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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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House hunting: HGTV show features local familys search


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town CrierAn episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters” followed Heather and Brad Green and their two children, Liam and Larkin, as they searched for a house to buy in Mountain View.

The backyard of Heather and Brad Green’s Mountain View house is huge. And just on the other side of the fence is a city of Los Altos water tank – a very quiet neighbor – partly camouflaged by an urban forest.

This pretty much sums up why the Greens purchased the house. Brad, who grew up on a 400-acre farm in Iowa, longed for a big lot, and the couple wanted to be in the Los Altos School District.

There were other pluses, too, like the neighborhood itself – even the name of the street, Meadow Lane.

“It is a sweet, meandering street,” Heather said. “And I like the organic growth in an established neighborhood.”

But finding the property wasn’t easy, despite the fact that Heather is a realtor with Alain Pinel Realtors.

“We looked at dozens of homes and made five unsuccessful offers,” she said.

The search

The couple’s search, which undoubtedly resonates with other local homebuyers, will be featured in an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” to be aired in late spring.

“I’m a big fan of the show,” said Heather, who, on a whim, submitted an online application to appear. “The timing was right because the show had just gone to five nights a week. I was both agent and buyer, and there was the Silicon Valley angle.”

When she made her pitch, she and Brad, a Google engineering director, and their children, Liam, now 3, and Larkin, 16 months, were renting an apartment at Avalon Towers on the Peninsula in Mountain View, while looking to buy.

The couple had just sold their three-bedroom midcentury house in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, after completing a major remodel.

Heather, who was project manager for the remodel and pregnant at the time, put her hand over her heart when she talked about the house.

“I loved it,” she said. “We took the kitchen down to the studs, redid the two existing baths and turned a closet into a half-bath.”

Two weeks after the project was completed, Larkin was born. And six months later, the Greens put their beloved house on the market.

Their goals: bigger house, big lot, better schools and shorter commute for Brad.

“Being in the Los Altos School District was a huge priority for me,” Heather said. “And Brad wanted to be closer to work so that he could spend more time with the children.”

The first interview for “House Hunters” took place in their Avalon Towers apartment. Larkin’s crib was in the bathroom – the “most convenient place to put it” – because of the apartment’s size.

“I hope she lives it down when she’s older, because it’s in the episode,” Heather said.

The apartment was within biking distance of Google, which spoiled Brad and figured in their bid to buy the Meadow Lane house (less than 5 miles from his workplace).

The size of the lot – 13,000 square feet – was another factor. There’s footage of Brad in a couple of backyards, shaking his head and saying, “Umm, not big enough.”

A happy ending

Five days were devoted to shooting. The episode follows the Greens from that first interview through the house-hunting phase to their decision to buy, which was made in a hamburger joint. It concludes with them in their new environment.

The four-bedroom ranch-style home was remodeled recently and boasts an upstairs master suite with balcony overlooking the backyard.

“We were originally looking for a fixer-upper, a place to make our own,” Heather said. “But we’ve put a nice layer on what was here.”

The couple changed the light fixtures to create a contemporary feeling (their furnishings are modern), painted the bedrooms and painted an accent wall in the family room.

“I like a neutral palette with pops of color,” said Heather, who embraces interior design with the same passion she has for real estate.

Speaking of real estate, she said, “I really do love the whole process, from guiding a new buyer through what can be a very intimidating process, to developing a strategic marketing plan to maximize the ROI (return on investment) for a seller.”

Being both agent and buyer put a new spin on things for her in a challenging market where inventory remains low and there are more buyers than sellers, driving prices up.

But the “House Hunters” episode has a happy ending and puts the national spotlight on the area.

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