http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2011/11/11/greenmeadow


Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - November 11, 2011

Greenmeadow

A community-focused, historic Eichler neighborhood

by Janelle Eastman

Inspired by the work of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler set out to develop community-based housing at a low construction cost in the early 1950s. Today, the houses nestled in his Greenmeadow subdivision are immediately recognizable by their stylized single-story designs that include cinderblock material, flat roofs and multiple glass windows and doors — creating an indoor/outdoor sensibility.

Situated between Cubberley Community Center and Alma Street, just south of Matadero Creek, Greenmeadow provides a safe surrounding for its residents.

"The kids are able to run around without us parents having to worry," said Deborah Simon-Lurie, a second-generation resident of Greenmeadow.

Tim Foy grew up in the neighborhood in the mid-1960s, attending the nearby Greenmeadow nursery school, and graduated from Gunn High School. When it came time to raise a family, he moved back to the community onto Ben Lemond Drive six years ago.

Today, second-generation Greenmeadow residents abound — Simon-Lurie, Foy and Sean Giffen, Greenmeadow Community Association president, among them.

"A ton of us have come back to raise families — not necessarily in the same house, though," Foy said. "We all know each other within the community, especially the second-generations such as myself, and I cannot picture a better place to raise kids."

"My favorite part about living in Greenmeadow is being on the swim team," 10-year-old Madeline Lurie, daughter of Deborah Simon-Lurie, said. "My mom was on the swim team and when I go to the pool I like to see the award she won."

Abundant activities are offered to children in the cul-de-sac-filled neighborhood, often centered around its private park, pool and recreation building. Highlights include the annual Labor and Memorial Day potlucks and the 4th of July parade, noted Fatima Giffen, wife of Sean Giffen.

Children also enjoy frequent movie nights and the annual Halloween party hosted at the recreation center.

Adults participate in residential home and garden tours, as a way of sharing interior and exterior design ideas, and a progressive dinner during the winter.

"We're beginning to start weekly Sunday night barbecues here at the park and bring back the community garage sale — something Greenmeadow hasn't done since the early 1990s," Giffen said.

Residents say the home designs lend themselves to a comfortable community: The kids know exactly where the bathrooms are located in each house since they share similar floor plans, Simon-Lurie said.

"Even though the chimneys are made up of cinderblock and the tiles are directly stuck to plywood (which is not the way to do it), Eichler was able to successfully develop these houses in a stylish way with a successful community-oriented set-up," Alison Vanegeran, a resident of Greenmeadow since 1998, said.

Simon-Lurie said the architectural concepts have held up over time, and today would seem to be "a great fit for IKEA furniture."

"I absolutely just love the common interest in community bonding among neighbors. As soon as I drive into Greenmeadow, I feel at home," Foy said.

FACTS

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): Montessori School of Los Altos, 303 Parkside Drive; Palo Alto Infant Toddler Center, 4111 Alma St.; Redwood Enrichment Center, 445 E. Charleston Road

FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road

LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 4050 Middlefield Road (temporary location during construction)

LOCATION: between Creekside Drive and Ferne Avenue, Nelson Drive and Ben Lomond Drive

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: 650-494-3157, www.greenmeadow.org; Sean Giffen, president, Greenmeadow Community Association, seangriffen@hotmail.com

PARKS: Greenmeadow Park (private); Mitchell Park (nearby), 600 East Meadow Drive

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS (NEARBY): Palo Alto Prep School, 4000 Middlefield Road; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School

SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center

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