Lifestyles of the not-so-rich and less-than-famous Joseph Eichler’s in Orange, California
Today it is virtually impossible to find a neighborhood that isn’t coated in stucco and topped with red roof tiles. Lawn after lawn, arched entry after arched entry, these suburban repositories too easily blur and succumb to a lackluster uniformity. This isn’t to say that these houses aren’t homes, that they don’t serve their dwellers well. This is to say, these houses are now all too common lining the Southern Californian topography. This is to say, get out of town and consider a visit to Orange, California, where the character of postwar American lifestyle is preserved in a dynamic and vibrant community.
Back around the 1960s, developing in the lap of Southern California’s coastal hills, Joseph Eichler built the Fairhaven, Fairhills, and Fairmeadow tracts to meet middle-class families looking to settle out West—to get a piece of that sun-kissed California pie. Even today these neighborhood streets meander through homes that are beautifully maintained and charming in their age. Driving through Eichler’s vision-made-reality gives rise to images of the California lifestyle—a fashionable dream of communities embracing coastal, suburban living to get away from the noise and grit of the city. Eichler’s houses are unparalleled in modern design. Their broad faces, flat roofs, and floor to ceiling windows are a bold statement to every home owner that says, “archaic, perhaps, but never outmoded.” ‘Retro’ is how some would put it, but these homes aren’t retro for retro’s sake. They are the basis upon which retro is defined, and to live in an Eichler home is to maintain the legacy of Modern design.
Wouldn’t mind living in one of these neighborhoods, you say? Well, to choose a house in Fairhaven, Fairhills, or Fairmeadow is to choose Orange, California, as home. Fortunately, the character and charm of Eichler’s design carries over into Old Towne Orange, a quick drive from any of these neighborhoods. There the district is an active public space built around a roundabout with a fountain and benches, called the Plaza. It’s where musicians perform and buskers play. The Plaza is that precious bit of urban space reserved for unabashed cultural exchange. And all around the Plaza sit specialty shops and eateries and drinking holes. Consider Haven Gastropub where you might enjoy some of their many beers with an appetizer of thinly sliced, fried pig’s ear (Yes, it’s delicious! Imagine a chewy French fry that tastes like bacon) or a radicchio salad that will change your mind on how ridiculous the word ‘radicchio’ sounds. Feeling like a sweet treat? Try A la Minute ice cream. There you’ll find a palate-bending assortment of handmade-to-order ice creams. Choosing between a scoop of the fresh and bright mint chocolate chip or a scoop of the luxurious avocado and honey is the hardest part of visiting this parlor—trust me. After all that, if you’re well and full, perhaps a perusal around one of Old Towne Orange’s antique shops or vintage dealers will help you find that gift or home-good you’ve been looking for.
So give Orange, California a try. Stroll the neighborhoods, cruise the town. You may, however, leave with a sweet tooth for the Modern home or the unshakable charm of Old Towne Orange. You may even fantasize a little about your own home in one of Eichler’s fairhoods. There is no doubt that where we call home defines a large part of who we are and dictates our notions on lifestyle. Here in Orange, Eichler neighborhoods are a symbol of those notions. Situated in sunny California, designed for entertaining company, and a short ride to downtown, to Disneyland, or to the inland deserts, one cannot deny the draw Eichler homes have held over so many decades. They are beautifully crafted houses and are cared for in a community that actively shares its passion for the domestic, for establishing the comforting sense of home; Eichler’s neighborhoods are a testament to the dream of having choice in how you live your life. Visit. It’s at least worth the fried pig’s ear and avocado-honey ice cream.
It is no news to you that there are a lot of apps out there in the land of smart-phones and tablets, plenty of them with very specific tasks and features. Looking for the right home and the move itself can be a very demanding season of your life.
Sometimes most of the time we don’t really want to take the time to learn how to navigate a new app just for a short season of our lives. I wanted to show you a few ways you can use 3 apps that you very well may already have installed to maximize your time and resources without learning your way around 20 specific apps you will just forget the logins to a day later. Let’s learn how to collect your research, organize your resources and plan for future projects with Evernote, Houzz and Pinterest!
Evernote: Yes, that little green box with the elephant that everyone has in their productivity folders but not all use to it’s fullest potential. That is the beauty of Evernote, use it a little and you are already better off. Include it in your day-to-day and your entire catalog of information is at your fingertips. Searching for and moving into your new home is the perfect way to dive in. If you are an Eichler-enthusiast, chances are your are a more visual person. Evernote does a fantastic job of posting video tutorials every time they roll out a new feature. You can find all of their videos including ones on getting started over on their YouTube channel.
