Breaking New Ground - Page 6

With smart planning, attention to detail, and patience, Eichlers show they can be rebuilt with their original flair

New Eichler rising in the desert

Rebuilding
Troy Kudlac of KUD Development atop the Palm Springs home he is building from original Eichler plans.

Replacing an Eichler after a fire isn't the only reason to build one. Some people are motivated by love.

"I stumbled upon an Eichler neighborhood one day in the city of Orange. I just fell in love with it," says Troy Kudlac of KUD Development, who has been remodeling mid-century modern homes in Palm Springs for years.

In February, Palm Springs will get its first Eichler home—not built by Eichler, no, but following an original plan. It will open to the public during Modernism Week in February, featuring tours, talks, and cocktails.

Kudlac is working with Bay Area real estate broker Monique Lombardelli, using a Claude Oakland plan for a steep-gable atrium model from the Oakland collections at UC Berkeley's Environmental Design Archives.

Building a new Eichler proved challenging, not least because of the desert climate.

"The biggest challenge most definitely has been the roof," Kudlac says. "We wanted the house to look as much like a real Eichler as possible. So for the roof, we wanted to keep that low profile."

But they needed to run air-conditioning, electrical, and heating systems on the roof, and provide robust insulation. Kudlac says they managed it by sloping the foam insulation, keeping it thick over the central part of the house, and thin at the edges.

They managed to provide a full wall of rear-facing glass by providing "a super-efficient roof and air conditioning. We have very, very high-tech air conditioning."

Radiant heat was deemed unnecessary in the desert.

Kudlac was unable to recreate several small clerestory windows above the garage because of the need for beams spanning the space. "That's the main thing we lost," he says.

 "With the first one," he says of the new Eichler, "the idea is to prove that somebody wants it, as more of a model home. We're hoping to be able to build more of them."

For more on Kudlac's Eichler project, visit DesertEichler.com.

 

Photography: David Toerge, Al Boyden; and courtesy Klopf Architecture, Eichler SoCal, JR Structural Engineering, Inc.