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07 November 2006


Things are cyclical though. 30 to 40 years from now, we will be pining for the sorts of homes erected in the 1980s to 2000s.

Say, do I see an Eichler influence here?

Actually, I think some of the most interesting Westlake homes were built just *before* Eichler really hit his stride. The first Westlake development took place in 1948 and 1949, just as Eichler was setting up his own practice. At the very least, they were contemporaneous. I'm also told that Doelger's houses were generally of higher quality, in terms of the workmanship and materials used... or so the locals there say.

Well a drive through Daly City now looks like a drive thru an american post-war time capsule in an asian country. Every "corner store" or "neighborhood market" is some sort of asian market and last I read Daly City was the highest population of filipinos in one location outside the philippines. There have been plenty of marring additions and remodels - a lot of the houses now look freakishly oversized and forget about finding a parking place on the streets in front of your house as most homes house more than one family, or at least a few gernations, and everyone in the family has at least one car -- grandparents =2 cars; parents =2 cars; 3 or 4 kids =3 or 4 cars thats possible 8 cars per house where most 2 car tandem garages have been converted to rooms or living quarters which leaves the one care driveway and the street... I'll stop - because I could go on and on - once you start about the landscapes - which aren't being taken care of anymore...

Those damn philipinos and all their damn cars. Way to go, arsehole.

I have no idea what it used to look like, but I think Westlake is still looking just fine. It's clear that whoever lives there now still cares about the neighborhood, and caring about the neighborhood is what matters most.

Joe's Of Westlake was one of Anton Lavey's favorite haunts. We had dinner there with him on many occasions. I have a photo somewhere of Ruth & I standing with Lavey in front of that awful clown painting at the entrance!

I think the answer is that no, we won't miss the 80's much and the 90's/00's at all. Modern suburbs lack the sense of design and style that some of the nicer inner ring modernist 'burbs had. They'll get better as street trees get taller, but they'll alway be bland, featureless boxes dominated by gigantic garages. Suburbs have gotten to the point where things are a little too spread out to foster a sense of community, but a little too closely packed to allow any sort of sense of isolation.

Personally, I pine after the good architecture of these houses at the micro level, but not the macro level urban design and certainly not the larger scale urban planning that went into 95% of postwar suburbs.

Wow - what a cool place! I'm going to need to find out more about this. Thanks for sharing!

At least these little gems are interesting, in a retro sort of way. Some may have mourned the loss of a more traditional suburb when 'Little Boxes' was composed, but Today's 'suburbs' are far worse -- the have almost no character -- beautiful expances of rural forest and farmland are clear-cut for extremely high priced, ugly and featureless 'boxes' -- gated and mostly pavement and tacky driveways and seas of ugly rooftops.

Today's suburbs have absolutely NO walkability to them. If you plug the address of any house in any of the newer (1980's and on) neighborhoods into walkscore.com not a one of them comes up with a walkable score...they are all completely car-dependent. It's rather depressing to someone hoping to move into their first home to realize how isolating a suburb can be for those who might want to try being a SAHM in a one-car family!!
At least the older suburban neighborhoods (even the initial "ticky-tacky" ones) had local grocery stores and schools nearby...even if you had to drive to any cultural or social opportunities besides that!!

I don't know where MR lived, but it seems that most of SF's housing stock is similar; fancy front and plain back - which is typical of American builder housing from the 19th C. onwards (think Chicago bungalows with face brick and stone fronts and common brick sides and rear). Of course, earlier people might have found that in "good taste" as that seems to me to have been a bigger concern (conformity and all that) in earlier era's than to her generation and not been as critical of popular tastes in housing either (since owned single family houses were still a luxury then).

Funny thing about Westlake is that is seems to be more urban than suburban to me; just a continuation of Sunset's little stucco houses in a local idiom or urban vernacular (much like, again, the Chicago bungalow which continue far into the suburbs and of which variants are still built today).

This house looks so excellent. Its the house for the real people. Keep up the good work.

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