Last updateFri, 24 Jun 2016 5pm

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimension when they rebuilt their mid-century modern home on La Cresta Drive in Los Altos Hills.

Just consider that they conceptualized the project, he as general contractor and she as interior designer.

The buzz on stewardship, bee swarms and post-pipe gardening

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
The emphasis on stewardship in English public gardens extends to protecting and nurturing healthy populations of bees and other beneficial insects, even when visitors may be slightly inconvenienced.

Garden writer and designer Nan Sterman thinks that people can understand their own gardens better by seeing what people do around the world.

To underline her theory, she led a tour to venerable English estate gardens a few summers ago and was intrigued to discover that though the British did many things in their gardens that local gardeners might call “sustainable,” they never used that word. Instead, they talked about stewardship.

Pruning natives properly enhances beauty of the garden

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
If monkeyflower branches grow too long, you can reduce them to 6 inches long in the winter. The semiwoody shrubs are prone to flopping over or getting too leggy if they get too much shade or water.

Proper pruning can make your native garden more appealing, according to landscape designer Patricia Evans, who spoke to a group of native-gardening enthusiasts in Los Altos this month.

Filoli offers free admission to military personnel

Town Crier File Photo
Filoli invites military personnel to tour the estate and grounds at no charge as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

Filoli estate in Woodside is one of more than 2,000 museums and cultural institutions in the U.S. that will offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Residents highlight Eichler attributes while trying to create historic district

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Eichler homes, like that of Tracy Gibbons, feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, open floor plans and A-frame roofs.

Visionary developer Joseph Eichler and dentist Barry Gordon would sit in the courtyard of Gordon’s Los Altos home, smoke cigars and talk mid-century architecture.

“Barry was a frustrated architect,’’ Margot Gordon said of her late husband. “He just loved to talk to Joe.”

Function meets beauty: Punctuation of color sets Los Altos Hills home apart

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Karen Talmadge and John Fiddes remodeled their Los Altos Hills home with a modern flair and pops of bold color.

Karen Talmadge and John Fiddes have brought their kitchen into the “modern” world – in the true sense of the word.

“We have lots of toys,” she said of the sleek remodeled kitchen in their Los Altos Hills home. “It’s now functional and integrated into the social life of the house.”

Native sods serve as drought-conscious solution

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Native grasses create billowy meadows that feel soft underfoot. Let the grasses flower and go to seed, marking the turn of the seasons and attracting pollinators. Their deep roots build soil and foster a diverse community of soil fauna.

The longer the drought goes on, the more sense it makes to question lawns in our summer-dry climate.

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