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The Unique Story Behind Silicon Valley’s Most Popular Modern Homes

The History of Silicon Valley’s Eichler Home Development

Joseph Eichler was an accountant who, after a brief stint living in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was inspired to become a home builder. After returning from World War II, Eichler began to revolutionize the suburban tract housing spreading across the U.S.

Eichler’s signature home design sought to blend the indoors and the outdoors using mid-century modern design features. Though his homes were unlike anything else homebuyers had ever seen, they were loosely inspired by the era’s wildly popular ranch-style homes.

Eichler’s primary goal was to design homes for the working middle class and he even went so far as to offer a non-discrimination policy to homebuyers of any religion or race — a concept unheard of among developers in segregated, post-war America.

Eichler Home Features

What makes an Eichler… an Eichler? Joseph Eichler’s signature concept was to “bring the outside in,” and he pulled this off by incorporating decidedly modern design features. Eichler homes are usually around 2,000 square feet, and tend to boast  2+ bedrooms and bathrooms. The indoor-outdoor concept is evident not only by the outdoor courtyard and oversized windows and glass doors, but also by the light these features draw in. As a result of the open floor plan, Eichlers tend to be great for entertaining a crowd.

Classic Eichler Home Features

Large panels of glass (floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding glass doors) Post-and-beam construction Open floor plans

Concrete slab floors with integrated radiant heating Mahogany paneling    Open-air courtyards Exposed ceiling beams

Eichler Homes Today

Today, there are approximately 11,000 Eichler homes in northern California, with many of them scattered across Silicon Valley Eichler neighborhoods. While Joseph Eichler sought to build affordable but innovative housing, the price (and value) of his signature homes has skyrocketed over the last decade.

Due to the resurging popularity of mid-century modern design, open floor plans, and population growth across Silicon Valley, Eichler homes have been in high demand, often selling for a higher premium than traditional homes in the same neighborhood. 

Additionally, there are countless Eichler devotees who are willing to pay top dollar for a unique Silicon Valley home with a rich design history.

If you are thinking of buying or selling an Eichler home, you’ll want to work with a team of specialists that understands Eichler’s unique history, structure and style. If you’re interested in buying or selling an Eichler home, we’d love to hear from you. 

How Eichler Homes Inspired Apple’s Co-founders

Both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak — two of Apple’s co-founders — were raised in modernist Silicon Valley homes. Jobs’ Los Altos house was designed by an Eichler competitor and Wozniak grew up in a true Eichler home in Sunnyvale. It’s our belief that having roots in modernist design and architecture affected both Jobs and Wozniak — and set the foundation for Apple’s thoughtful, sleek and utilitarian products.

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