THERE ARE A number of reasons Kelly and Jason Eyler moved from their cramped Victorian in Noe Valley to a home in San Anselmo, but three stand out: their names are Silas, Eben and Maxwell, three boys whose energy levels hover just below those of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. These boys needed a place to go outside and play.
The Victorian worked well when the Eylers had just two boys. It was when Maxwell came along that Kelly, a teacher, and Jason, a tech expert, suddenly found they needed yard space. But they hated to give up city living — especially the opportunity to walk everywhere — so they set their sights on pedestrian-friendly San Anselmo.
Inventory was low when they were looking, though, and they were about to bid on a home without the walkability they desired when a Seminary-area cottage appeared on the MLS. “We were working on the other offer until 10 p.m., and this appeared at 8.” says their realtor, Nick Svenson. “We were there by 9 a.m. the next day.”
The minute Kelly saw the original wood-paned windows that frame the upper floor, she was smitten. She knew she wanted an older home and, “when I walked up the stairs and looked out and saw the views and the old oak tree, I knew this was it,” she says. “It was really calming.”
The home’s lower floor paled in comparison. It was dark and dank, so when the Eylers moved in they set to work reconfiguring it into a light-filled paradise for boys that now features a playroom and two bedrooms, one with four built-in bunks, another with a small “Lego cave.” They also converted much of the small, sloped yard into flat places to play and hung a rope swing from a tree.
The home’s full charm is apparent on the upper floor. Sun streams through wood-framed and original stained-glass windows, and Kelly has decorated the house with old-school junkyard finds, like a projector cart as a side table and a mid-century child’s desk. A West Elm reclaimed-wood table sits in the eating alcove, and the crisp white kitchen features a beadboard cabinet, a rustic cypress breakfast bar and a 1950s Wedgewood stove. Only Betty Crocker is missing.
Above the sunny great room, stairs lead to a loft with another original stained-glass window, two comfy chairs from J.Grigg, and a big television. “This is like my and Jason’s little retreat,” says Kelly. “When the kids go down, we sit here and watch a movie.” That is, if, after a day of chasing three energetic young boys, they can actually stay awake.
WHERE THEY PURCHASED The Seminary neighborhood of San Anselmo
WHAT THEY BOUGHT A renovated 1922 cottage
LISTING AGENT Kerry Berry, formerly of Coldwell Banker
SELLING AGENT Nick Svenson, Alain Pinel Realtors
STATS Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $600–$800
View the gallery below for more photos of the Eylers home.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “The Long View”.