7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California

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By Byron Loker / Published by Dwell
Jospeh Eichler's post-World War II tract homes have had an astounding impact on modern architecture as we know it today.

Scattered throughout California, these midcentury-modern structures were designed to be affordable homes that would allow the residents to live an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Though many of them have stood the test of time surprisingly well—considering the low-cost materials Eichler's architects used—many homeowners have chosen to renovate them while preserving as much of the original Eichler characteristics as possible. Of course, this is done differently by everyone—and it's a preservation topic that many design enthusiasts and architects feel passionate about.

Here, we've rounded up a selection of homes we've featured in the past that have been renovated to fit the lifestyle of the new homeowners. In the comments, let us know what you think about this topic and which project resonates the most with you.


1. Klopf Architecture's Renovation in Burlingame

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 1 of 8 - Here, the relationship between indoors and outdoors is on full display. The architects aimed to create a smooth transition between the two areas by incorporating glass doors that don’t obstruct any views.

Here, the relationship between indoors and outdoors is on full display. The architects aimed to create a smooth transition between the two areas by incorporating glass doors that don’t obstruct any views.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 2 of 8 - Built by Joseph Eichler, this home was designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons. While bringing the home back to its former glory, this family with two children also made some modern updates. Karen Nepacena and John Shum upgraded the kitchen with an island, which was built in the couple’s backyard, with custom Walnut cabinetry by Semihandmade Doors from IKEA around it.

Built by Joseph Eichler, this home was designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons. While bringing the home back to its former glory, this family with two children also made some modern updates. Karen Nepacena and John Shum upgraded the kitchen with an island, which was built in the couple’s backyard, with custom Walnut cabinetry by Semihandmade Doors from IKEA around it.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 3 of 8 - Faced with the unique challenge of renovating the work of midcentury master, design principal Stephen Shoup of building Lab worked to replace austerity with intimacy. A wall of windows provides a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces in this renovated Eichler. Open to the fenced-in yard, the patio is as intimate as the living room and bedroom just inside. 

Faced with the unique challenge of renovating the work of midcentury master, design principal Stephen Shoup of building Lab worked to replace austerity with intimacy. A wall of windows provides a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces in this renovated Eichler. Open to the fenced-in yard, the patio is as intimate as the living room and bedroom just inside. 

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 4 of 8 - An ipe fence and a neon-yellow resin screen fashioned from recycled acrylic panels draw visitors toward the entrance to the Kreadens’ renovated Eichler house.

An ipe fence and a neon-yellow resin screen fashioned from recycled acrylic panels draw visitors toward the entrance to the Kreadens’ renovated Eichler house.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 5 of 8 - Landscape designer Bernard Trainor masterminded a seamless garden to surround a 1958 Silicon Valley Eichler. In addition to creating the illusion of more space, he used paving to help steer the eye through the residents’ irregularly shaped lot. He also divided the yard into four "garden rooms": an entry courtyard with a fire pit for entertaining, a traditional backyard with a lawn and a dining area, a meditative space just off the master bedroom, and a side garden near the guesthouse.

Landscape designer Bernard Trainor masterminded a seamless garden to surround a 1958 Silicon Valley Eichler. In addition to creating the illusion of more space, he used paving to help steer the eye through the residents’ irregularly shaped lot. He also divided the yard into four "garden rooms": an entry courtyard with a fire pit for entertaining, a traditional backyard with a lawn and a dining area, a meditative space just off the master bedroom, and a side garden near the guesthouse.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 6 of 8 - In Palo Alto, California, Klopf Architecture, Arterra Landscape Architects, and Flegels Construction renovated a traditional Eichler home in a manner that feels entirely consistent with its original philosophy. Known as the Truly Open Eichler, the home establishes a strong connection between the interior and exterior thanks to a fully opening glass wall. In the outdoor living area, orange Primary Pouf stools by Quinze & Milan and an ipe bench surround the central fire pit. An outdoor kitchen neighbors its interior counterpart. In addition to a grill, it accommodates a table and bench by Kayu.

In Palo Alto, California, Klopf Architecture, Arterra Landscape Architects, and Flegels Construction renovated a traditional Eichler home in a manner that feels entirely consistent with its original philosophy. Known as the Truly Open Eichler, the home establishes a strong connection between the interior and exterior thanks to a fully opening glass wall. In the outdoor living area, orange Primary Pouf stools by Quinze & Milan and an ipe bench surround the central fire pit. An outdoor kitchen neighbors its interior counterpart. In addition to a grill, it accommodates a table and bench by Kayu.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 7 of 8 - The double-height great room encompasses much of the completely renewed section in the middle of the home—which includes the living, dining, and kitchen spaces. Since the existing floor slabs had cracks in them, Jay and Melissa floated new concrete floor slabs over the existing. They replicated the original as close as possible, and polished the final result.

The double-height great room encompasses much of the completely renewed section in the middle of the home—which includes the living, dining, and kitchen spaces. Since the existing floor slabs had cracks in them, Jay and Melissa floated new concrete floor slabs over the existing. They replicated the original as close as possible, and polished the final result.

7 Modern Eichler Renovations in California - Photo 8 of 8 - Since the original siding was in bad condition, Klopf Architecture installed new vertical Western red cedar siding throughout the house, which is reflected on both the interior and exterior. They explained that one of the challenges of the project was finding a low-VOC stain that would match the color of the original siding. 

Since the original siding was in bad condition, Klopf Architecture installed new vertical Western red cedar siding throughout the house, which is reflected on both the interior and exterior. They explained that one of the challenges of the project was finding a low-VOC stain that would match the color of the original siding.