Access your Evernote on your phone, tablet or desktop. Notebooks can be shared with another user if you allow them to be. This can include your partner, interior designer, real estate agent, and the search functions are incredible. Looking at a dozen homes over the weekend? Snap photos and take notes of each one so you can review them all later.
Enhance your Evernote awesomeness by downloading one of their many other apps that are designed to sync and optimize your time and resources. I love the Penultimate app so much! From my phone I can pull up a sheet of graph paper, sketch out a layout or idea, include a photo and then save that information to a notebook. The IdeaPlaces app is a location-based way to use a map to tag and pinpoint on a map with your own notes. A great tool to be used when narrowing down the right home. Those are is just two examples of the many many apps that can sync to your Evernote account. Browse them all here and see which ones are the right fit for you.
Empower yourself with the priceless task of doing things right the first time. Taking a few extra steps the first time you take on a task makes life easier in the long run. Once you have decided on the home of your dreams in Southern Caliornia, you are already on track to stay organized before you even move in. Delete all of the excess information from other homes and you can now build new notebooks and notes to organize your move. Store photos of important documents you may need to search for later, or better yet purchase one of the many scanners that can be synced to your account and start building a searchable database of all of your important information.
The rapid growth of content being uploaded to Houzz is incredibly encouraging to see. The world has embraced Houzz and its and app with welcome arms and active users. This SoCal-based site has fast become the must-be place for professionals to showcase their work and be reviewed. On Houzz content is truly king! Images must be of a certain quality and the professionals curating that content must be accessible for the best user-experience possible. You know that sinking feeling when you find an image of something great on Pinterest only to find it to be a dead-end of sorts with no link to the source? On Houzz you can post questions directly to professionals or even post your own inquiry to the site with request for feedback.
The directory feature of Houzz is a fantastic tool when you are searching for professionals in your area. You can narrow down by categories and read reviews posted by clients. I recently attended a Houzz event and was assured that Houzz takes customer reviews very very seriously. Every review is researched by Houzz staffer to be sure they are legit and valid to each professional. While a Houzz Pro can invite a client to write a review for their profile, they have no access to edit or remove that review.
The ideabooks you will build on Houzz will be your biggest asset when moving to or even selecting a new home. Keep your ideas organized and share them with a quick email to anyone you wish. Recently Houzz launched collaborated ideabooks. This means you can publicly (or privately) share an ideabook with your Realtor, contractor or designer and include notes within them.
If the first two apps mentioned aren’t your cup or tea or perhaps you just don’t want to learn a new app to use, Pinterest still remains the “old” reliable. Now that you know how to navigate and use this app you are among the masses using it on a daily basis. Pinterest has quickly become a search-engine for many users. Shopping Mid-Century furniture, pinning current listings you are interested in, or creating boards for your first few projects. It is the place to be! A new feature worth mentioning is the new messaging service. Now send private messages to other users on Pinterest! Remember the good old days…just a few weeks ago when you could do this easily on Facebook? Much like a note attached to a Houzz ideabook image, you can now collaborate on a project within the Pinterest interface.
Don’t want the world to know what homes your are looking at or projects you are planning? Find a great Eames chair on Ebay but don’t want a friend to snag it before you? May we suggest pinning to a secret board? This keeps your pinning off the main feed and out of sight from other users. You can still collaborate on a secret board by adding a user in the “edit board” prompt.
Buying your next home should be a fun and exciting adventure with the team at EichlerSoCal! Find the right tools that you are comfortable with and make them work with you to make the most of the experience. Call or click today to get started! 714.376.0212
October 18th, 7:30am – 1:00pm
That’s right, we are having another Eichler Neighborhood Garage Sale! Since our last Eichler Neighborhood Garage Sale was such a success, we have decided to hold another one! We had a big turn at our last garage sale and crowds that came specifically looking for modern style furnishing and will pay the highest price for you items. If you would like to participate, please RSVP today! You can email email@example.com or call (714) 376-0212. If you have any other questions regarding Garage Sale details, please give us a call. If you love Mid-Century Modern style and design, then you will not want to miss this garage sale. Many of the residents have some fantastic MCM furnishings and styles that they will be selling, so don’t miss out!
Look below to find where each neighborhood is and click on the maps for directions.
For direction, please click here or on the map.
For direction, please click here or on the map.
For direction, please click here or on the map.
Here are some of the fantastic finds from our last garage sale.
We are very exited to have not one but TWO Eichler open houses this weekend! The two homes we will be showing are both fantastic homes but also very unique, we encourage you to come visit us at both homes!
