Couple plans downsized home years before kids flew the coop

Three years ago, when their youngest child was 15, Paula and Paul Loftus ran the numbers, and, after a brief analysis, foresaw that this child, too, would very likely finish high school and go away to college, just like his older brother and sister.

And that meant one thing: They would be left with too much house.

The table in the home’s eat-in kitchen can extend to accommodate many guests, eliminating the need for a formal dining room. (Marni Jameson)

Now, we all know that crossing the gap between knowing and doing is like Evel Knievel jumping the Snake River Canyon on skateboard. Thus, most empty nesters default into staying in the family home for one of three reasons, or all of them: 1. Denial (The kids love this home; moving would break their hearts.) 2. Complacency (Moving is too much effort. This house is so full of everyone’s stuff it would take dynamite and a backhoe to get us out.) 3. Fear (Where would we go? What would we do with the leftover furniture?)

Last month they traded their 6,000 square-foot, six-bedroom home of 17 years for a 3,200 square-foot, four-bedroom, with a 1,000 square-foot basement. They sold, donated or tossed more than half of their household contents.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I had the honor of being their first dinner guests.

“After the home tour, I settled in the seating area next to the big open kitchen, opened my laptop and popped off some questions.

Paul, a business consultant, sees nothing but upside. “We got rid of our micro-economy and all that went with it,” he said referring to the former home, which sat on more than an acre. The new home is on a quarter acre. He estimates their monthly household expenses will be a third of what they were.

But such …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Sponsored: Coming soon: Garden Isle townhome

Welcome to 3416 Brithorn Lane in Alameda, a spacious H model townhome located in a beautiful courtyard.

This spacious townhome is located close to everything, from walking and bike paths to shopping and the S.F. ferry.

This three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home has a remodeled kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances and a gas stove. The living room has a wood-burning fireplace and a vaulted ceiling. There are dual-pane windows and sliding doors throughout the home. There are engineered wood floors downstairs and carpets upstairs. The spacious master bedroom suite includes a private bathroom, walk-in closet and a second closet. The middle bathroom has been remodeled with a granite counter/shower enclosure, and a heated floor and towel rack. There is a convenient indoor laundry room with storage cabinets, window and a washer and dryer. The spacious two-car attached garage comes with a rollup door. There is a private backyard patio located off of the kitchen and dining area.

The location is fantastic: It’s close to walking/bike paths, parks, top schools, shopping center, bus lines and the San Francisco ferry. HOA amenities include clubhouse, RV parking and a swimming pool. The monthly HOA dues are $499 and include water, hazard insurance, exterior and common grounds maintenance. The property was built in 1974 and has approximately 2,004 square feet per public records.

Price: $769,000
Location: 3416 Brithorn Lane, Alameda — by appointment
Listing agent: Nancy Evans, CRS, Compass, 510-908-9023,,

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Sponsored: Pierce Ranch home features stylish designer touches, a ‘glam room,’ wet bar and quick access to hiking trails

Designer touches and brilliant details make this Almaden Valley home worthy of an exciting HGTV reveal. Meticulously maintained and updated, this home is filled with a contemporary and neutral palette of colors, natural light, clean fresh lines, and stylish fixtures. Combine its turnkey condition with a centralized location nestled near a picturesque neighborhood, and you have a winning property.

This 2,582-square-foot home with designer touches is just down the street from Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

Surrounded by several neighborhood parks in close proximity, this home at 6518 McAbee Road is also walking distance to Castillero Middle School, less than a mile to Simonds Elementary, and less than 2 miles to Pioneer High School, with attendance at Leland High School also as a possibility. Walk to the trailhead of Almaden Quicksilver County Park about a half-mile away and take advantage of the miles of hiking trails that traverse the gorgeous parkland. Grab your golf clubs or gather with friends at the Almaden Golf and Country Club also nearby or enjoy the easy freeway access into the rest of Silicon Valley and downtown San Jose.

Beyond the manicured, park-like front landscape and welcoming front porch is about 2,582 square feet of living space with five bedrooms and three bathrooms including a main-level guest room and full bathroom, and sumptuous master retreat with custom “glam room” and dreamy walk-in closet room.

Decorative leaded glass panels adorn the double-door entry that opens onto a two-story foyer with updated tile flooring. The interior features fresh paint, wide baseboards, updated dual-pane windows with plantation shutters, recessed lighting and high ceilings.

The formal living and adjacent dining rooms include wide-plank hardwood floors and a vaulted ceiling.

The formal living and adjacent dining rooms are spacious rooms that feature wide-plank hardwood floors, a vaulted ceiling, and a front-facing picture window and view …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Sponsored: New construction in Orinda delivers thoughtful design and incredible views

Brand new construction on almost an acre of land showcases impeccable craftsmanship, artistry and attention to every detail.

Designer/builder Christian Brown, owner of Golden Snail Builders, chose this pristine Orinda hillside property for its private setting, oak-studded surroundings and views. He created a reinterpretation of an Arts and Crafts home with a contemporary touch. The home’s understated luxury and minimalist style has an architectural integrity reserved for only the finest of homes.

The almost 4,000-square-foot home at 48 Oak Drive took about 18 months to craft with a consistent use of finishes and features that Brown says, “brings a subtle class and depth to a home.” The thoughtful design and the way in which each element works with the whole, creates a beautiful and harmonious aesthetic.

For example, the pattern on the outside deck railing matches the interior staircase bannister; gorgeous honed marble and quartz counters adorn the kitchen and are used for a fresh, crisp look in the bathrooms.

This four-bedroom property built over 18 months blends luxury, minimalist and contemporary touches throughout the almost 4,000-square-foot home.

Beginning at the classic front pillars, the graceful lines of a porch beam with a cloud lift motif that is echoed in the solid mahogany front door, and protruding corbels, the facade of the home “attributes to the strength of the home’s design and its longevity,” says Brown. It’s a timeless piece of architecture and art.

The boutique builder based in Oakland, Golden Snail Builders, builds one home a year. Brown says this home was situated on the property to take full advantage of the views and to welcome as much daylight as possible into the home.

The home features four bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, living room, office, fabulous bonus room and appealing flexible space that is designed so “you can live in it in many …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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