Eichler X-100, House of Steel - Page 3

Discover Eichler's San Mateo 'X-100' house of steel—the Eichler of the century, design for the ages

Who knows what the future will hold? But as for the past, the X-100 is the Eichler Network's selection as Eichler Home of the Century - for its unique attributes, lasting pleasure, and innovative lead into the 21st century.

(Since this article was first published, two changes to the X-100 have occurred. Longtime owner Anna-Lise Pedersen sadly passed away in January 2003. Shortly afterwards, in July 2003, the X-100 was sold to a preservation-minded group, including Eichler Network director Marty Arbunich, preservationist Adriene Biondo, and film director John Eng. Eng and Biondo own an Eichler together in Granada hills, in Southern California. The new owners plan to restore the X-100 and convert it into an exhibition house.)


 

Grandest Eichler of Them All

by Marty Arbunich

Ever since my first visit to the legendary X-100 steel Eichler, in 1995, I get goosebumps each time I enter the San Mateo Highlands. There's something about that house's irresistible persona, punctuated by its impenetrable metal fabric and distinguished role as the great Eichler experiment, that continues to haunt me. If I don't strain my neck to steal a peek of its backyard from the freeway off-ramp, I usually cruise by the front door to raise my heartbeat with a longing glimpse.

That same heart nearly gave out recently when I discovered a dozen unpublished color images of the X-100, buried for more than 40 years in photographer Ernie Braun's wonderful Eichler archive. As you can see for yourself here, Braun and the X-100 were a beautiful combination.

If you comb the Highlands today searching for the X-100, its identity likely will be concealed by the bountiful shrubs that camouflage the metallic beams poking out from its olive-green façade. Over the years, much of its flora has mushroomed, the exterior paneling and paint offer a slightly different effect, and the original fireplace and a handful of appliances have faded. But on the inside of the Arcadia sliding front door, the X-100 still looks very much like it did in its 1950s heyday, and exudes much of the same feeling found in Braun's long-lost photographs.

The X-100's preservation should be credited to Anna-Lise Pedersen, the home's loving owner since 1964, who continues to take great pride in faithfully maintaining its authentic and healthy appearance. "You can't call what I did remodeling," she says modestly. "Replacement, yes."

Ms. Pedersen is less modest, however, about our selection of the X-100 as the "Eichler of the Century." I suspect it has something to do with her own four-decade case of goosebumps.

Visit Marty's earlier feature article on the X-100