Open House Schedule:
Friday, September 5th: 5pm-8pm
Saturday, September 6th: 12pm-4pm
Sunday, September 7th: 12pm-4pm
612 E. Palmdale
This Fairhaven Eichler has Brazilian Teak hardwood floors, Safety glass, whole house repiped, foam roof, central heating and air, water-wise landscaping and irrigation, tankless water heater, new siding, upgraded Stainless Steel KitchenAid double oven and built-in microwave, Stainless Steel Bosch dishwasher, Viking 6 burner cook top, new Mahogany walls, original light fixtures, replaced 2/3 of fencing and gates…too much to list!
3741 E. Fernwood
What do you imagine your forever home being like and where would you picture it being? Spacious with style + design? Convenient + peaceful?.. yet where people are all super friendly with one another like the mid-west? Tree lined streets that change colors with the seasons? Where you live just might be one the most important choices that you make in life and Eichler Homes may have solved this for so many in Orange County. Anshen and Allen had some impressive style back in the early 60′s when they designed this model – that is pretty model perfect!
Mid-Century Modern Architecture Design in the movies
It’s not just Mad Men making MCM look good
When we close our eyes, our dreams are most certainly staged with clerestory windows, perfect patio spaces, and Danish-inspired furniture. Filmmakers get to make the settings of their dreams a reality. Mid-Century Modern design has remained a constant choice for a backdrop not only mid-century storytelling but can be see in many movies on the big screen. The spectrum of style and influence of Mid-Century design is as wide and as versatile as the tastes and interest of its fans. It should be no surprise that this era of time would be appealing to serve as a set for many projects.
Mid-Century sets are not only used for stories being told about life during the Post-War Period; many are set in current times. Even Hollywood power couples like Brad and Angie fantasize about Mid-century lives. Their “Domestic Bliss” photo shoot for W magazine was downright amazing! There is a continuing demand for Eichler and Mid-Century designed homes to be used as active sets to film in. I caught the premier episode of HBO’s new series Silicon Valley last night. The episode teased a few quick flashes of the exterior of the young web-developer’s home that appears to be an Eichler. Of course we were thrilled to see an Eichler home featured in a Super Bowl commercial this past season. Having your Eichler home used as a set has its pros and cons though. Eichlernetwork.com wrote an interesting piece awhile back about the inconvenience of the takeover that happens, but for many, the paycheck that follows is worth it. One pair of Eichler-owners used the income from CSI episodes and the filming of Employee Of The Month (2006) to finance a restoration of their entire property. We have helped many production teams pair up with Eichler owners for projects like the images shown here from a recent commercial shoot.
Of course we could list iconic films like Pillow Talk (1959), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Lautner’s Treehorn Residence from The Big Lebowski (1998), and who didn’t want Cameryn’s house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)? The Brady Bunch home and the phenomenal set design of the Mad Men series deserve posts of their own. James Munn’s “Design In Film: The Modern House” is just over 11 minutes long and jam-packed with MCM cinematic jewels. Instead, we thought we could show some of the other MCM gems that you may have overlooked?
She & Him: Current taste-makers and even young Millennials continue to be drawn to Mid-Century style and a throwback to a period of time they were not even around to experience. MCM influence is obvious in current home and fashion trends. Musical act She & Him have a love for this era in both music and style. MidcenturyModernist.com noticed a striking influence between a 1958 film, “American Look,” made by Chevrolet, and the She & Him video for “Don’t Look Back.” Both fun videos to watch, especially one after another. Follow the link here, and see for yourself.
The Vandamm House: In 1958 while North by Northwest was in production, all of the world had their eyes on Modern Architecture. It was assumed Wright would work on the upcoming Warner Brothers movie, The Fountianhead, but deals fell through during negotiations about budget. We came across a great read on this subject along with some information on the fictional Vandamm home from North By Northwest (1959) here on jetsetmodern.com. Of course this can be included in the iconic MCM film sets category, but I also discovered Etsy.com can be a wonderful source of MCM inspired film prints. The movie poster print shown here would be a great addition to a media room or home office in your Eichler.
The Parr House: You may not recognize the owners of a Mid-Century property by their formal names of Bob and Helen Parr. In many households they are known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl from Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004). The suburban home the Parr family is relocated to is one we really wish was a real property to visit. The chairs alone are worth watching for. Pixar continues to suggest the time period the film was to take place is ambiguous, but the overall style of the characters and set seem to be Mid-Century to us. Of course Pixar made a short film (they are kind of good at that stuff) describing the set design for the project. Pixar loves bringing the outside in as well. A large atrium at Pixar headquarters is accessible to all employees to develop thoughts, collaborate ideas, and keep them inspired.
