Post-tension slab foundations are found in newer homes. Here in the Bay Area, a structure’s foundation needs to withstand not only the load of the building, but expansive soils, and the ubiquitous earthquake. Certain foundations are better at handling these conditions, and are seen more frequently here. One of these which is gaining popularity in new construction is the post-tension slab foundation.
What is a Post Tension Foundation?
Post-tensioning is a technique that was developed and first put to regular use in the 1970s, and approved methods have been published by the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI), a nonprofit organization, since 1976. Sometimes called post tensioning, or simply PT, this is a type of slab foundation with added reinforcement.
In essence, a slab foundation, aka a slab on grade foundation, is a concrete base only a few inches deep, sitting directly on earth. You might see this for a small shed or playhouse, but larger structures are almost always reinforced, usually with rebar, and a fabric water barrier is lain out before the concrete is poured.
A post-tension slab is reinforced with grids of steel cables cased in plastic sheathes instead of rebar. After the concrete has hardened around them, the cables are pulled taut with hydraulic stressing jacks. This pre-stressing of the concrete creates added compressive strength to the foundation.
Willow Glen is one of the most charming areas of San Jose, consisting of many older homes which feature lovely, classic architecture. Most Silicon Valley home buyers treasure the Willow Glen charm and ambiance, but many are seeking newer homes. A fabulous option is “The Willows“.
KB Homes built “The Willows” in 1999 to 2000. It is tucked away at the southernmost tip of Willow Glen, off of Foxworthy Avenue & close to Almaden Expressway, but only about 2.5 to 3 miles from all the action on Lincoln Avenue.
The tree-lined streets are built in something of a loop shape with Rubino Circle being the main access or loop road. Situated on the inner part of the loop are homes with smaller lots that are a little more affordable. The outer part of the circle is built with slightly larger homes on larger lots (but none of the lots are “big”). Sidewalks with soft curbs at the corners accompany the streets and make for a pedestrian-friendly, bike, wheelchair or stroller friendly area. Visit in the early evenings and you will see children and adults walking, strolling, taking dogs for a walk etc. – always a good sign! Because the neighborhood is a bit like an oversized cul-de-sac (no through traffic), it is very quiet in terms of traffic. The area has large street lights, too, making for a safe feeling community.
The Almaden Winery neighborhood, just off Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, has a rich and interesting past, dating back to the mid 1850s when the site was first planted with grape vines. It was the first winery in Almaden Valley and one of the oldest in the state of California. (It survived the prohibition period by getting licensed to make sacramental wine and by bottling grape juice.)
In this post I’ll share some photos of the neighborhood with you, explain about the three different builders/developers and show you where to find each one.
Looking for a younger Cambrian home with not too much yard work to do? The Soterion neighborhood may be just the ticket! This is one of my favorite little pockets in San Jose, 95124. The homes are light and bright inside, it’s close to shopping, commute routes, and great schools, and since the parcels are on the smaller side, many consider them lower in maintenance.
Soterion neighborhood in Cambrian area of San Jose
Where is Soterion located?
The Soterion community sits close to the intersection of Camden Avenue and Highway 85, with a Park and Ride just around the corner, making this an easy commute location for many. The streets are Soterion Drive, Agape Court, Chara Court, and Phileo Court. (They are all private roads.) There is a large Safeway as well as some restaurants and other shops about a half mile away or so at Branham and Ross. If you take a tech bus to work, the nearby Park & Ride may be super convenient for you.
Map of the Soterion community in Cambrian area of San Jose
What are the homes like in Soterion?
These 20 houses were built in 1996 and feature a nicely open living space downstairs and good sized bedrooms upstairs. Because they are on the young side, these houses were designed with a lot of windows and upstairs there are vaulted ceilings (and they are also after the cutoff of 1978 for lead based paint and asbestos). There’s no front yard to speak of, but the back is larger than you’d find in most townhouses, but smaller than on a more standard San Jose 6,000 SF lot. (more…)
Many newcomers to the San Jose & Silicon Valley areas want to buy new homes (or newer ones). Santa Clara County, though, had a big “building boom” after World War II ranging from the 1940s through the 70s. At the end of the building frenzy, most of the land was taken. More importantly, most of the really good land was built up.
How old is the “average” San Jose home for sale? Probably about 45 – 50 years old, on average. Depending on where you’re looking, precisely, the homes could be younger or older on average.
