Mill Valley is one of the most desired and popular places to live for those who have a family and work in San Francisco. The building boom began back in the 1950's with homes designed by modern pioneers such as Francis Joseph McCarthy, John Bolles, and Claude Oakland. Awesome architecture sprawls throughout the region from Strawberry Point to the Tennessee Valley, up Highway 1 to the Panoramic Highway, all the way over to the Scotts Valley, and up Kite Hill. Raphael Soriano, Lee Stuart Darrow, Daniel Lieberman, and Rex Rathbun all built in Mill Valley during the flourishing age of modernism in the late 50's through the mid 60's.
The Mill Valley real estate excitement didn't end with the 60's. You can find plenty of contemporary custom modern and green homes sprinkled throughout the area. Many are up along the Panoramic Highway; others are down in the valley that surrounds the chic and hip town-center. Recently, modern and Dwell-like homes in Mill Valley have sold at some pretty pricey levels beginning at $1.45M, with many exceeding $2M. Space is not usually abundant in these homes, but the plans are smart, making use of every available inch and the most up to date technology, materials, and design. Major architectural firms such as Kappe+Du, Endresware, Ohashi Design Studio, Serrao Design & Architecture, and Sheahan & Quandt have all created innovative, progressively designed homes in Mill Valley.
If you can find a nice fixer or teardown in the Sycamore Park area of Mill Valley you could build a cool prefab or hire an architect to design your modern dream home. Recently Jerry Kler of JKA collaborated on the remodel of a Mill Valley residence. His ingenious plans provided a new garage and living space without substantially changing the existing structure or roofline. Inventive design is a must when remodeling or building in Mill Valley. Lots are small and tight and zoning restrictions are strict, so a clever plan is a must.
Strawberry Point is a modern enthusiast's delight. Donn Emmons, brother to Eichler architect Fredrick Emmons, built his personal residence here. It was in this house that Emmons introduced the use of the sliding barn door, which has become a popular design element in houses today. Since this home was built on a budget, he also called for a metal flue instead of brick. Although metal flues are now commonplace, it was progressive thinking at the time.
You'll also find several Lee Stuart Darrow and Jon Bolles homes in Strawberry Point. Jon Bolles was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the homes here reflect that bias. In Darrow's homes you'll find tall windows, sunken living rooms, and built-in seating with the fireplace as a focal point that define the cool, casual lifestyle embraced by the era.
But we aren't finished with Strawberry Point. For many, the piece de rÃ©sistance is the small, exclusive Eichler development perched above the water in this scenic waterfront neighborhood. Designed by Claude Oakland in the 1960's, these homes are a little larger than most Eichlers and feature both traditional Eichler ranch floor plans as well as unique 2-story homes with soaring, floor to glass walls that offer great views of the San Francisco Bay. You can learn more about these Claude Oakland Eichlers by visiting Mill Valley Eichler Homes at Strawberry Point.
With these beautiful homes, appropriate landscaping is a must. Thomas Church, who worked closely with William Wurster and other Northern California Architects, created many Marin landscapes. Now others must carry the torch. Recently San Francisco based Topher Delaney completed an incredible landscape design for a custom green home in the Boyle Park neighborhood. If you are looking a little closer to home, two well-known modern landscape design companies - Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abbey, and Shades of Green Landscape Architecture - are located in Mill Valley.
Whatever you do, realize that Mill Valley is HOT, HOT, HOT - so move quickly if you find the architectural wonder of your dreams. If you hesitate, you may always remember the one that got away.
Contact Marin Modern Real Estate if we can help you buy or sell a modern, mid-century modern or architecturally unique home or condominium in Mill Valley, California.
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