KEVIN TOWNSEND, A single father of four, was living in a five-bedroom home in Novato when he realized he needed to make a change. “My youngest child, my son, was about to graduate from high school, and when I walked through the house, I heard echoes of footsteps all the time,” Townsend says. “I realized it was time to move on.”
Townsend, who writes and produces movies and television shows, wasn’t sure what he wanted. “But I knew I wanted a place that felt like an adult lived there and that had a view.”
When his realtor, Rose Capurro, showed him this three-bedroom Fairfax house, he walked in and fell hard. The home sits on a secluded two-acre lot and has endless views of the Fairfax hills (especially dramatic from the large window in the master bath). The home is also decidedly adult. Since it was built in 1996, only single men have owned it.
“It was funny,” says Capurro. “Kevin drives a Ferrari and of course we end up finding a house down a gravel road. But he’d always bought houses for his children and this was the first time he said, ‘I’m going to buy a house for me.’”
The house still teems with family life, though. Townsend has family photos everywhere and he’s placed a long, teak table in the center of his airy great room, where he, his kids and two grandchildren gather for dinner every Thursday night.
His living room, which has French doors leading out to a deck, shows more of a man’s touch. It’s anchored by a leather Restoration Hardware couch and chair, and in the corner there’s a six-foot-high replica of a rocket bearing the name of his company, Science + Fiction, on the front. The custom-built rocket holds a liquor cabinet and “it’s where I keep the really good stuff,” Townsend says.
He has not, however, found a lot of alone time. On the day he moved in, he came face- to- face with a mama mountain lion. Since then, he’s discovered that the property is a superhighway for deer, owls and turkey buzzards — which will happen when your backyard is a redwood grove.
The single dad has found much gentler company in Fairfax as well. Since moving, he’s fallen in love with longtime resident Michelle Stuart, and you can usually find a gluten-free cookbook on the counters of his white-tiled kitchen, to accommodate her. So no, it’s not been a life of solitude. But it’s been pretty sweet. And he’s got the gluten-free cookies to prove it.
WHERE HE PURCHASED The Bolinas Ridge neighborhood of Fairfax
WHAT HE BOUGHT A 2,000-squarefoot contemporary home
LISTING AGENT Eric Gelman, Bradley Real Estate
SELLING AGENT Rose Capurro, Bradley Real Estate
STATS Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $351–$638
Check out the gallery below for more photos.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “The Upside to Downsizing.”