Suzy Bishop’s Well, Entire Life: The films of Wes Anderson are known for meticulous care and attention to set design down a scribble on notepaper that may be seen on camera. Anderson’s use of color is so tactful many even consider the palettes of his work to become characters as well. We love this tumblr account dedicated to that very subject. The set of Moonrise Kingdom (2012) includes many great furniture pieces (those sliding door bookcase benches in the kids’ room would be great in an Eichler!) and wardrobe choices that lean toward the Mid-Century Style. The set of Anderson’s Bottle Rocket (1996) is also worth a mention.
Just what is the appeal of Mid-Century Modern style? The National Building Museum challenges that perhaps it is independence. The carefree single lifestyle, an empowered working women, evil supervillans. Films from the 50’s and 60’s showcasing these ideas and characters still resonate today. Mid-Century Modern influence is not going away. If anything it is gaining momentum. Recent films such as Crazy Stupid Love (2011), A Single Man (2009), and Ghost Writer (2010) have made that clear. If you are a Mid-Century enthusiast and a film and television fan, then there is even more of a call to action to make sure our Orange County properties get restored properly and maintained for future use. Contact us today if you have any questions or may be interested in being included on an upcoming project–we would love to get you involved! Our number is 714.376.0212.
In the warmer months, hosting an outdoor party is a great way to get friends together. Whether you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo party, a Memorial Day shindig, or an Independence Day celebration, doing it outside is one of the great joys afforded to Eichler homeowners. Plus, there’s just nothing like the California climate.
Hosting such a get together is easier than you might think, especially if you have an amazing atrium to work with, as many Eichlers do. Start by opening the doors to the atrium so that traffic flow easily moves between the indoor and outdoor areas of your home. From there, follow a few guidelines to make the party one to remember.
The Art of Invitations
They may seem like a small thing, but invitations are essential to any party. The language and design of the invites cue how people will dress and what they will expect when they arrive to the event. Take a small step towards being green by sending out electronic invitations or setting up an event on Facebook or another social media site. In the invitation, be sure to include any information that would be helpful to guests. For instance if it’s a themed party or if it will be particularly fancy, be sure to tell your guests. Directions are always useful, and you might want to mention whether or not it’s a kid-friendly event. If it’s a potluck party, ask guests to submit their dish name when they RSVP so that you, as the host or hostess, can fill in with side dishes or entrees if the menu is coming out slightly unbalanced.
Provide the Perfect Seating
Sure people are going to be moving in and out of the space, but when they want to relax for a while, your guests are going to need someplace to sit. A great solution to seating is a set of folding chairs, but they need to be stylish. We love these Lina Folding Chairs from Design Within Reach.
They’re chic, and as versatile as they are useful. Made from leather and powder-coated steel, they have a clean, modern line to them. Your guests can move them around, place them in groups, or even fold them up and set them aside to make room for dancing.
Choose Some Great Tunes
Nothing helps to define a party quite like the music. If the event is energetic, pick some tracks that reflect the tone. Likewise, if you’re planning for an elegant soiree, some light jazz or rock oldies provide the perfect background music for your party. Whether you host your party in the atrium or out in the backyard, keep the volume low. This fosters conversation between partygoers and will keep the neighbors from getting too upset about the noise next door.
Plan a Delicious Menu
Before planning the party,think about your guests. Do any of them have special diets? Is anyone allergic to certain foods? These are considerations that should form the foundation of your decision-making process when coming up with a menu.
After that, plan a menu in line with the tone of the party. A wine and cheese gathering should feature multiple kinds of antipasti, cheeses, and fruits like grapes and strawberries. A potluck party is great if you want people to sit and relax for a while. Small hors d’oeuvres that can be eaten with one hand are better for casually elegant events, but sometimes a gourmet barbecue is the perfect party. With a little planning, the menu can be creative and as individual as you are.
Illuminate the Space
Especially when you’re hosting a nighttime party, lights are absolutely essential. Gather a mix of lanterns, Christmas twinkle lights, and candles to create different moods. Lanterns can be hung in corners of the patio or the atrium, as well as in different parts of the yard to help define the space. Christmas lights look like hundreds of tiny stars when strung overhead. For a romantic feel, place some floating candles in your swimming pool or in large fishbowls around the space.
