Willow Glen is a bustling whirlwind this time of year. Between decorations, ski gear, and holiday ephemera, “San Jose’s Local Treasure” ends up full of clutter and mess in the back rooms, closets, and garage spaces across the neighborhood. Old town charm takes a lot of “stuff” to pull off—especially when the holidays hit.
Every new year, we seem to get a barrage of clients coming to us saying that it’s their New Year’s resolution to finally clean out their garages. They’ve allowed their garages to be taken up with clutter until they’re practically useless even for car parking. These desperate organizers come in droves, seeking creative and efficient ways to get their storage under control.
Rainy season has officially come to the Bay Area. Powerful storms passing through the area have downed trees, caused power outages, whipped up strong winds, and pelted us with rain—and lots of it. Menlo Park alone has already received significant precipitation this year, which makes roads hazardous and can create nightmare-worthy driving.
Though you may have high hopes of getting yourself organized before the new year hits, it might be a good idea to hold off on any big projects that require the outdoors (unless you’re looking to fight our unpredictable weather). King tides are coming, and even though Menlo Park is protected by the Bay, we’re still in for quite a bit of flooding potential. Tackle your attic first, for instance, before you start moving your life’s collection of file folders and golf clubs out of the garage and into the path of the storm.
If you’re a long-time Bay Area hoops fan like me, you definitely know the name Steph Curry, the star point guard for our Golden State Warriors. But did you know that until May, Steph Curry owned a home in Orinda? Although he recently sold it for $4.65 million, he used to live in a Spanish-style hacienda rich with luxuries—including 4,700 square feet of interior space. But with the average listing price for a single family home in Orinda half of what Steph Curry’s house was worth, most folks in town don’t have the same kind of space.
There’s a cliche about being at the end of the line, but when it comes to the BART station in Fremont, that’s literally true. It’s where the lines that can bring you down from Richmond or across the Bay come to an end. Of course, this means it’s also a beginning, and new beginnings are all over the Fremont BART station. The new Warm Spring/South Fremont station is set to open in the fall of this year, and as someone who visits the area lot, I can tell you, it’s pretty beautiful. It might just revamp public transportation around here.
Apart from its historic downtown, excellent wineries, and booming economy, one of the best parts of living in Los Gatos (or the Bay Area in general) is how close you are to the great outdoors. Hiking and camping beckon, with Sanborn County Park 20 minutes away and Big Basin only a half-hour’s drive. If you’re a “weekend warrior” who enjoys leaving town to spend time with Mother Nature for a couple of days, it’s a great spot.
I was recently sitting in the spacious kitchen of a home in the Blackhawk community outside Danville with some clients. They live near the country club, so golf came up. The couple were excellent golfers, with very low handicaps, and their enthusiasm was contagious. They’d gotten each other new clubs last Christmas, and when I asked to see them, we went to the garage. That’s when the situation got complicated.
Palo Alto is a combination of spontaneous growth and rigid planning. In the post-war years, it was one of America’s most rapidly-blossoming suburbs, but it never grew too big, thanks to an active zoning board. It’s how the city has retained its charm. Part of that charm is a certain consistent style of architecture, a low-slung one-story home that is prominent in neighborhoods like Los Arboles. That’s why neighborhood groups have successfully petitioned the zoning board to limit homes to one story, so-called “Eichler-style” homes (after the architect), in the neighborhood. These are likely to be joined by Greer Park and Royal Manor in the Midtown area.
|Freeing up space for bikes and recreation with custom garage storage solutions turns what was previously a concrete slab and a parking space into your new favorite room.|
|Image source: Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets|
Palo Alto has amazing natural beauty, a booming economy, and one of the most educated populations in America. There is also a fair amount of traffic. The situation has gotten so severe that Palo Alto's CIO Jonathan Reichental is even pushing for Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology that helps drivers minimize parking time and optimize traffic flow by collecting data on local traffic patterns. This information, along with that already being collected by internet-enabled cars, can create a new data-based urban model.
But why not try the old-fashioned way to “go green” and beat traffic by hopping on your bike? In addition to IoT tech, Palo Alto is addressing the traffic problem by aggressively funding new bike paths that will offer an alternative to many popular commuter routes. As residents start to see a comprehensive network of new bike routes throughout Palo Alto, they can increasingly opt to skip the long commute for the appealing combination of a pleasant ride and a morning workout. Redesigning your garage with custom bike racks and retractable tool chests can facilitate biking. You’ll feel good about lowering your carbon footprint and skipping the gridlock when you're easily able to opt for biking. Once you free up space with an effective storage system, a beautiful garage becomes so much more than just a place to park.
Mark Olson is one of the Senior Designers at Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets. Mark has been with Valet since March 1999 and, along with experience that he gained prior to coming on board with us, has over 30 years experience in the home improvement industry. Over the years, he has “really had fun designing cabinetry for people with all sorts of garages filled with junk.” When Mark discovered a slow leak in his water heater, he finally had the chance to design his own custom garage! “My kitchen was the next home remodeling project my wife and I had in mind,” Mark said. “However, since the water heater needed replacing and the platform and sheetrock re-done, one thing led to another.”
So what does it look like when a designer gets to create his own garage? Let’s take a look!