Real Estate

A deeper look at Old Mountain View

House tour offers old and new, all a stone's throw from Castro Street

Seven homes, dating from 1895 to just last year, highlight the upcoming Mountain View Educational Foundation house tour through Old Mountain View this weekend.

The homes on Franklin and Villa streets, within easy walking distance of each other, include a Victorian with a chicken coop; a 1907 home remodeled in 1998; a Craftsman with many original details; a couple from the 1920s, each recently remodeled; and two newly constructed homes.

The newest one, built for Aila Malik and Kapil Verma, is made of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and includes many eco-friendly features: the photovoltaic panels on the roof, radiant heating in the floors, solar water heater and an emphasis on using local suppliers.

The couple opted to build after scouting the Old Mountain View area and finding mostly 40- to 50-year-old homes.

"We were looking for a long-term house that we wouldn't have to keep fixing," Verma said.

What they found was a pair of older apartment buildings on a 10,000-square-foot corner lot. Working with Plateau Building Group, a local design/build firm, they had a 3,200-square-foot home built along with a 450-square-foot in-law unit.

While the exterior of the home fits with the traditional streetscape -- "We liked Craftsman style," Verma said, "and we have lots of touches" -- inside the vibe is distinctly modern.

A key piece to the design was creating a great room, where the kitchen and family room flowed together into a central family-oriented space. They also chose to site the master suite downstairs, all part of an "aging-in-place" strategy, Verma said.

At the front of the house, an office (with a magnetic whiteboard for listing tasks to do or for children's art) is sited to the left of the foyer and a "music room" to the right.

But the heart of the house is that great room where the family of five congregates around a huge kitchen island. The island is where most action happens -- from food preparation and eating family meals to creating kids' art projects.

The fresh design includes a stainless-steel farmers sink, a microwave in a drawer, a backsplash made of recycled tiles and a pot filler over the Thermador dual-oven stove. Countertops are made of dark gray Caesarstone, contrasting with the white cabinets and white oak flooring.

Hanging over the island are three pendant lamps, made to resemble mason jars. Recessed ceiling lights are fluorescent in the "kitchen" area and incandescent, with a dimmer switch, in the family room.

Off the great room is a formal dining room, with built-in cabinetry for a bar and glassware. It's so subtly placed one doesn't notice it even exists until one is practically in the room.

Looking out from the great room, a stone-faced wall announces the change from public to private space. "We wanted a separation from the main home to the master suite," Verma said.

The couple's large walk-in closet includes a stacked washer/dryer and an island for folding laundry. A second laundry area is located upstairs, as part of the guest bedroom suite.

The adult space includes a steam shower with glass blocks affording privacy from the street and two sinks sitting atop the counter.

Upstairs are a guest suite, two children's bedrooms and a playroom that can be converted to a bedroom when the boys are old enough to want their own rooms.

Outside, the couple has created additional seating areas, with a barbecue and table next to cushioned patio furniture. Highlight for the children is the trampoline -- and of course, the chicken coop and vegetable garden.

Although they had owned a home before, this was the first time they chose to build one.

Glancing around the kitchen, Verma said: "I see 10,000 things. Each was a decision. Some take two seconds and some two months to process."

He described his wife as the one more conscious of the color scheme, while he was more into project management, but there were no major disagreements, he added.

The whole project took a year to raze the buildings on the property and design, then another 16 months to build.

Proceeds from the house tour support K-8 programs in the Mountain View-Whisman School District, including art, music, science, after-school sports and technology.

What: Mountain View Educational Foundation house tour

When: Sunday, Sept. 28, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: Seven homes in Old Mountain View

Cost: $25

Parking: Street parking is limited to three hours; parking available in the garage at California and Bryant streets.

Info: Home Tour, click on "Home Tour"

Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be emailed at cblitzer@paweekly.com.

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