September 5th, 2014
Even though Eichler homes are considered modern architecture, there is something distinct about them. From their open floor plan to their atrium, Joseph Eichler designed the ubiquitous California tract home of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The majority of true Eichler homes are in the Bay Area of Northern California and Orange County in Southern California.
There were quite a few knock-off’s as well. Steve Jobs believed he had grown up in an Eichler home, but it was actually created by a different builder.
Eichler Homes exteriors featured
Joseph Eichler wanted to “Bring the Outside In.” He designed the homes with skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with glass transoms looking out on protected, private outdoor rooms, patios, atriums, gardens, and swimming pools.
One interesting design feature to note is that most Eichler homes feature few, if any, street-facing windows. The ones that do have either small ceiling level windows or small rectangular windows with frosted glass.
You can see some of the original brochures scanned in here.
Eichler homes also offered radient heating through hot water pipes underneath the concrete flooring. It’s important to note that if you own an Eichler or similarly built home, at some point you will have to repair or replace the pipes which will involve tearing up the floor. Eichler homes were built on slab foundations, not pier and post.
The walls do not go completely up to the ceiling, so noise does travel. This is not a home for whispering secrets in.
If you buy an Eichler or similar architecture, have the roof checked thoroughly for any dry rot, or if it needs to be replaced.
If the Eichler has not been recently remodeled, there is probably very little insulation in the walls and in the ceiling. And there is no drywall. If an Eichler catches on fire, it probably will burn very quickly, so you will want to look into how to fireproof the home.
Many of the issues would be common from any tract home you bought that was built in the 50’s and 60’s. With Eichler, you need to pay attention most to the roof and the radient heating. And treat yourself by having the windows professionally cleaned a few times a year.
Do you own an Eichler or similar home? What’s your favorite part about it?