Like many home designs, people will either fall madly in love with Eichlers or just find no interest in them. Many people thought that Joseph Eichler was ahead of his time with his designs, and turned off those who were seeking more conventional rather than innovative homes. However, what a lot of people don’t seem to know is that Joseph Eichler stood for much more than just the revolution of modern architecture. He stood for equalism and nondiscrimination, which is probably why he saw so much resistance in the 20th century. The message we want to convey with this blog article is that there is so much more than what meets the eye. To truly fall in love with an Eichler, you need to understand the history behind it and the symbolism behind being an Eichler homeowner. We’ve grown such a fond appreciation for Eichler homes after specializing in Eichler Real Estate for over 30 years and we want to share that appreciation with all of you reading this article. If you don’t get all the answers you’re looking to find about Eichler homes by the end of this article, contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the past, present, and future of Eichler Homes.
HISTORY OF EICHLER HOMES
As we’ve mentioned, to truly appreciate the unique features of an Eichler home, it’s important to understand the history behind it. We can talk a blue streak about the rich history of Eichlers, but we’ll focus on the creation of the home’s design. Let’s start with the man behind this revolutionary modern architecture: Joseph Eichler. Between 1950 and 1974, Joseph Eichler built over 11,000 homes in nine communities in the Bay Area and three communities in Southern California. Although his design ideas are replicated in states all over the country, the heart of Eichler communities resides and is predominant in the Bay Area. One of our clients, who has been an Eichler homeowner in Sunnyvale for five years, states: “The sense of community between Eichler homeowners is very empowering and I’m proud to be a part of such an interconnected group of individuals. We all work together to keep the neighborhood safe and we’re always there to help each other out.” Joseph Eichler aimed to construct an inclusive and diverse community that worked as one unit, and you can tell that goal was achieved by looking at Eichler neighborhoods in the Bay Area. This whole idea behind taking separate elements and making them flow as one unit is also reflected in the architecture of his homes.
He used open floor plans to encourage a more modern relationship between the kitchen, traditionally considered a working zone, and formal spaces such as the living room and dining room. This type of floor plan allows more interaction between family members and their guests and makes everything more accessible. The removal of interior walls also allowed more natural lighting to permeate throughout the house, which tied into his signature feature of “bringing the outside in”.
Whether an Eichler has an atrium or not, the openness to nature is always noticeable in an Eichler. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows have the effect of opening up rooms to a private backyard, where homeowners can enjoy the outside world without having to leave the comforts of their home. At the same time, the use of fences and solid panel entry doors provided the sense of privacy homeowners needed. Every aspect of the home was strategically designed to replicate an indoor-outdoor type of feel to reflect a modern aesthetic that may have been a bit ahead of Eichler’s time.
Some other innovative features to note include: exposed post-and-beam construction, integral radiant heating for the floors, sliding doors, flat and/or low-sloping A-framed roofs, and outdoor features such as atriums/patios/gardens/swimming pools.
If there’s one thing we’d want you to take away from the history of Eichlers, it’s the fact that Joseph Eichler was an influential advocate of bringing modern architecture from custom residences to the general public. He wanted everyone to be able to enjoy living in an Eichler and was one of the only real estate developers of his time to offer his homes for sale to anyone of any religion or race. Surprisingly Eichler homes actually never brought large profits for Joseph Eichler, which shows that there was no monetary motivation behind the development of these homes. He did, however, leave behind a legacy that would revolutionize the design of homes for many years to come.
EICHLER HOMES TODAY (MARKET TRENDS)
If you’re an Eichler homeowner or looking to buy an Eichler, you’re probably wondering how these homes are holding up in today’s real estate market. Long story short, most Eichler homes are selling 10-20% over the listing price and sales continue to set new records as prices continue to go higher and higher. Since it’s almost impossible to buy an Eichler in Palo Alto for less than $1.7 million, we’re seeing the sales spillover into Sunnyvale. With more people moving into the Bay Area for the strong job market and the continuation of heavy cash offers, we will continue to see this trend of the low inventory of Eichlers for sale with more buyers than sellers.
Eichler homes are quickly becoming like the classic cars within the housing market. They are rare and unique with different models and vintages, they are highly sought after in original condition and their owners take great pride in them. More importantly, the buyers interested in Eichler homes are part of a wave of successful business people who work for companies like Google, Apple & Facebook. You can only imagine how much more competitive the market will be in a couple of years, so if you’re looking to buy an Eichler, we recommend that you do it soon.
FUTURE OF EICHLER HOMES
Although Eichler is no longer here with us today, appreciators of his homes will be happy to know that Bay Area development visionaries are here to carry on his legacy with a 21st-century twist. One visionary even has Eichler’s blood running through him, being that he’s the grandson of Joseph Eichler himself.
Steven Eichler, who is a principal of Eichler Designs and the founder of Eichler Living, is dedicated to preserving the works of his grandfather. Last year, Steve stepped forward to fight to tear down threats that would destroy Eichler homes in Palo Alto and plans to continue fighting future tear-downs by helping to educate the public about the value of these homes. He has installed an exhibition about Eichler homes, their history, and their beauty at the new Rejuvenation store on 323 University Ave in downtown Palo Alto. If you’re ever looking to get more in-depth knowledge about Eichlers, that’s the place you want to go.