“It’s very boat-like, how overthought it is in its compactness.” Peter Pfau, architect

Mill Valley, California, is not the town that time forgot—although it can sometimes feel like a modern-day Middle-earth. Folksy and friendly, the wooded enclave 14 miles north of San Francisco is traversed by a creek and a multitude of hiking trails, and its houses are dwarfed by redwoods— which in turn are dwarfed by Mount Tamalpais, whose peaks are visible one moment and shrouded in swirling, glowing mists the next.

Over the decades, Mill Valley has retained its laid-back

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