Natural Fit

Boston transplants find a San Rafael Eichler that satisfies all the items on their wish list.

RIGHT NEXT TO the front door of Taryn Forrelli and Mark Elliott’s San Rafael home, there’s a cutout in the covered outdoor entryway, which allows a soaring evergreen to shoot through. It’s a fitting welcome, as both Forrelli and Elliott work in the natural products industry and fell in love with the home, in part, because of its openness to the landscape. “Our lives are very much about being in touch with nature,” Forrelli says. In fact, that’s partly why they moved. The couple, who are both cyclists and hikers, were living in Boston with their two children when Forelli, a naturopathic physician by training, was offered a job at a vitamin company startup in San Francisco. “We were tired of the cold weather,” she says, “and it was time for a change.”

After facing the sticker shock of Marin home prices, though, they decided to rent for a while, living first in Corte Madera and then San Anselmo. When their second lease ended earlier this year, they decided to buy. On their wish list? An aesthetically interesting home that was move-in ready, in a good school district.

So they threw the kids in the car one Sunday and took a tour of open houses, including this renovated Eichler. When Forrelli walked in, she was struck by how tranquil it seemed. Her first thought: “This actually feels good.”

Their realtor, Debbie Bernier, thought so too. “I was really surprised to find an Eichler in this condition, on a flat lot, in the Dixie school district, in this price range,” she says.

Forrelli, who reads design magazines in her leisure time, found that the house, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and many sliding-glass doors, was a fitting backdrop for her style, a mix of midcentury modern, artistic and, of course, natural. In the living room, for example, beneath the classic Eichler beamed ceiling, she’s combined a gray Design Within Reach sectional couch with a “Dune” rug by Liora Manne (“It looked like sand to me,” Forrelli says) and vibrant cubist-style paintings by Douglas Theralson and Marlina Vera.

But her favorite room in the house is the master bedroom, which has glass doors and is anchored by a slatted palm-wood platform bed, above which Forrelli has hung a wonderfully simple piece of cream-and-black fabric. The windows have no curtains, so the couple wakes to a view of the hills. “I love this house’s feeling of peace and openness,” says Forrelli, “and the way it allows me to bring the elements of nature in.”

 

The Details

WHERE THEY PURCHASED The Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael
WHAT THEY BOUGHT A renovated, three-bedroom Eichler
LISTING AGENT For sale by owner
SELLING AGENT Debbie Bernier, Pacific Union and Christie’s International Real Estate
THE STATS Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $582–$741

Categories: Backstory