Before & After: A Muddled Eichler Gets a Dashing Update
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Before & After: A Muddled Eichler Gets a Dashing Update

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By Melissa Dalton
Maverick Design removes a “scab” of a rear addition and restores indoor/outdoor flow for this Eichler in Orange, California.

By the time Jessica Rae Sommer and Erin Costello—the creative director and senior designer at Maverick Design, a Redondo Beach–based firm—set foot in this 1962 Eichler in Orange, California, they were happy to see that it had retained many of its signature features, including the interior atrium, exposed post-and-beam system, and vaulted ceilings in the living room. 

This was despite the work of previous homeowners’ remodels. The design team looked past old carpet, outdated cabinetry, and a non-permitted rear addition to start planning how to bring the Eichler back to life. "This iconic, mid-century Eichler was love at first sight for our team," say Sommer and Costello. "We immediately became inspired with plans for enhancing the open spaces and focusing on emphasizing the home’s distinctive connection to the outdoors." 

Before: Front Façade

Before: Thankfully, the home’s exterior was in good shape. "The exterior of this home was one of the first things that stood out to our team," say Sommer and Costello. "Overall, it was in great condition and spoke to the lasting quality of many of these homes. The interior was a bit of a different story."

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After: Front Façade

The front façade received fresh white paint and new landscaping. The blue door was painted "Flaming Torch" from Behr, a vibrant orange.

The new house numbers are the Aurele 6" Matte Black House Numbers from CB2, while the streamlined mailbox is a Wayfair find.

"Unlike many of these classic midcentury homes that remain a time capsule of the original design, this home has been modified many times over the years by prior homeowners," says the design team at Maverick. As the design arm of the parent company of Wedgewood, a residential development company, the firm specializes in readying iconic homes for buyers across price points. 

For this Eichler remodel, the objective was to respect the original bones with more thoughtful updates than what had come before. "Our goal was to design a beautiful mix of finishes that respected the timeless design intention of Eichler homes," say Sommer and Costello. "Rather than focus purely on historical renovation, we wanted to update the finishes and layout to ensure it lives on for the next generation." 

Before: Atrium

Before: The atrium just needed a little paint and landscaping.

After: Atrium

The walls are painted Behr’s "Polar Bear," and the artwork is by Arnold Réthy. The firm painted the ceiling beams running throughout "Space Black" by Behr. "Painting the beams in a darker color emphasized that they run from front to back," says the firm. "This came back to celebrating the timeless, indoor/outdoor experience that continues to drive demand for renovated Eichlers."

The 1,660-square-foot home has four bedrooms and two baths. The design team made minor changes to the floor plan, including opening up the wall between the living room and kitchen, expanding the footprint of the kitchen, and removing a non-permitted addition off the master bedroom. Attention was poured into finishes and furnishings that feel current and well-balanced. "To balance the iconic Eichler ceilings, we selected flooring as our main application for bold design choices," say Sommer and Costello.

Before: Living Room

Before: The designers retained the original cement block of the fireplace. The illegal addition can be just seen through the window on the left.

Before: The view towards the kitchen shows it was not easily accessed from the living room. The dark carpeting brought too much visual weight.

After: Living and Dining Room

The fireplace was given a fresh coat of white paint. The flooring is Lansfield Catalina Engineered Hardwood in the "Barley" color. "To keep the interior finishes modern yet warm, light wood floors were installed throughout," says the firm. "Though not the quintessential flooring choice for Eichlers, the result was an overall aesthetic of warm modernism that is appealing to today’s buyer."

The team removed the wall between the kitchen and living room, then increased the kitchen’s size by 30 square feet through extending the wall of cabinets towards the dining room and adding an island. The distinctive stools are Phase Design’s Bride’s Veil Bar & Counter Stool.

One challenge to renovating Eichlers, with their post-and-beam construction and dramatic ceilings, is modifying ceiling lights or HVAC systems, say the designers. For that reason, "We used as many original lighting locations as possible and added wall sconces throughout as needed," say Sommer and Costello.

"Our team selected furniture and décor that would give the home a modern, midcentury vibe while still feeling invitingly livable and current," says the firm. The couch is the Echo Sofa from Article.

In the dining room, the BAZZ Loft matte black pendant light is suspended over the Shoreditch dining table from CB2 and Nomad chairs from Industry West. The Gold Rush Poster is by Jessica Rae Sommer.

Revised landscaping at the back of the house enhances the indoor/outdoor feel of the home’s original architecture. The rug is from Target and the Mobile Chandelier is from West Elm.

Before: Kitchen

Before: "The kitchen was in a sad state with basic white tile floors and outdated cabinets that were not original," says the firm.

After: Kitchen

"We designed a fully-custom, expanded chef’s kitchen featuring European-style cabinets, a large island with waterfall countertops, and hardwood floors," say Sommer and Costello. The light and bright kitchen has cabinetry by Gilbert Sojo, quartz counters, and a streamlined black GE range hood that syncs with the black finger pulls from Cosmas.

Before: Guest Bath

Before: All of the bathroom finishes were dated.

After: Guest Bath

"We updated each of the guest bedrooms and full guest bathroom with whimsical tile and statement finishes," says the firm. The designers used a graphic patterned Merola tile on the floor, pairing it with a black vanity from IKEA and a CB2 Infinity Mirror. The light fixture is the Trent Austin Alguno 2-Light Vanity Light.

Before: Master Bedroom

Before: The un-permitted sunroom addition seen here through the bedroom’s sliding doors was removed, as it blocked access to the backyard and inhibited natural light to flow inside.

After: Master Bedroom

Two West Elm Pelle Sconces flank the Brayden Studio Horsham Platform Bed, while the sliding doors now reveal views to the restored backyard.

Before: Master Bathroom

Before: "The original master suite was small and compartmentalized," say the designers. "We reconfigured the master suite to open up the bathroom and added a walk-in closet by relocating the entrance to the garage. This bathroom was then completed with a double vanity, Nero Marquina stone tile, and an expansive feature shower."

After: Master Bathroom

Sommer and Costello combined Derengge Two-Handle Faucets in matte black with the Lucent Light Shop Vortice Sconce over CB2 mirrors.

The designers specified Nero Marquina tile in a 2"x12" honed finish to cover the bathroom floor "for a dramatic yet seamless look in the large master bathroom."

Before: Back Living Space

Before: This part of the backyard looked like an afterthought.

After: Back Living Space

Now a painted wood pergola frames an intentional seating area.

A key decision in the remodel was the elimination of the illegal rear addition. By removing it, the designers created more outdoor hangout spaces and restored the Eichler to its intended form. "Our challenge was to revive the essence of the original home while reimagining it with our own design sensibilities," say Sommer and Costello.

Before: Backyard

Before: This view shows how the ill-planned addition jarred with the original architecture.

After: Backyard

"[Eichler’s] concept of indoor/outdoor living is inspiring," says the firm. "His developments were so ahead of their time and made modern living available to the masses."

Related Reading:

16 Renovated Eichlers That Epitomize Midcentury California Cool

Before & After: An Architect Couple Expand a Coveted Eichler For a Growing Family

Project Credits:

Builder: Avatar Property Services

Landscape Design Company: Corona Tree & Yard

Interior Design: Maverick Design  (@maverick_design)

Cabinetry Design: Gilbert Sojo

Other Company: Wedgewood Investments

Photography: Mol Goodman