Eichler Home Specialist

Joseph Eichler used well-known architects to design both the site plans and the homes themselves. He hired the respected architect and Wright disciple Robert Anshen of Anshen & Allen to design the initial Eichlers, and the first prototypes were built in 1949.

In later years, other Eichler Homes by other architects were built including those designed by: the San Francisco firm Claude Oakland & Associates; and the Los Angeles firms of Jones & Emmons, A. Quincy Jones, and Raphael Soriano.

 

Eichler homes are from a branch of Modernist architecture that has come to be known as "California Modern," and typically feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floorplans in a style indebted to Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe.

Eichler Homes exteriors featured flat and/or low-sloping A-Framed roofs, vertical 2-inch pattern wood siding, and spartan facades with clean geometric lines. One of Eichler's signature concepts was to "Bring the Outside In," achieved via skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with glass transoms looking out on protected and private outdoor rooms, patios, atriums, gardens, and swimming pools. Also of note is that most Eichler homes feature few, if any, front-facing (that is, street-facing) windows, with those that do exist being either small ceiling level windows or small rectangular windows with frosted glass which is contrary to most other architectural designs which have almost all front rooms featuring large windows.

 

The interiors had numerous unorthodox and innovative features including: exposed post-and-beam construction; tongue and groove decking for the ceilings following the roofline; concrete slab floors with integral radiant heating; lauan ( Philippine mahogany ) paneling; sliding doors for rooms, closets, and cabinets; and a standard second bathroom located in the master bedroom. Later models introduced the famous Eichler entry atriums, an open-air enclosed entrance foyer designed to further advance the Eichler concept of integrating outdoor and indoor spaces.

Eichler homes were airy and modern in comparison to most of the mass-produced, middle-class, postwar homes being built in the 1950s. At first potential home buyers, many of whom were war-weary ex-servicemen and women seeking convention rather than innovation, were resistant to the innovative homes. Eichler also faced competition from other developers who used stylistic elements of Eichler homes in diluted and more conventional designs, later called "Eichleresque." Eichler Homes never achieved large profits for Joseph Eichler.

In his biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs credited living in an "Eichler Home" when growing up as the main inspiration for developing an aesthetic sensibility for the modernist and for the simple.[2] That Steve Jobs lived in an Eichler was recently disproven by researchers at the Eichler Network, who discovered and confirmed that Jobs' boyhood home was a similarly-styled mid-century modern by another builder.