As soon as they saw the Eichler house, 1,800 square feet and with four bedrooms, they knew they’d found the one. “Phtt!!,” Carl says. “I didn’t think further.”
“It was the only house really with some soul that we saw,” he says. “Everything else was…”
“Dead,” Martina concludes.
The house sold for $475,000, at the peak of the market.
Tim and Larry were also looking for something modern a little over a year ago. Easterners both, they had lived just 25 miles away in Ringwood, New Jersey in a 1962 post-and-beam home with walls of glass that shared with their Eichler “a similar kind of feeling,” Santos says.
A brief move to Santa Fe didn’t work out. “We really missed our family and friends,” Larry says. They decided to return East. But it was difficult finding just the right modern home.
“If this wasn’t here,” Tim says of their Eichler, “we’d still be looking.”
Like Martina and Carl, Tim and Larry are involved with the arts. Tim, who’s danced at Radio City Music Hall and has been a choreographer there, today teaches dance part-time but spends most of his time raising Lola, a four-year-old they adopted at birth.
Larry commutes to the city where he handles wardrobe for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Dave Silberstein remembers his introduction to Eichler distinctly. Poking through the listings, he was brought up short by one promising a “unique Eichler design.”
“What’s an Eichler?” he wondered. The listing also promised an ‘atrium.’ Atriums he had heard about. “I had to see a house with an atrium.”
“It was just a cool house,” he says. “Beth and I loved the windows. And we liked the contemporary style. We’re not really traditional.”
The Silbersteins bought the house 13 years ago. They were only its second owner.
Although not artists, the Silbersteins are involved with technology and education. Dave works in product sales for a company that provides building automation services, Beth is a librarian at the state university’s Maritime College.
Being an Eichler in New York, of course, is different than being an Eichler on the West Coast. “These houses,” Larry says, “were actually designed and built to be in California.”
Carl agrees. “Houses with this kind of flat roof are not made for two feet of snow, or the water we can get with hurricanes and those kinds of storms.” Martina has been spotted shoveling snow off their roof.
Carl and Martina love the promise of indoor-outdoor living, but can’t always attain it. For much of the year, Carl says, “We can see outside but can’t use it. As soon as we can, we’re outside.”
The houses were built with as much insulation as they’d have received in California—none. Larry and Tim, who’ve paid winter heating bills of up to $600 a month, plan to insulate. It can get hot in New York too, and they have a small air-conditioner in the master bedroom that gets little use. “When all the doors are open,” Tim says, “there’s a great cross breeze that just moves through the house.”
Dave has considered but rejected double-pane windows as a means of reducing energy costs. “That would lose the whole Eichler look,” he says.