Joseph Eichler was an American real estate developer who introduced modern architecture to the public housing sector. He built 11,000 tract houses, mainly in California, from 1940s – 60s. The idea was to bring the kind of modern design found at designer homes and commercial buildings, to a more affordable level that was available to general public. Eichler’s style was iconic and inspirational; while the owners of the original Eichler homes still remain a tight knit community who admire and understand the modernist designs.
Eichler homes are known for clarity and honesty in design and construction. Their uniqueness lies in the clear physical as well as visual connection to the outdoors. These mid-century modern homes are considered relevant in design till date and their principles are still followed in modern day architecture. However, half a century later, these homes are in need of remodeling and renovation.
This house in Sunnyvale, California underwent modification to accommodate the requirements of its new owners, a couple expecting their second child. They had lived in mid-century modern homes before, so were excited about owning and remodeling an Eichler. Their requirements were mainly regarding upgrading the infrastructure for their family needs, and wanted the living area to be one big open and central part of the house. The couple loves the simplicity and openness of Eichler homes, and wanted to maintain those aesthetics while making it work for them.
Klopf Architecture has been associated with remodeling close to a hundred Eichler homes. Their vast experience means that they are the first choice for Eichler owners looking to remodel. For this particular house project, they collaborated with Growsgreen Landscape Design, and Flegel’s Construction to bring this mid-century home to 21st century standards.
According to the designers at Klopf, the beauty of these homes lies in the harmonization of the exterior and interior and the fact that there are no hidden spaces in the building. Geoff Campen of Klopf Architecture explains that the most challenging part of upgrading any Eichler home is bringing it up to current standards in terms of insulation, codes and energy. Another challenge is to create private spaces while maintaining the openness.
The entrance to the house opens into a small courtyard, which is typical to many Eichler homes. The colorful decor is a striking contrast to the gray walls. You can already notice a flow in the design across the house. Every part is easily accessible, while providing privacy where required. The courtyard leads to the living area on the left and kids’ playroom on the right. With young children, it’s important that parents can keep an eye on the kids while being busy with other things around the house. This home enables that very well.
The color scheme is apparent, with colorful furniture, paintings and kitchen compartments. These Mondrian colors add brightness to the space, while also making it a homogeneous style across the house. Yellow, orange and green dominate the plain walls and flooring.
All the doors and wood furnishings were replaced, but esthetically the Eichler look and feel was maintained. The floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors create continuity between the inside and out, and if wisely furnished can act as additional rooms for the house.
The master bedroom was moved to a new block, which provided extra space in the main area for a study and powder room. Colors run through this room in beautiful printed bedcovers and the Eichler inspired quilt that decorates the wall.
The high quality tiles make the floor plush while maintaining the unfinished-concrete-slab look of mid-century design. Everything has been upgraded with the original style in mind.
The kids’ room has been painted with bright green and yellow, and accessorized with colorful wall hangings and books. Just how a kids’ room should be. I love the colorful circles on the carpet that you can match with almost every other color in the room.
The long, thin tiles are reminiscent of that mid-century look. They add brightness and continue the color palette spread across the house.
The harmonious blend of interior and exterior spaces that blur the outline of inside and out, make it an interesting home for both the kids and their parents.
The couple was involved at every step of the remodeling project and are pleased with the results. Their personal sense of design and style is a perfect match to the Eichler. They are happy with the open and active atmosphere around the house, and are enjoying their new home with the latest edition to the family.
Project Name: Sunnyvale Eichler Remodel
Design House: Klopf Architecture
Photos: Mariko Reed