Home & Real Estate
Now and then
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den. Inspired by a trip to France, the van Thil- los created a formal French parterre garden — an ornamental garden with paths between the beds — on one side of the half-acre property. Each bed, which is defined by low Japanese boxwood hedges, features a tree rose in the center, surrounded by small French Provencal lavenders. Inside the beds are various-colored hybrid tea roses, with floribundas on the bor- ders, red African daisies (gerbera) and purple verbena. Sometimes there are orange gerbera contrasted with red verbena.
“Each bed had a different color theme,” van Thillo said, and all are designed to scale down in height. That’s true at the side of the house as well, where they grow cosmos and del- phinium, along with more roses, iris and rho- dodendrons.
In addition to the beds, citrus trees anchor the four corners of the parterre area, with Eu- reka and Lisbon lemons and kumquats.
Next comes an expanse of lawn and a num- ber of fruit trees, including two plum, two apricot and a cherry tree, with hydrangea bor- ders. Plunk in the center of the large garden is the original garage, which is used for storage today. The old asphalt driveway is long gone, but the van Thillos hope to convert the garage to a cottage some day.
In the large yard are two arbors, one with a bench — “We love to sit out there and look back at the house and enjoy the garden,” she said — and the other with a picnic table and benches. Nearby are rhododendrons, white pe- onies, orange clivia and forget-me-nots, all shade-loving plants.
Completing the garden is a raised bed for growing vegetables, which is planted in 10
kinds of heirloom tomatoes, peppers and basil, with strawberries around the border and flow- ers for “beauty and to attract bugs,” she said. Up against the fence the van Thillos grow squash.
The van Thillos subdivided their large prop- erty in 1995 and designed and built the house in front, which is also on the tour. Working with building designer Von Haws and Abigail Ahrens, they made sure their new neighbor’s home would blend with the neighborhood, and with their Craftsman house. “It has architec- tural features of an old house but modern fea- tures,” van Thillo said.
The other homes on tour include:
a brand new Country Craftsman-style
home designed for a family of seven, with a lot of wood detailing, a generous kitchen with a dramatic view of the garden and pool area, and a basement living space that incorporates guest quarters, a laundry room, workshop and a large playroom.
a 1923 Italianate residence built by San
Francisco architect Andrew Knoll for himself and his wife, and extensively remodeled in the 1980s. The original property consisted of 50 acres; today the half-acre lot includes “garden rooms,” as well as a pool, rose garden, raised vegetable beds and many old trees.
a 1928 Spanish Revival home, built by
Dr. Daniel Rector (“Concrete Smith”) Smith
with some remnants visible in the drive-
way curbing, fishpond and borders. Today’s owners have restored or kept much of the orig- inal, including glass doors for the cupboards, which were hidden under the attic eaves, pocket doors and walnut-stained mahogany cove molding and sash work.
a 1997 Classical rebuild, with columns,
marble and outdoor courtyards, which retains only the built-in barbecue and chimney from the 1950s rancher that preceded it. A theme
the correspondence be-
tween rock, plant life and mankind — runs throughout the home, with the tone set by a large granite sculpture, “The Eye of God” by David Falos- si.
“We try to stick with his- toric interest, whether it’s the home, family history or his- torical architecture,” said Julie Rose, co-chair of the tour steering committee. The tour raises money for changing ex- hibits and educational pro- grams at the Los Altos History Museum. ■ Assistant editor Carol Blitzer can be reached at email@example.com.
The living room offers Craftsman charm, from hardwood floors to ceiling.
What: Third Annual Spring Home and Garden Tour When: Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Six homes within walking distance of the Village of Los Altos Sponsored by: Los Altos History Museum Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Also Premier Evening at the historic Warnock residence, Friday, May 7, 6-8 p.m. Cost is $125 and includes May 8 tour. Info: Call the Los Altos History Museum at (650) 948-9427, ext. 15, for information on the tour, tickets and shuttle buses.
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Home & Real Estate • Friday, April 30, 2004 • Page 3