These portable LED Ball Lamps are a really neat way to illuminate the party area:
Waterproof and rechargeable, these globe lights can be used both indoor and outdoor. Because they’re waterproof, you can even float them in your pool or any water feature you may have on your property. The injection-molded polyethylene globe is white and comes with 36 interchangeable color LEDs, so you can customize them to your party’s theme.
For outdoor spaces with plenty of ventilation, a Mid-Century Modern-inspired chiminea or fire pit keeps things cozy on a cool night. Check out ModFire for some outdoor fire elements that will suit the tastes of any Mid-Century Modern aficionado. We love the 7-feet-tall Bonfire:
Let your beautiful home serve as the backdrop for your party. With a little bit of planning and a big deep breath, it’s easy to throw an utterly fabulous outdoor party.
If you are looking for the perfect outdoor entertaining space, please contact us and we can help you find the perfect home.
The other leg of the house is what I liked to call “the bedroom wing” because it contained 4 bedrooms, two baths, and amazingly, the laundry area. In my life, I had only seen washers and dryers in garages. Why? No dirty clothes come from the garage. But there they were with a linen closet directly behind. This has since become pretty normal, but this was 1966, and it almost made me happy to do the laundry, which was between the kids’ rooms. Who realized this? To put linen closets near the dryer–sheets, towels no problem, and no toting. Just turn around!
The bathroom adjacent had an outside door! This was to bring in the grimy muddy wet sweaty children and strip them before they could get to the rest of the house. I have a photo of the kids in the tub and the water is brown, so you see what I mean. I used the 4th bedroom as a piano room, library, desk area. And also a door into the atrium. This is thoughtful architecture.
Landscaping often presented a problem to new owners. They knew they loved the house, but what kind of landscaping to go with it? I’ll tell you what WON’T go with it: picket fences, arches of roses at the gates, demure perfect little lawns. Usually people are broke when they first buy a house, so the landscaping is home-made at first. Or rip out whatever you didn’t like and wait for better times to do a good job. It was the same for back yards only you could hide them for longer. The back yards were not usually very deep, so only the people who wanted no green stuff whatever put pools in. Luckily, I had a friend with a pie-shaped cul-de-sac lot where we could swim.
At one point a new neighbor from Denmark moved in next door, right at the end of a long dry summer. The first thing I noticed was smoke coming from his back yard. Fire is not a friend to Eichlers. With no solid walls and only glue-based paneling on the walls, they would really go up in a fire. So I jumped up to the fence, saw the neighbor there, and holding down panic as much as possible, screamed “What are you doing?” He mildly replied that there were a lot of leaves and he was just getting rid of them, and seemed startled that he was supposed to take them out to the street for the garbage truck. But that wasn’t the only cultural difference. In Denmark, high schools teach kids everything about maintaining houses: wiring, plumbing, reconstruction, roofing, and the like. I was interested to see the local phone company and electric company trucks one day. The neighbor hadn’t liked the look of the electric and phone wires that came into the house, so he took them down and buried them. Buried them! Can you just see the look on the phone guy’s face after being told there was static on the line and going to the back yard and looking at the pole and seeing no wire?
Sometimes people new to the area and unaware of the wind patterns, put rock on their front yards. Rock in many colors, especially white. sometimes in swirling patterns of red and black. This would last about 3 months. Then the dirt in the air, the leaves falling, and kids running across it made it all look just like a muddle, a very expensive muddle, which you could never restore. Desert cactus gardens look great, too. But they usually used decomposed granite, a lovely golden color with the same problems as rock but with an addition: stuff could root in it.
Even a plain grass yard in California is a project. If you are fond of Bermuda grass, an invasive persistent weed which only can be eradicated by taking off the top foot of soil and replacing it, you’ll have a great lawn in the summer. It hibernates in the winter and people are even knows to spray paint it green. Regular grass involves cutting, fertilizing, weeding and edging, none of which makes it fun to look at, and any passing dog can kill it. Best to hire a landscape architect (they are amazingly cheap) and let them choose plants that take ignoring, drought, bugs and small feet.
We are very exciting for upcoming neighborhood garage sales for the Eichler neighborhoods.
Fairhaven Tract : 4/12 – 8am-11am
Fairmeadow Tract : 4/26 – 8am-11am
Fairhills Tract : 5/3 – 8am-11am
We will handle the advertising , put up directional signs and take care of any permits. If you have any questions, feel free to email us, or give us a call. (714) 376-0212
Here are a few tips!
- A group sale is better then selling alone. More stuff draws more traffic.
- Be prepared. Be ready to go the night before so that you don’t have to rush around in the morning.
- Plan your sale layout with customers in mind. Use marketing tricks to make your customers more likely to purchase your stuff!
