Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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