Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Thanking the City of Monte Sereno and Preparing for Rain

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The first rainstorm of the year is forecasted to arrive tonight.  100% probability …

To prepare for the rain, we moved all of the wood inside the house, including the insulation from the deconstruction, and then we covered the soil in front of the house with the scrap wood from the old roof.  Also, Al and Bryan ensured the roof drains were clear and Al put some temporary downspouts in place from the Upper Flat roof to the Mid Level and Lower Level flat roofs.

We’re ready for some rain.

Thanking the City of Monte Sereno

With only 3,400 men, women and children living in Monte Sereno, it is a small community.  It is nice to be able to attend a City Council meeting and be able to speak for 3 minutes on any topic you wich.

Bryan attended the City Council meeting tonight and spoke for three minutes.  First, he showed two graphs, which he obtained from Acterra, regarding the extremely high consumption of electricity in the City of Monte Sereno.  Then, Bryan thanked three employees of the City of Monte Sereno.

Given the extra work that was done for us to meet all the requirements for our solar photovoltaic system, we wanted to thank the people involved.  Bryan, standing in front of City Council, thanked the Building Official, Howard Bell, the City Attorney, Kirsten Powell, and the City Manager, Brian Loventhal for working together to find a solution so we could have our solar permit signed off and our permanent meter released.

It was nice to be able to say, ‘thank you’.

Making the ‘Year in Review’ for the Los Gatos Weekly Times

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Bryan received an SMS message from Wendy Reyna this morning that stated, ‘You’re in the Los Gatos paper again!”

The photo from March 16, 2010 story on our project was included in the Year in Review that the Los Gatos Weekly Times published today.

Way cool … 

Cover of the December 28, 2010 Los Gatos Weekly Times.

Cover of the December 28, 2010 Los Gatos Weekly Times.

First page of the Year in Review ...

First page of the Year in Review ...

Photo on page 28 of the December 28, 2010 Los Gatos Weekly Times.

 

Monte Sereno homeowners Bryan and Jo-Anne Mekechuk dug a basement to have more room for their children and visiting relatives.  In the process, they decided to turn their 1969 Eichler into a green showpiece, adding a rainwater collection cistern and 48 solar panels.  They are also reusing many of the original building materials and are trying to stay true to Eichler’s vision to ‘Bring the Outside In.’

Attending the Swearing In of Monte Sereno’s New Council Members

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Monte Sereno’s new council members were sworn in tonight and the new Mayor and Vice Mayor were appointed.  City Council chambers in Monte Sereno were packed, with standing room only.  Last year, the swearing in was held at Daves Avenue Elementary School.

Bryan had arrived early after dropping Nik off for his Boy Scout Troop meeting so he had a front row seat, perfect to take photos.  The Chief of Police for Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Scott Seaman, was in full uniform and sat beside Bryan.

There were five candidates running for three seats for City Council in the November 2, 2010 election.  Curtis Rogers, Burton Craig and Marshall Anstandig were elected for a four-year term.

Prior to the swearing in of the new council members, the outgoing Mayor, Don Perry, presented a Proclamation of Appreciation to five citizens of Monte Sereno, including Barbara Allen.  Barbara has been a resident of Monte Sereno since 1962 and has been Chairperson of the Site and Architecture Commission numerous times.  Barbara and Vice Mayor Lana Malloy were on the Site and Architecture Commission when we applied for our Site Development permit on July 16, 2008 (Marshall Anstandig was Chairperson at that time).  Both Barbara and Lana have been to several events at our project site. 

We were delighted to see Mayor Don Perry acknowledge the countless hours of volunteer service that Barbara has contributed to the City of Monte Sereno.

Subsequently, Mayor Don Perry nominated Marshall Anstandig as Mayor.  The nomination passed unanimously.  The new Mayor then nominated council member Susan Garner as Vice Mayor; that nomination passed unanimously.

After a brief recess so the new council members, Mayor and Vice Mayor could take their seats, Mayor Marshall Anstandig called the meeting to order again and asked if anyone in the Council Chambers would like to speak.  Bryan, of course, took the opportunity to welcome the new council members and say how much we enjoy being part of the community in Monte Sereno. 

After the meeting adjourned, Bryan spoke briefly with the former Vice Mayor, Lana Malloy and asked why she declined to serve as Mayor.  Lana explained that it is a very busy time for her as her husband is recovering from a serious bicycle injury.  We know that Lana will be nominated as Mayor before her first term is up.