- Price things carefully.
- Clearly label your items.
- Display like items together.
- Keep your space organized.
- Place large items in the front.
- Be friendly. Greet people as they arrive — chat if they’re chatty.
- Do not bad-mouth your items.
- Be active, friendly and smile.
- Be willing to bargain, but be less flexible at the start.
- Keep a ledger. Jot down a description of each item and how much you sold it for.
- Do not use a cash box. Keep your money on you at all times.
- Have some extra help on hand.
- Offer last minute deals
You may have heard by now, but we have a NEW Eichler home for sale in the Fairmeadow Tract in Orange. This home is pristine and move-in ready. Take a look at our listing video below. Here is a little bit about the home, but for the full listing, visit our Eichler For Sale Page.
Waiting for the right Eichler home? Look no further! This mid-century modern home is located in the Fairmeadow Tract, designed by Anshen and Allen and was built by Eichler Homes in 1962. Clean lines, modern amenities, open floor plan, floor-to-ceiling walls of glass, large atrium, separate master bedroom wing, RV access, dark bottom pool… and more.
- Friday, March 28th: 5:30 to 8:00PM
- Saturday, March 29th: 12:00 to 4:00PM
- Sunday, March 30th: 12:00 to 4:00PM
You are going to see the inside of an Eichler, let’s say the four bedroom with atrium model.
You’ve already seen that roof that seems any minute about to fly off from the rest of the house. Some people think it looks as if it is sheltering. (Did you see Eichlers in two Super Bowl Commercials this year?) You enter the atrium, and now is when you discover what that word atrium means: a central garden area accessible by the whole house, a place for gathering. This area can handle very large leafed plants, like giant bird of paradise, Greek key plant, philodendrons. It will get lots of light but not all day, because the shadows show up either early or late, blessedly. It will also handle very small humans, so no planting poisonous stuff.
In the atrium, you are in the middle of the U and the front door is directly ahead of you. It opens into the living room with a floor to ceiling fireplace and all the walls are glass. Wow.. How you arrange furniture in here depends on what kind of kids you have. If you have boys and put the couch in front of both the door and the fireplace, it will be used as a pommel horse for vaulting into the living room. You cannot make them stop doing this. This arrangement has a lovely advantage, too: you can sit and watch the fire. Often people would put their Christmas trees on either side of the fireplace, tempting lots of gods: fire, glass, falling. Once on the couch, you can see into the back yard, or look behind into the atrium to check on any passing small humans.
As you face the fireplace, the dining room is on your right. There was a sliding pocket door between the dining room and the galley kitchen, which could be closed, hiding the mess in the kitchen from your dinner guests. How classy is that? The stove is much lower than you remember, but it really is designed so you can see into the pots on the back of the stove. The original Eichlers had cabinet doors that slid back and forth, which I loved because you could never whack your head on open cabinet doors.. But you can only see half the contents at any one time. So the kitchen looked halfway neat most of the time! There was a butcher block top set into part of the counter, which I thought was genius: yet another piece of stuff I didn’t have to buy. Then comes quite a large area (TV, desk, play room, your choice) which leads to the garage door. In the garage I kept my extensive tool set: a dinner knife, pliers, a saw, and a hammer, which I used interchangeably.
I never liked the wood paneling on the walls because it was so dark, which none of the neighbors seemed to have a problem with. Years later, I understood the original owners had them stained walnut, as opposed to honey like most people. So I painted them white. This drew the glaring eyes of the purists: the Do-not-change-anything-in-the-house people. I would have changed the ubiquitous grey floor tile, too, but the heat from them was past luxurious. If it was a cool morning, sliding your feet along the hot pipe made everything lovely and warm, like home. Some people put carpeting in various rooms, effectively insulating themselves from the heat. They were kind of defensive about it: “carpeting doesn’t prevent the heat from getting through, it just delays it sorta.” These people never understood the concept of staying warm by dressing in layers.Throughout the house were the round white bulb light fixtures. I loved them. When you thought you were becoming blind, you just stood on a chair and washed the dust and bugs from the top of them, and you could see!
People buy Eichlers because they want the unusual, modern, stylish surroundings. They brought the same ideas to holiday celebrations.
At Easter: The EBunny had a pretty funny sense of humor. Eggs would appear anywhere, including at the base of the glass walls around the atrium inside the house. There was also a ton of candy in the atrium outside right next to the walls, in plain sight.
The kids would stand next to the wall frantically looking around, never looking through the wall, into the atrium. There must be something about little kids and their interpretation of “wall” which causes them not to try to see through them.This only worked for a couple of years. We had to stop hiding eggs and candy outside because our Dalmatian could find them before the kids did. But he did leave shiny reminders for us for several days.
