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.
Once Eichler SoCal has you in your dream Eichler home, you will need to make it uniquely yours. It is no secret that personal touches add character and life to a home. Joseph Eichler intended for the spaces within his homes to be shared by the whole family and to inspire all that visit. There is no better way to feel at home instantly in your new home than by unpacking your favorite small items first. Here are 12 unique display concepts that would each look at home in your Eichler. Some are ready-to-stage, while others may be small DIY projects. Clickable links in each description will get you a closer look at each concept.
1.The Sway shelf is a perfect place to begin because it can be used in many rooms. Imagine a row of them on an open wall of a kitchen displaying glassware or a single shelf above the stool in a bathroom. While this look could easily be recreated as a DIY project, a set of two shelves is just $69.
2.Orla Kiely’s Wall Units are the perfect playful punch of color and provide lots of unique display space. With sideboards and bar cabinets available to compliment them, they are a great series to consider for your Eichler.
3.This 505 Shelf System by Molteni & C. shown in Mustard would house a perfect blend of books and items and could make a great room divider.
4.The REMLshelf stands alone as wall art but can be used to wedge and shelve items. Each slat is adjustable, so the unit can be used many ways.
5. A similar installation concept to the Ordnungshaber listed above, this shelf system by Carlysle Manufacturing hangs from a picture rail installed horizontally in your room. Available in Walnut and Cherry woods, they range in price from $275-$400.
6. A modern twist on a shaker-style peg system, the Ordnungshaber storage system won first prize at the Cologne 2014 Young Designers Trade Fair. Shakers used these pegs to hang unused chairs around the room, and this system allows hanging pegs as well as shelving to be used.
7. We know a small DIY project isn’t always on the top of your list when unpacking, but consider this modern pegboard system from Apartment Therapy. They walk you through the full DIY process, from materials and measurements to installation.
8. This find might be our favorite reason to unpack your small boxes first: the PogoHome Collection of tension shelves by Julie Tolvanen. Tension rods are commonly found in Mid Century Modern furnishings, and these have a playful new twist. Don’t have room for a full bar to entertain? The small one shown on the far left can fit just about anywhere!
9. For those who collect hobbies that require equipment, consider displaying those items. The many styles of Mikili wall-mount bike racks available could make your space a lifestyle gallery.
10. At first glance these LINE racks by Apartment 8 are available in 27 matte finish and 17 high-gloss colors. A single unit could be installed near an atrium entry for quick access to a jacket or handbag, or a row of them in a master suite could display accessories.
11. Speaking of accessories, the “Take Off Your Shoes and Jackets” rack by Ariane Marz for Ex.t. could make a pile of shoes look like an art installation in seconds.
12. With a new home comes the opportunity to add some green life to a space. Have a black thumb? Air plants are a very low-maintenance way to add green and fun to your home. There are so many ways to display your airplants. We loved these DIY Minimal Copper Pipe Airplant Holders from poppytalk.com .
While packing and unpacking are not the best parts of moving, getting your own things unpacked into your new Eichler will make you feel right at home sooner. Still haven’t found your Eichler home in Southern California? Contact us today to start the conversation!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
A survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) revealed 64% of architecture firms report that their clients express an increased interest in outdoor living spaces. Although Americans may be spending less and less time outside, they still need proximity to a green and living world. Eichlers, with their glass walls and atriums, satisfy this need handily.
Although a few Eichlers exist in New York, developer Joseph Eichler built designs primarily for California and hired architects that believed in integrating the home into the surrounding environment. While floor plans of Eichlers may differ, they contain common elements that expressed Eichler’s desire to bring sunny California climes into his homes.
The key element of “bringing the outdoors in” is the central atrium found in most Eichler homes. Newcomers are startled – and delighted – to learn that stepping inside an Eichler often means stepping outside into a private secluded open atrium. While some homeowners use this space as little more than a second front yard or extended foyer, others develop the atrium in unique and fascinating ways, such as a private Japanese garden, an area where yoga enthusiasts perform the sun salutation outside in complete privacy, a space for parties and even outdoor home theatres. For those Eichlers in which bedrooms open onto the atrium, it serves as an extended living space and has the effect of opening the world for those that live there.
The atrium isn’t the only element that satisfied Eichler’s desire to bring the outside in. Huge windows that double as walls grace the rear of many Eichlers. This has the effect of opening the kitchen and the spare room to the backyard. While Eichler kitchens tend to be small, they never feel small because your gaze is invariably on the world outside. Opening the rear of the home to the outside makes it easy to keep a half an eye on small children playing in the back yard. Moreover, the flow of energy from the kitchen to the backyard makes dining on the outside deck a regular year round option.
Well-placed skylights and transoms systematically bring the outdoors in. Hallways that would otherwise be dark become bathed in natural light, which complements the wooden tongue-in-groove ceilings, natural wood and post-and-beam construction. Even the formal dining room found off the kitchen in many homes receives natural light flooding in from the kitchen.
The magic of an Eichler is that all these elements combine with a closed front to make the outdoors yours. The closed front of the house gives the sense that the external concerns are far away. You go home to an enchanted world that opens outside, but leaves unwanted problems on the front curb. In that sense, Eichler created an charmed world for young families of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s to grow up. While some other modernist approaches often feel cold, Eichler’s emphasis on bringing the outside in creates feelings of expansion, warmth, and growth. The wisdom of that approach is reflected in their enduring appeal and enhanced value.
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, or if you are looking for the perfect Eichler Home for you! Contact us
Article written by our contributing writer: Megan Winkler
The past few weeks we have stumbled upon so many incredible Mid Century Modern gingerbread houses online. So how could we not make our own “Eichlerbread House’?
For our Eichler Gingerbread house, we chose to build our own interpretation of this Claude Oakland & Associates Eichler.
One of our favorite Mid Century Modern gingerbread houses we came across online can be found here at ohhappyday.com. This post includes full directions and a printable template to make it easier for you to make your very own. Retrorenovation.com has a great article about vintage “Putz Houses” and also includes great printable templates. We see no reason why these same Putz templates couldn’t be used to make a gingerbread house. The candy Noguchi table in this house is so clever we had to share that as well!
Edible atriums, frosting dotted transoms and candy cane beams were a must. This “Eichlerbread House” ended up being some 30+ pieces. Planning, baking, assembling and keeping all them sorted was quite a process. We hope our EichlerBread House inspires you to make one of your own! If you do, please send us pictures; we would love to see it! We hope you have a fantastic Holiday!