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Their New Home: 1971

Their New Home: 1971

A Kodachrome moment in November 1971, shortly after my sister and her family, newly transplanted from Diamond Bar in Southern California, moved into their new home in the Bahia section of Novato. I'm not quite sure how you'd describe the architectural style, but that was it in Bahia. Here I've captured my brother-in-law getting gardening advice from my father, who's hauled us up from Larkspur in our 1966 Rambler Classic wagon. The other vehicle I'm sure needs no introduction. My nephew Dave, age six, strolls out into the cul-de-sac. Antennas at the left are for San Francisco radio station KCBS. View full size.

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Sweet! Oh, how I miss it. Nice job.

I walk my dogs there!

Those towers are still there!

I grew up right down the street from here!

Cool photo. Now I'll have to go dig up some of our house in Bahia when my parents bought it new back in 1972. I like how there's absolutely no landscaping whatsoever.

The Story of Bahia (Novato)

Bahia History
Bahia was a "water oriented" community. It had a deep lagoon and a channel which was dredged to the Petaluma River. The original homes were designed to resemble a New England Village, with the weathered gray siding and the white framed windows. It was quite a paradise for the kids growing up there in the late 60s through the 80s. People whose houses were on the water had docks, and kept their sail or motor boats docked right at their home. Those of us who lived off water also had boats and docked them with neighbors who had extra space their dock, or they were hauled out and kept out of sight in a side yard. There was lots of open space in the oak studded hills, and the kids could climb trees, build tree forts, slide down the hills on cardboard. They could swim or fish in the lagoon, learn to sail or water ski with friends who had ski boats. Alas, the planning for this community was not well thought out. The channel and lagoon were downstream from the river and had no natural water flow towards the river, so it silted up quite badly. Dredging became more and more expensive, and the home owners had trouble affording the repeated dredging projects. More development was proposed and consideration was given to putting in a lock, to prevent the silt build up. But no one could agree with what should be done. Meanwhile new environmental regulations came into being, regarding contaminants in the spoils from dredging, and controlling where the spoils could be deposited. This became an even more expensive proposition. Lawsuits were filed, neighbors were against neighbors, and meanwhile the lagoon was silting up. People had to take out their boats, their docks became useless, except as a deck.

Today the main lagoon is a salt marsh, and the people who live there can enjoy the marsh wildlife. Much of the surrounding property was bought up for Marin County Open Space, so there are still hills to hike in, and wildflowers and nature to enjoy. No more tree forts or cardboard sliding though.

Below is a quote regarding the present day Bahia Neighborhood.
"Geography - Neighborhoods

About Bahia
The community of Bahia is located in Novato on the East side of hwy 101 exiting Atherton. Bahia consists of 288 homes built in 4 stages during the 1960s and 1970s. The community is located in northeast Novato, close to the Petaluma river. Residents of the Bahia enjoy a clubhouse, pool, and two tennis courts. A deep water lagoon on the eastern side of the neighborhood provides birdwatching for local residents. Rush Creek and Novato Open Space Preserves), containing the only known occurrence of a blue oak woodland salt marsh ecotone in California, borders the community. This Open Space area offers multi-use trails for hiking, biking, equestrian riding, dog walking, wildlife and bird watching. Bahia is a nature lover's paradise!"

Oh, and Bahia is on Facebook:
I grew up in Bahia (in Novato - not San Rafael!)

Dutch Meets Valley Girl in, "Oh my Gawd! It's, like, weird!"

Ex Novatoan

I lived in Novato at the time, moving to Petaluma in October 1971.

Bahia was new in 1971. My brother and I drove though it a couple of times. The KCBS towers were near the old Midway Drive-In, which closed about 20 years ago. The towers disappeared within the past five or so.

More, more, please.

I like it! I want to see inside this house. I'm hoping to find a reproduction churn and spinning wheel. This modest little barn-style house in California is certainly preferable to the bloated Mediterranean McMansions that blight the landscape here in the desert Southwest. Just saying.

EmmaH from the Edge of Texas

I think I found it

Is it 2705 Tiki Road? Looking at the various map sites, I figured that the house faces either south or southwest, putting the KCBS transmitter behind it. The house at 2705 Tiki has the right layout, and faces southwest. One of the real estate sites estimates its value at $518,000, and says it is 1,472 square feet, built in 1971. There's no Google Street View, but here it is in Bing Maps Bird's Eye View.

[Perhaps, much later tonight or very early tomorrow, someone could drive by with a camera and bang on the windows. Don't forget to ask for a phone number! - Dave]

(Addendum from the Shorpy Worldwide Interactive legal team: DO NOT drive by. DO NOT bang on windows.)

When styles collide.

Dutch Colonial meets California Ranch. Ugh.

Probably deck material

As a SoCal carpenter of that era, I can remember putting up a lot of siding houses with what we called T-111, the name of the 5/8ths thick plywood with the grooves you see here. There were several other wood exteriors like shingles, board and batt, tongue and groove, lapped siding, but the most prevalent was the T-111 since it was the most cost effective in terms of material and labor.

And for the bundled redwood dropped just off the driveway, it is more likely intended for a narrow deck, given the long 2x material for the decking and rail cap. While the 2x2s in the center were typically used for the deck railing stiles. If it were for fencing, you'd see a lot of 1x in there. Just guessing though.

Bahia style

There were variations in the Bahia roof configurations, some flat at the very top, and there was at least one conventionally-eaved, but the whole development had a unified style:

Close the door

My parents often reminded my brothers and me to close the door, as we were not "living in a barn."

Were you born in a barn?

No, but I grew up in one!

Door open

I see that garage door left open and can only hear my dad yelling, "Who left the garage door open? What? Were you raised in a barn?!"

38 years ago

This was the month I was born. Neat!


There's the redwood fence awaiting construction on the "lawn."

Danger! Flammable!

With the wood panel siding and the wood shingle roof, it's like a giant match head, just waiting for an ember from a wildfire to light it. As for architectural styles, to the left and behind this house there appears to be a square, flat-roofed house, another early '70s style.

I'd sure like to see this address in Google Street View, to see if this house still stands.

And out back

Did they they keep the riding mower in a garden shed that was a quarter-scale replica of a split-level ranch?

Paging Dr. Lileks

To the Shorpy ICU, stat!

The Autumn of '71

There are Thanksgiving Pilgrims, an Indian and a ship in the windows. My mom would decorate the windows for the holidays (often with our help) when I was a kid in the 60s. There were stencil kits, "frost" spray, and these cardboard cutouts.

I'd call it

A barn. Or two barns. Not to everyone's taste I suppose, but it was the 70s.

Dutch treat

We had a house a lot like this in Florida. Gambrel roof and kind of a Dutch dairy-cow motif inside. I guess you could call it cheesy!


Amazing. The gambrel roofs on both the house and garage are more reminiscent of an Amish hay barn than a Marin County tract home.

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