Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

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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