Nadine and Aaron Matityahu purchased a “fixer” – her term – on Eastwood Drive in Los Altos last year with the intention of downsizing.
The prospect of remodeling the dated ranch-style house didn’t faze them because they have either built or remodeled every home they’ve lived in since their marriage in 1956 – including their “too big” home just off Mora Drive.
“After buying the house on Eastwood and listing our house for sale, we were begged by our 7-year-old granddaughter Erika not to sell,” Nadine said. “She is such a sweet and very articulate child. It really got to us, and we decided not to move.”
Instead, the Matityahus hired architects Amnon Levy and Avi Agasi of Ashford Associates in Palo Alto and went to work on plans to remodel and sell the Eastwood house.
“We saw the potential of the property with its creek setting, great neighborhood and excellent school district,” said Nadine, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker in Los Altos whose passion is remodeling.
She and Aaron, a retired realtor, approached the project as though they were going to live in the house themselves.
“I was 100 percent involved,” she said. “The idea was to create a custom home that would fit into the neighborhood and yet be unique.”
“We used a blend of Arts and Crafts and Contemporary to rejuvenate the ranch style,” Agasi said. “The new facade is distinguished by arborlike structures which emphasize the house is in a garden. And plants can grow and adorn it.”
The landscaping and fencing are what make the first impression. The house is on a corner lot with a curved fence wrapping it on the right side. Low, curved stone walls in the front and back mimic the fence and portion the front and back lots.
The fence, gazebo and outdoor wood decorations are stained cedar.
They planted a green wall around the front lot perimeter before starting the remodel to enable the plants to grow while rebuilding the house. Some, such as lavender and Queen Palm, are drought resistant.
In the back, a split-rail fence replaced the 6-foot fence so that the Permanente Creek bed became part of the yard.
Consequently, the back of the house is a wall of glass.
“It’s almost like a nursery,” Agasi said.
The stone-lined dry creeks or wells in front and back were installed to collect rain and landscaping runoff – practical and aesthetic touches.
Grassy knolls and a circular driveway in front complete the outdoor picture.
Indoors, from the new vaulted entryway, the home opens up to reveal spacious living areas that maintain a feeling of intimacy because of ceiling treatments. The 3,600-square-foot house has four bedrooms and 3.5 baths.
The architects worked with the existing footprint, added a vaulted-ceiling family room and redefined and expanded the interior. All walls were taken down to the studs. New wiring, plumbing, windows, roof and stucco contributed to the house meriting a green certification from the city.
Dramatic skylights in the open kitchen illuminate the large, multilevel granite island that houses a wine cooler. Other features include Caesarstone countertops, a mother-of-pearl backsplash and custom walnut cabinetry.
The open dining room adjacent to the kitchen sports an oval coffered ceiling and built-in walnut cabinets for display and storage.
The formal living room boasts a vaulted ceiling and opens to the backyard. Its statement-making gas fireplace highlights a distinctive straight line of fire in a bed of crystals.
In lieu of walk-in closets in the master suite, there is a wall of European-style built-in wardrobe closets and drawers. The master bath has a skylight, freestanding oval tub, dual vanity, glass-enclosed shower and towel warmers.
Nadine said she designed the house with the busy modern family in mind. Among the byproducts are a mudroom and a shoe closet.
“In my experience in seeing so many homes, usually shoes are stored in the bedroom closets, which is not very healthful, or they are left by the door. I decided to build a shoe closet in the entryway for storing all the family shoes, and a mudroom off the garage for backpacks and coats for after school,” she said. “I wanted to build a house that would feel good to come home to – one with lots of light and windows to bring the outdoors in. No messy clothes in walk-ins. No shoes or bags to pick up after the kids. A home with the best of everything.”
For a virtual tour of the house, visit www.BuchananAnd Bowen.com.
Eastwood Drive Home - Images by Ellie Van Houtte/Los Altos Town Crier