23 Renovated Eichlers That Epitomize Midcentury California Cool

From 1949 to 1966, Joseph Eichler collaborated with renowned architects to build some 11,000 of his trademark tract houses across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
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These midcentury-modern residences, inspired in part by the Frank Lloyd Wright house Eichler grew up in, were affordable and coveted by the booming post–World War II middle class. Featuring post-and-beam construction, Eichler houses were graced by an abundance of exposed wood and open spaces that emphasized a connection to the outdoors. Streamlined, well-preserved Eichlers are still beloved by the design community and history-appreciative homeowners—and some push boundaries, balancing original elements with imaginative revamped layouts.

Here, we’ve gathered a selection of spruced-up Eichler homes from the Dwell.com archives. These renovations reflect a contemporary, active lifestyle, while staying true to Eichler’s original vision. Let us know in the comments which of these projects compels you most.

1. A Tree Grows Right Through the Roof of This Radically Updated Eichler

In Sunnyvale, California, architect Ryan Leidner remodeled this 2,000-square-foot 1962 Eichler originally designed by A. Quincy Jones. Taking center stage is the lush atrium with landscaping by Stephens Design Studio. The space features a crape myrtle tree dating back to the original construction and a duo of Japanese maples that are visible through floor-to-ceiling windows and sliders by Fleetwood.

Maverick Design invigorated the facade of this 1962 Eichler in Orange, California, with vibrant orange Flaming Torch paint from Behr and attractive landscaping, which also plays a prominent role in the atrium.

Inspired by the John Lautner–designed Sheats Goldstein House in L.A., the designer couple who overhauled this 1965 Eichler double A-frame settled on concrete flooring that juxtaposes nicely with the white walls and pops of green and yellow.

Interior designer Brett Foken knocked down the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room in this 1965 Eichler to create one big, open space that seamlessly flows—and provide natural light throughout. 

Once a tight, jumbled cube, the kitchen of this 1959 Eichler rehabbed by architect Mona Ying Reeves now stars a quartzite-covered island that separates it from the dining room. Other inviting touches include Fireclay glazed brick floor tile, custom lacquer-finished red cabinets, and a glass wall looking out on the backyard.

Some 100 guests can comfortably convene in this Eichler updated by Maydan Architects. It features a massive skylight and an open living area with a Restoration Hardware coffee table, Crate and Barrel carpeting, a CB2 pouf, and BoConcept couches.

Built in 1966 in San Rafael, California, this Eichler designed by Claude Oakland showcases the homeowners’ carefully amassed furniture collection. In the living room, for instance, a travertine-topped coffee table by Paul McCobb pairs well with a Florence Knoll Parallel Bar System sofa and an original Josef Albers print scored on eBay that hangs above the fireplace.

For Urbanism Design’s first project, interior designer Pamela Lin-Tam made the atrium the centerpiece of this Eichler. Here, the living area faces the enticing swimming pool.

This 1970s home’s kitchen, living, and dining areas were originally divided into three distinct zones. To make the living area flow as one, Klopf Architecture removed the glass doors and solid walls separating the enclosed atrium from the kitchen and living room. A Herman Miller trade poster, Design Within Reach book tower, and IKEA sofa mingle in the space.

Michael Hennessey Architecture paid homage to Eichler’s affinity for open spaces by reconfiguring this home’s living area on the upper floor and moving the kitchen to seamlessly connect the rooms.

In the South Bay, BLAINE Architects expanded this Eichler by transforming its old carport into an atrium. A folding glass NanaWall system allows the owners to watch their kids in the playroom from the kitchen.

The once dim, cramped kitchen in this 1963 Eichler now features luxe vinyl tiling, white slab fronts from Semihandmade, and a dual-pane window, courtesy of Cathie Hong Interiors.

Joanne Encarnacion's office is located in the atrium, on the opposite side of her husband’s, in this double A-frame Eichler renovated by Mackenzie Collier Interiors. Graphic bursts of black and white are complemented by greenery and positive affirmations.

Klopf Architecture updated this Eichler with a radiant floor heating system, restained paneling, and a new office/guest room filled with Eichler hallmarks like dark-bronze door handles.

Klopf Architecture's modest 72-square-foot addition at the front of the home blends in with the original structure while giving the owners a greater sense of openness in the master and hall bathrooms. Inside, the reimagined living room now features dining space.

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Some of this Eichler’s original features remain, such as the tongue-and-groove redwood ceiling and the luan wall paneling (which has been restained). In the kitchen, walnut is juxtaposed with crisp white, and the light blue found in the dining area serves as a unifying accent color.

To blur the line between indoors and outdoors, Klopf Architecture integrated glass doors that separate the living area from the patio.

Originally designed by the architectural dream team of A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons, this Eichler sports a new kitchen. One highlight is the island, which the design team crafted in the owners’ own backyard. It’s outfitted with bespoke walnut cabinetry by Semihandmade for IKEA. 

Building Lab connected this home’s patio to the living and bedroom areas just beyond the striking wall of windows. The copious glazing is balanced with a sense of privacy thanks to a slatted five-foot-high Eichler Breckenridge Thinline fence.

This circa-1958 Eichler in Silicon Valley makes a mesmerizing first impression with its combination of ipe wood and neon-yellow resin. A garden, courtesy of landscape designer Bernard Trainor, fosters the illusion of more space.

Klopf Architecture, Arterra Landscape Architects, and Flegels Construction joined forces to refurbish this Palo Alto Eichler. Standout features include a fully opening glass wall, an outdoor living area with a kitchen and fire pit, and furniture by Kayu and Primary Pouf. 

The living, dining, and kitchen areas flow together in one soaring space. Here, Serrao Design/Architecture placed new, polished concrete slabs over the original ones to alleviate unsightly cracks.

Klopf Architecture wrapped this double gable Eichler from the 1960s in vertical western red cedar because it has a low-VOC stain and it matches the color of the original siding, which was sadly in such bad shape it couldn't be salvaged for the revamp.


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