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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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