Recreating a classic is never an easy job, especially if it’s something as iconic as an Eichler home. But when a young couple bought a burnt down Eichler house in San Mateo, they wanted to make sure that the rebuilt structure was just as spectacular as the original. For this, they enlisted the expertise of Klopf Architecture. Let’s take a closer look at how they got on.
The neighborhood of San Mateo Highlands has over 650 Eichler homes, making it Eichler’s largest development. The area is quite popular among Eichler owners and enthusiasts, which meant that the design aesthetics of the new structure had to be in sync with the other houses in the neighborhood. It was important to both the designers and the homeowners to blend in stylistically with the other Eichlers. However, this was also an opportunity to create a home that was both Eichler inspired and suitable for 21st century living.
The homeowners had the opportunity to customize their home in more ways than the original structure would have allowed. They clearly stated their requirements for a multi-generational living space and bigger rooms. The couple often has extended family visiting them, so they needed a space that allowed the family to gather around and spend time together. At the same time, it was also important to build enough private areas for each member of the family to have some alone time. To achieve this, the house was designed around the idea of openness and a smooth flow between different parts of the house.
On the outside, the design mimics an Eichler home with a horizontal facade and gray vertical sidings. The bright orange door stands as a reminder of iconic mid-century modern design aesthetics. However, this wasn’t easy to achieve. After designing the exterior and with the work already underway, the designers noticed that the front looked too high. This would clearly stand out at street level once completed. Since the idea was to blend into the neighborhood, John Klopf and his team immediately redesigned the structure. They even compensated the framing company to re-build it; making sure the end result was as promised to the homeowners.
Design and Functionality
Inside, the home boasts a fresh approach to design and functionality. The original square-shaped structure was not an ideal choice for this plot. The designers felt they could achieve more by redesigning it completely, and thus came up with an L-shaped design that embraced the inside-out concept more cohesively. A breezeway separates the main part of the house and guest bedroom, aiding privacy for guests and the homeowners.
A large glass wall separates and connects the indoors with the inner courtyard and pool. The owners loved this concept and now enjoy the gorgeous views of their carefully landscaped garden area from the house. Since they often have friends and family over, this design fits perfectly with their lifestyle. The couple wanted to move into their new home before Thanksgiving, and the designers made sure that the timeline was respected.
Even though the design emulates mid-century modern design and the Eichler vernacular, it is much more functional and modern. The ceilings are higher and the red cedar decking conceals all the beams, as well as the lighting cavity, wiring, and insulation. The way this cedar extends to the outside adds to the inside-out feeling of the house. The continuity in the flooring also helps blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, making for a more connected living experience throughout the house.
The Eichler Aesthetic
The rooms are bigger and brighter than in traditional Eichler homes, as the homeowners had requested. The furniture and minimal decor, however, gives them the throwback feel of original Eichler homes. This house beautifully takes inspiration from the iconic Eichler designs but has its own personality. The variations created to accommodate the owners’ requirements and to update this home for contemporary modern living sets it apart.
The bathrooms in this home are also more generous in size than original Eichler homes. This makes them more functional for the current style and requirements. The color palette, however, remains similar to the mid-century modern designs.
The Great Outdoors
The outdoor areas have been carefully designed to enable the owners to enjoy their home to the maximum. An outdoor barbecue area, for instance, also has a bracket for a TV – perfect for a summer afternoon catching up with the sports. A fire pit and an outdoor dining area completes the courtyard and makes it a perfect space for the owners to entertain.
This stunning home is just as modern as it is etched back in time. Overall, it’s a beautiful tribute to the Eichler homes that still leave us in awe, and inspire the homes we build today.