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 of five-star resorts, a Los Altos Hills couple chose "simple elegance" as the design concept for their new custom home construction.


Los Altos family prioritizes comfort over size

Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Looking to build a contemporary home for their growing family, Aditi and Pooneet Goel razed a dilapidated cottage on their Los Altos property and replaced it with a California Mission-style home with a tile roof and large, arched windows, above, that allow natural light to stream into living spaces, below.

For many hardworking young couples living in San Francisco, there comes a time when it’s nice to return to your roots.


Create inviting spaces bylandscaping in the round

Courtesy of Astrid Gaiser
The half-circle design placed in a triangular garden space, above, creates an inviting and relaxing backyard atmosphere. The side yard, below, is divided by half-circles to offer a more intimate escape.

When thinking about your landscape, shapes matter a lot, especially when the lot itself has a challenging shape.


Traditional vs. sustainable front yards

ial to the Town Crier A gravel path and the stepping stones are good examples of permeable hardscape. The elements allow rainwater to percolate into the soil on-site rather than being washed away into the street.

What difference would it make if you replaced a traditional front lawn with a sustainable front yard? 


Going no-mow

ial to the Town Crier Yarrow is the predominant plant in this sustainable lawn, which was seeded with both yarrow and Red Fescue the previous winter. The adjacent path and patio, carpeted with gravel, create a pleasant walking surface that enables rainwater absorption on-site.

Lawns don’t make sense in parking strips and front yards where the only person walking on them is the person mowing them, horticulturist Deva Luna told a standing-room-only crowd at a recent talk sponsored by GreenTown Los Altos. A small lawn would be appropriate for a children’s play area in the backyard, though, she said.


Do-it-yourself tips for replacing a lawn

ial to the Town Crier If you ask tree trimmers for mulch, you will get a truckload at a time. Here, it’s being offloaded onto a driveway. Note that the truckload has lots of green from leafy hackberry and elm trees. The mixture of leaves and branches will break down faster than wood chips alone, so this mulch would be especially good for a planted area.

At a recent talk sponsored by GreenTown Los Altos, horticulturist Deva Luna offered do-it-yourself tips for transforming what she called a "blank space, formerly lawn" into a sustainable landscape, as well as removing a lawn and planting.


Combining buckwheats with other natives

ial to the Town Crier Sulfur Buckwheat attracts many pollinators and adds a cheerful splash of bright yellow to the garden all summer. For dramatic contrast, grow it with blue-flowered penstemons or Wayne Roderick Seaside Daisy.

Native buckwheats buzz with activity and come in a range of colors and sizes, so you could have an interesting garden with only buckwheats. After all, you have approximately 500 varieties and cultivars to choose from.


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