolved:


• Kitchens. There are more appliances and convenience items, such as built-in coffeemakers priced upwards of $2,000. Everything is gas. Islands are prevalent and are being “loaded up,” although Owen disdains cooktops in islands. Four or five ovens in a house are not uncommon. He recently installed a steamer oven.


• Basements and elevators. Owen has been building basements for 10 to 15 years, but they’re au courant because “people want a house as big as it can possibly be,” he said, which means going underground. He cited the example of a 12,000-square-foot house being built on a 1-acre lot. Elevators are becoming more commonplace because of multilevel dwellings and an aging population.


• Bigger rooms and specialty rooms. One of Owen’s clients wanted 20-foot-by-20-foot bedrooms for the children and a 20-foot-by-25-foot master bedroom. Media rooms, home theaters, game rooms, gyms, home offices and storage rooms have replaced dens and TV rooms.


• High-tech electronics. Think smart houses.


Builder and customer satisfaction


Does Owen have a favorite house or project?


“I love them all” is his ready reply.


What about a favorite architectural style?


“I like Mediterranean and traditional,” he paused. “And comfortable houses and ones that have a little more country feeling. I’m often asked what style I am noted for. My answer is, ‘Yes.’ Doing something different is exciting and so much fun. I like to be a trendsetter.”


His main goal is to satisfy his clients. His son Shawn, vice president and active in the business for a quarter of a century, shares the mission.


“We work hard to make clients think their house is the only one we’re building, although we may have 10 to 15 projects going at a time,” Owen said.


He is able to control costs more and accommodate clients’ needs because he is both architect and builder. There are four sets of eyes on every project – his, Shawn’s, the architect’s and the supervisor’s.


“There are two rewards for me – to see what I’ve built and to have happy clients move in,” Owen said.

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Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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