There are some nice communities of new and younger homes in Silicon Valley, but there aren’t a lot of them. Most of the new home communities have houses on small lots. Some are near high voltage power lines (homes on Taft in San Jose’s Cambrian Park area) or next to freeways (Summerhill development off Samaritan Drive in San Jose).
Situated on a small knoll in the prestigious Los Altos Country Club neighborhood, the home at 1557 Plateau Drive features many of the most highly regarded elements which make a house a luxury property and a joy to see.
The Los Altos Country Club Neighborhood
The Country Club area of Los Altos is highly sought after for many reasons, including its scenic green views, proximity to the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, gently rolling hills, a semi-rural, quiet, understated and private ambiance, easy access to major roads and highway 280 – and, of course, fabulous Los Altos schools. Additionally, some locations enjoy fabulous views of the golf course or the bay, too.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of selling an estate home on Hillview Avenue, which is just a stone’s throw from the lovely house for sale on Plateau in the Country Club neighborhood. I got to know the area and came to appreciate why it has such a strong and enduring appeal to Silicon Valley home buyers. It’s not a region with a high turnover – instead, people move there and stay put. The area is hard to beat!
Younger, Elegant Mediterranean View Home
The Country Club area was first developed decades ago, so many of the houses in this area are fairly old (mid century and later ranch style houses are not uncommon). Slowly, homes are being either extensively remodeled or rebuilt and a few are less than 20 years old.
The property at 1557 Plateau Avenue is younger, just 18 years old, constructed by a builder who was making it for himself and his family. As you might imagine, the owner-builder utilized the land to make best use of the view opportunity. He also created it with many extra features & finishing touches which distinguish a quality, custom home from tract housing.
What about the views? This Mediterranean style house enjoys panoramic views of the peninsula and eastern foothills. On a clear day, you can see the bay and the bridge too!
The floorplan is flexible. There is a 2 car garage at street level, but a third which is accessed from the rear of the property – ideal for RVs, boats, and extra cars or vehicles. The 3rd garage can be used as built, or as a rec room, extra storage, or a number of other options.
Please see the MLS information on this elegant home below! Open house Sat June 25 and Sun June 26, 2011. (more…)
If you are looking for a new or newer home in Cambrian Park or Almaden Valley, look no furter! This exquisite house features an amazing kitchen at the heart of the home. It has been updated with slab granite, stainless steel dishwasher & fridge, gas range, a sunny garden window & recessed lights. It’s open to the breakfast nook and family room on one side and adjacent to the dining & living areas on the other.
You’ll love the open floorplan and the fact that there’s 1 bed and one bath downstairs. More wonderful plusses: inside laundry, AC, dual pane windows. Big master suite offers a walk in closet, soaking tub, separeate shower, big vanity and dual sinks.
Fabulous younger home in the Almaden Winery neighborhood!
Four bedrooms, three bathrooms (one bed/bath downstairs)
Living room features high ceilings, hardwood floors and elegant fireplace & is open to formal dining area
Many Silicon Valley home buyers prefer to purchase a brand new home, or at least a younger one. (Through my web tools, I that see a lot of people search online for “New San Jose Homes” or “New Los Gatos Houses for sale” or “new construction in Silicon Valley”.)
Often this is partly because real estate consumers believe that a more contemporary home will be better structurally and have nicer amenities – those are often true. (New home construction may include better materials, a more open floor plan, walk in closets and other features that are not so commonly found in resale properties.)
Just as frequently, though, a priority for these home buyers is that they expect that a new home will require little or no maintenance. Further, some buyers are so confident in the perfection of a new home that they decline the chance to have the new home professionally and independently inspected.
Finally, some consumers are so blinded by the love of new (or remodeled) housing that they aren’t very selective and sometimes view all contractors or builders as equal.
All of these are mistakes and today I want to discuss each one. (more…)
Welcome to the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog
Mary Pope-Handy and Clair Handy
Hi, I’m Mary Pope-Handy, the originator of this blog and a Silicon Valley Realtor with Sereno in the Los Gatos office. I help nice folks to buy & sell homes in Silicon Valley, mostly in Santa Clara County, since 1993.
In 2021, my daughter and long term assistant, Clair Handy, got licensed and became a Realtor. We both contribute to the research and many articles on this blog. More info on Clair will be forthcoming!
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Real Estate 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 408 204-7673 Mary (at) PopeHandy.com License# 01153805
Clair Handy, Realtor
Sereno Real Estate 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 ClairHandy@sereno.com License# 02153633
Mary & Clair sell homes throughout Silicon Valley: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County. with a special focus on: San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park.
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