Last December I had a rare opportunity to meet Bay Area icon, architect Donald L. Hardison. Mr. Hardison, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1966, designed many commercial spaces in the East Bay as well as a handful of residential properties. Lucky for my clients, Susan and Greg, his work included a fabulous mid-century modern home in the El Cerrito hills that they were fortunate enough to score. After house hunting for 3 years, looking specifically for mid-century modern properties they stumbled upon this "it" house. Sure that it would be snatched up instantly with multiple offers; and uninterested in the emotional roller coaster of a bidding war they did not pounce on the property. After a few weeks on the market they called me, and the rest is history. To their surprise and due to the timing of the market, (It was late November) they were able to get this fine home without competition. The icing on the cake was discovering that the architect was still living and residing only a few blocks away. Our final walk through had a special guest appearance by none other than Donald and (his wife) Betty Hardison. They were gracious and warm and gave Susan and Greg all of the details about the neighborhood, the original family who hired him, and the construction of the house. Priceless!
Richard was raised in Nebraska and Madeline grew up in Massachusetts. As fate would have it Richard and Madeline met on a blind date in Egypt. Madeline worked for the State Department and Richard for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. They fell in love, moved to Beirut, Lebanon and started their family. The Minards, now a family of 5 were ready to move back to the US and raise Steve, Kathy and John. Out of all of the places on this continent, they chose a premium lot in El Cerrito, California. With no family in the area, they moved to 1764 Julian Court in 1962, planted roots and had a wonderful life.
Richard worked as an engineer for a non-profit and Madeline was in the PTA, was a Brownie troop leader and loved to golf at the nearby Mira Vista Country Club. The Minards 1/2 acre lot produced gorgeous blooms and supreme vegetables, that the family happily shared with all of the Julian Court neighbors. Madeline used the harvest from their garden to cook her favorites: Tabbouleh, Tomato Chicken Curry and almost anything from her beloved Julia Child cookbook. Steve, Kathy and John loved roaming the back yard, digging forts, finding lizards and tunneling through the tall soft grass right before it was cut.
The Minards could have lived anywhere in the world, but they chose this fine piece of land high on an El Cerrito hill.