Before & After: An Architect Couple Expand a Coveted Eichler For a Growing Family
Architect Megan Blaine and her husband had their hearts set on buying a charming, 1,449-square-foot Eichler home in California’s South Bay, but another couple’s offer on the circa-1953 abode won the bidding war instead. Across the street, the Blaines found solace in a different Eichler.
"After we moved in, we begrudgingly went over to introduce ourselves, and found out we were not only the same age, we were both expecting our first kids around the same time," remembers Blaine, founder and CEO of the locally-based, husband-and-wife-helmed BLAINE Architects. "They became our good friends, and when the time came for them to have their second baby, they called us to see if we would help them redesign their home to work for a bigger family. It’s always good to have an architect who is already in love with your house."
Before: The Entry
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After: The Entry
Smitten with the Jones and Emmons-built Eichler, Blaine, in collaboration with Silicon Valley interior designer Pamela Lin-Tam of Urbanism Designs, spent nearly two years rehabbing it, adding square footage and improving flow by converting the signature Eichler carport into an atrium, playroom, office, and second bathroom. The kitchen was also significantly upgraded.
Before: The Kitchen
After: The Kitchen and Living Room
Before: The Carport
After: The Carport
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"Eichlers are beautiful because they’re honest. You see the structure, you see the roof deck, everything is exposed because there are no attics above or crawlspaces below," says Blaine. "So that’s how we approached the design from start to finish: How can we make this building beautiful and honest?"
One way was, per the couple's wishes, by forgoing traditional gray and painting the exterior "international orange," a calming color inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge. Another was sprucing up the kitchen with avocado green and sky blue laminate accents that mix with walnut laminated plywood, back painted glass, and stainless steel.
Cutting a sizable hole in the roof spawned the light-filled atrium, the centerpiece of the now 1,825-square-foot house. Honoring the fixed glass walls original to Eichler homes, Blaine specified an energy-efficient, four-panel folding glass NanaWall system that stacks to the side when open so that while children play, the parents, in full sight of their little ones, cook and entertain in the kitchen.
Before: Dining Area
After: Dining Area
It's exactly what the social couple—who incorporated another, larger NanaWall folding glass wall system at the back of the kitchen to create an indoor/outdoor dining space—wanted. "Any parent will tell you it’s hard to keep kids in a playroom with guests over. They want to be part of the action. But if you think about a traditional playroom, it’s usually in a boring extra bedroom, or tucked away in a dark basement. Who wants to hang out there?" says Blaine. "Give kids the coolest space in the house, and of course they’re going to want to stay."
Builder/General Contractor: Hanaray Construction / Peter Hanaray
Structural Engineer: KFSE (Kurt Fischer Structural Engineering)
Interior Design: Urbanism Designs/Pamela Lin-Tam
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Kerf Design/Shara Lee
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