Labor Day. There were kids’ parades, with dressup clothes, sort of like Halloween, but more often with parent’s clothes, or superhero outfits. Tricycles became parade floats, with streamers on the handlebars and seats, and wheels with crepe paper, volleyball games among adults with the winner getting a case of beer. Then, on our court, there was our Dalmatian with technicolor spots. I handed out Magic Markers to the neighborhood kids who gave him different colored spots, ringed his tail, and made volleyball players do movietype double takes. Barbeques in the street followed.
Christmas: when you live in a glass house, where do you hide Christmas presents? In the trunk of the car, of course. My mother would send slippers for the kids, but they didn’t know what to do with them because of the warm floors. Two Christmases in a row, those warm floors presented us with a Christmas fountain: water spurting out of the floor right next to the tree.
Of all the houses in the neighborhood, this was unique. I never heard of anyone else having this problem, and I finally learned that the grid of copper pipes that conducted the water was laid, well, indifferently, sometimes inside the concrete slab, sometimes not, causing the pipes to stretch and break. Now all concrete slabs crack when they settle and dry. These cracks are harmless unless there is a whole bunch of water under pressure looking for a place to escape. Thus the Christmas fountain. It does something to your sense of security and order to have a guy with a jackhammer digging a hole in your floor on Christmas morning.
My favorite holiday was one the neighborhood itself made up. The Art Fair! It began when neighbors began to hang on their fences the artwork they had made all winter. These kid drawings and bean roosters soon gave way to a two day festival with professional artists renting booths, folk dancing, sand castle construction in driveways, thousands of visitors, and paying jobs as cleanup people for all our teenagers. The grinch of a city finally made us shut it down. Something about licenses, insurance, numbers of porta potties or the like. Obviously, the city didn’t live in an Eichler.
One of the most distinctive themes of mid century modern homes is the concept of inside/outside living. Atriums and courtyards help realize this idea by creating an ‘outdoor room’ full of natural light which is shared with the interior space through windows and glazed doors. It is well documented how levels of light can have a positive impact on our sense of wellbeing and this is one of the appealing aspects of living in a mid century modern home
These outdoor rooms form a welcoming entrance with roof openings providing natural light that bounces from surface to surface. On a functional level, it also works as a buffer between the street and house, from the noise of the outside world to the order of home.
The atrium is a hallmark of an Eichler home and one of the most attractive features of an Eichler or, indeed, any mid century modern bungalow. Although not always at the center of the home in true ‘atrium’ style this space is also to be found at the front of the building as a bright and spacious courtyard leading to the front door.
How we treat this courtyard is very personal to our lifestyle but used well this light and airy space can enrich our day to day lives and, ultimately, our quality of life. It is easy to make a feature of this architectural detail. Here are a few treatments worth considering.
1. Planting & Sculpture
Planting is one of the easiest ways to link the exterior with the interior. Succulents and grasses provide structure and interest with color, reflection and shadow. Planting also helps to soften hard surfaces and provide contrast. A sculpture or piece of art that you enjoy creates a focal point particularly where the living areas surround an internal atrium.
2. Color & Material
Light colors on walls and ceilings bounce light around the space and provide natural interior light through glazed walls.
The front door is often the only feature that offers a pop of color. Although Eichler’s choice of colors were slightly muddier tones, modern trends are towards funkier oranges, greens and yellows. Introducing color to the space by painting one isolated area to match the door color will create unity while continuing the color through to an interior wall will create an illusion of depth.
Tongue and groove exterior cladding and mahogany interior cladding were popular mid century materials. Tastes have evolved and we now tend to opt for a paler palette. Wood finishes can still be included by cladding a smaller area or by incorporating wooden outdoor furniture or planters.
Flooring will easily unite the exterior with the interior. Concrete and ceramic tile is a practical finish and works well to provide continuity between outside and inside rooms. There is a strong trend for wood flooring on interior floors so using a similar tone of wood on cladding, planters or furniture can help capture that same visual link.
4. Furniture & Accessories
Whether you are the mid century purist for whom nothing but an original Nelson bench will do or you are the young family whose mantra is IKEA practicality, choose furniture that is functional and free of unnecessary detailing. Typically, mid century accessories such as light fixtures, door furniture and house numbers are simple, geometric shapes focused on functionality.
Whether your outdoor room be a dwelling space for relaxing or the threshold where the kids kick off their shoes, enjoy it. Feel uplifted by it. Live in it.