Andrea M. Chelemengos, City Clerk, on the left swears in Curtis Rogers, Burton Craig and Marshall Anstandig for a four-year term as Council Members for the City of Monte Sereno.

After the sweariing in, the outgoing Mayor, Don Perry (shaking hands with the new Mayor, Marshall Anstandig) congratulated the new Council Members.

After the sweariing in, the outgoing Mayor, Don Perry (shaking hands with the new Mayor, Marshall Anstandig), congratulated the new Council Members.

Getting Ink in the San Jose Mercury News

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

It was Los Gatos Little League Day today and we were there with Nik and Kate for the opening ceremonies (Nik is playing AAA on the Red Sox and Kate is playing Machine Pitch with the Orioles). 

After the ceremonies, Jo-Anne walked with Nik and Kate a few blocks to Starbucks to burn some energy and get some coffee.  Our neighbor, Kel Marchbank, was there and said, ‘Saw you guys in the San Jose Mercury News today.’

Way, way cool …

San Jose Mercury News, April 4, 2010

San Jose Mercury News, April 4, 2010

How Eichler’s ‘California Modern’ is going green
By Judy Peterson
Bay Area News Group

When real estate developer Joseph Eichler started building homes in Northern California in 1950, he targeted middle-class home buyers who appreciated the houses’ light and airy architecture that eventually became known as California Modern. With skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out onto gardens, patios and pools, the houses reflected Eichler’s vision was to “Bring the Outside In.”

Fast forward to the 1960s, when Eichler set his sights on Monte Sereno, building a 16-house subdivision on Via Sereno, off Winchester Boulevard. One of those Eichlers is being rebuilt to reflect what could well be called California Green. The new California style is sustainable, healthier homes, with many homeowners trying to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Homeowners Bryan and Jo-Anne Mekechuk bought their 1969 Eichler in 1997. At the time, they had no children. Now they have two, plus they needed room for visiting grandparents. So, it was time to remodel.

At first, the couple considered adding a second story.

“A second floor on an Eichler is not appropriate,” Mekechuk says.

Instead, they took the house apart board by board and dug a basement. Even so, Mekechuk says the home will remain true to Eichler’s vision.

“We kept all the design,” Mekechuk said. “The footprint of the house is identical. For example, the garage door is in the same place.”

Well, almost identical. Besides the basement, 18 square feet was added and three windows were moved. But two windows at the front of the home are identical and Eichler’s trademark atrium will be rebuilt.

Mekechuk is reusing 100 percent of the original home’s redwood boarding, while adding structural insulated panels-styrofoam insulation sandwiched between plywood. Mekechuk gets LEED points for that. The LEED rating system gives homeowners points that, when added up, can determine if a house is LEED certified or if it is certified as silver, gold or platinum. Mekechuk is shooting for platinum.

The Mekechuks also get points for holding educational open houses.

But it is the guts of the house itself that will determine if they reach their platinum goal. That’s why a cistern was dug to capture rainwater that will irrigate drought-tolerant plants. Polished concrete floors are a key element as well.

“It’s easy to keep concrete clean, plus it doesn’t trap dust and dander,” Bryan Mekechuk says. The concrete floors are composed of 70 percent slag. “Slag is a byproduct of steel production. Slag usually goes to the landfill,” he adds.

The house will be heated and cooled by a geothermal system.

“Geothermal takes warm water out of the ground and uses it to heat the house through tubing in the concrete floors,” Mekechuk says. “Cooling is the reverse of that.”

Mekechuk also plans to put 48 solar panels on the roof.

“Monte Sereno is really pulling out all the stops to encourage this kind of project,” Mayor Don Perry said at a recent open house. “We’ve waived all permit fees for solar panels. We’re really proud of this project.”

Mekechuk expects his new “Eichler Green” to be completed by late October.

© San Jose Mercury News.

Appearing in the Los Gatos Weekly Times

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Judy Peterson, lead writer for the Los Gatos Weekly Times, came to our second Collaborative Informational Session on Wednesday, March 10 and interviewed a number of people.  George Sakkestad came with Judy and took photos of the event.

The Los Gatos Weekly Times just published Judy’s story today (the text of the article appears below).

Way cool.

Attending Monte Sereno’s City Council Meeting

Bryan attended the City Council meeting and took the opportunity to address City Council regarding the sign ordinance.

His comments were noted in the minutes of the meeting.

March 16, 2010 edition of the Los Gatos Weekly Times.

March 16, 2010 edition of the Los Gatos Weekly Times.

.

Eichler ‘California Modern’ is goin’ green
Couple is updating their 1969 home
By Judy Peterson

When real estate developer Joseph Eichler started building homes in Northern California in 1950, he targeted middle class home buyers who appreciated the houses’ light and airy architecture that eventually came to be known as California Modern. With skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out onto gardens, patios and pools, Eichler’s vision was to “Bring the Outside In.”

Fast forward to the late 1960s, when Eichler set his sights on Monte Sereno, building a 16-house subdivision on Via Sereno, just off Winchester Boulevard. Today, one of those Eichlers is being re-built to reflect what could well be called California Green. That’s because the new California style is to build sustainable, healthier homes, with many homeowners trying to achieve LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Homeowners Bryan and Jo-Anne Mekechuk bought their 1969 Eichler in 1997. At the time, they had no children. Now they have two, plus they needed room for visiting grandparents. So, it was time to plunge into the money pit that is known as home remodeling.

“We’re building this house to live in for the next 15 years,” Bryan Mekechuk said.

At first, the couple considered adding a second story.

“A second floor on an Eichler is not appropriate,” Mekechuk said.

Instead, they took the house apart board by board and dug a basement. Even so, Mekechuk says the home will remain true to Eichler’s vision.

“We kept all the design,” Mekechuk said. “The footprint of the house is identical. For example, the garage door is in the same place.”

Well, almost identical. Besides the basement, 18 square feet was added and three windows were moved. But two windows at the front of the home are identical and Eichler’s trademark atrium will be rebuilt. Mekechuk was able to reuse 100 percent of the original home’s redwood boarding, while adding structural insulated panels-styrofoam insulation sandwiched between plywood. Mekechuk gets LEED points for that. The LEED rating system gives homeowners points that, when added up, can determine if a house is LEED certified or if it is certified as silver, gold or platinum. Mekechuk is shooting for platinum.

Mekechuk also gets points for holding educational open houses.

But it is the guts of the house itself that will determine if he reaches his platinum goal. That’s why a cistern was dug to capture rainwater that will irrigate drought-tolerant plants. Polished concrete floors are a key element as well. “It’s easy to keep concrete clean, plus it doesn’t trap dust and dander,” Mekechuk said. The concrete floors are composed of 70 percent slag. “Slag is a byproduct of steel production. Slag usually goes to the landfill,” Mekechuk said.

The house will be heated and cooled by a geothermal system.

“Geothermal takes warm water out of the ground and uses it to heat the house through tubing in the concrete floors,” Mekechuk said. “Cooling is the reverse of that.”

Mekechuk also plans to put 48 solar panels on the roof.

“Monte Sereno is really pulling out all the stops to encourage this kind of project,” Mayor Don Perry said at a recent open house. “We’ve waived all permit fees for solar panels. We’re really proud of this project.”

Vice Mayor Lana Malloy was also on hand, pointing out that the city once tried to get Via Sereno designated as a “street of historic significance,” but in Monte Sereno homes must be at least 60 years old before they’re considered historic.

Even if they’re not technically historic, Eichlers set the tone for post-war development in California. Mekechuk expects his new “Eichler Green” to be completed by late October.

To follow Mekechuk’s progress, visit www.eichlervision.com.

© Los Gatos Weekly Times, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers.

Attending the Formal Swearing In of Mayor Don Perry and Vice Mayor Lana Malloy

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

We, along with several hundred other people in Monte Sereno and Los Gatos, attended the formal swearing in of our new mayor, Don Perry, and our new vice mayor, Lana Malloy.  Since the City Council Chambers were too small, the special meeting was held at Daves Avenue Elementary School.

The meeting was the absolute shortest on record.  We just made it in time to see the formal swearing in as both Don and Lana took their oaths for office.

We chatted with a number of people after the ceremony, including Don and Lana, the Fultons, Cullinanes, McNeils, Laurie Jones, and others, The lead reporter for the Los Gatos Weekly Times, Judy Peterson, was there and we managed to speak with her for a few minutes as well.

The invitation to the Formal Swearing In.
Brian Loventhal, City Manager, swearing in Don Perry and Lana Malloy.

Brian Loventhal, City Manager, swearing in Don Perry and Lana Malloy.

This city council meeting goes on record as the shortest meeting of all times for the City of Monte Sereno.

This city council meeting goes on record as the shortest meeting of all times for the City of Monte Sereno.