You don’t usually think of Joseph Eichler as an iconoclast, but in a relatively short time, he broke the mold of residential housing with homes that incorporated innovation into mass production, preserved privacy in the midst of glass walls, and challenged the idea that indoors and outdoors were not the same thing with atriums that blended the two.
Eichler built 11,000 homes in California between the late 1940s and the mid 1960s, and three of his tracts are in Orange: Fairhaven in southeast Orange, west of Esplanade Street and north of Fairhaven Avenue; Fairhills in east Orange, south of Katella Avenue and east of Hewes Street; and Fairmeadow crossing Cambridge Street north of Taft Avenue.
Today Eichlers are quintessential mid-century modern architecture made affordable to the middle class through the combination of the aesthetic sensibilities of contemporary architects and the practicality of builders with strong concepts rooted in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Bauhaus design.
The homes are as distinct as a fine etching and as unique as a solitary work of art, and the post-and-beam construction has an honesty that elevates them far above other home designs of the same era. As one owner puts it, “The posts actually hold up the ceilings. They’re not just for show.”
The languid slope of the rooftop is minimalist design at its best, creating ceilings of tongue and groove decking in rich woods that recall nautical design. A framework of glass walls surrounds the interior and embraces atriums that function as recessed nooks of the outdoors.
Everything in an Eichler home re-enforces the indoor-outdoor concept. The flat slab foundation flows effortlessly out to patios and gardens, the use of building materials continues through the glass walls as if they are not there, and the interior light defies distinction from the outdoor spaces. In some models cross beams extend from under the roof to cover an atrium in such a way as to make it practically indistinguishable from the living room inside.
The atriums are an enhancement that evolved during the late 50s when Eichler teamed with Robert Anshen of Anshen and Allen, architects known for modernity in design. At first the builder felt the atriums, while adding to the aesthetic mystique, were nonetheless impractical and served no real purpose. But they answered a criticism that the entries were too bare, and they were so popular that they became an integral part of the Eichler concept.
And it is the combination of large expanses of glass and central atriums that became the essence of Eichler’s design. Most of this goes on behind a blind curbside wall devoid of the windows that were part of residential design up until then. But the plain façade makes the open-air concept possible by providing the privacy that is a basic need in family life.
The open design of the interiors make it possible to see from one side of the house to the other, and one space flows smoothly into the next with as little interruption as possible. The atriums bring the outdoors in, bolstered by the illusory element created with the wide glass walls.
Looking at an Eichler home you can’t help but think that only in Southern California would this concept work, if for no other reason than the benign weather that allows outdoor ambiance to become part of the interior shelter. Most Eichlers have radiant heating systems embedded in the floor, but many have been converted to forced-air heating and cooling. But while heaters may provide creature comforts, it is hard to imagine an Eichler in the midst of the snowy landscapes of the Midwest or the storm-battered bastions of the big cities east of the Rockies.
These are California homes right through the plate glass patio door to the low-slung roofline, and sunshine sets the stage for a lifestyle that, now more than ever, takes advantage of the climate. A glass-walled atrium set amidst a series of transparent walls almost gives a trompe l’oeil effect to the domestic scene and defines the indoor-outdoor concept.
The atrium just inside the front door is a surprise that delineates the difference between stark and spare. It can be set up as a small patio, a Zen garden, a field of raked pebbles, a waterfall or a continuation of the backyard ambiance set in motion by the rippling water of a swimming pool.
There is magic in the transparency of glass. It brings serenity out of turmoil and spaciousness out of the claustrophobic. It is the very heart of mid-century innovation. It opens up the structure, brings the indoors out and lets the outside in. It creates a framework for rich wood, for sturdy brick and for the understated strength of crossbeams.
Joseph Eichler built homes that were made for living and he infused his tracts with a sense of community that continues today in the neighborhoods where the homes have been preserved. They are treasured reminders that life is all around us and all we need to do is step right out through the sliding glass door to become a part of it.
They are homes that glisten and gleam in a landscape of green under a sky of blue, enchanted vestiges of the past suited perfectly for the present and poised for a future where the practical and the aesthetic blend into one elegant form.
Eichler Fairhaven Floor Plan #LJ-115/R (Jones/Emmons)
LJ-115 has proven to be very popular with larger families – or at least with the parents! The master suite and (much needed) retreat are located on one side of the home, with the three bedrooms at the opposite end for maximum isolation.
2100 sq feet (living area)
330 sq feet (carport)
237 sq feet (garage)
4 Bedrooms/2 Baths
14 homes in the Fairhaven tract use this plan