Front Door's Crowning Touch

SoCal Eichler owner's 'well-kept secret'—creating authentic Eichler door hardware
Fridays On the Homefront
Eichler entrances come alive when original front door escutcheon plate assemblies are restored. But there’s only one place to buy them—from Eichler owner Jon Jarrett (pictured here). Photo: courtesy Jon Jarrett
Fridays On the Homefront
That cool original Eichler look. Photo: David Toerge
Fridays On the Homefront
Both sides of a Jarrett escutcheon assembly. Photo: courtesy Jon Jarrett

Jon Jarrett, Eichler lover and SoCal owner, certainly has an unusual business plan. It all started when he saw a need—his own need actually, for authentic Eichler front door hardware.

And a decade later, he still runs the only outfit that makes the product for retail purchase—though almost reluctantly.

"The whole thing with the Eichler escutcheon door kit, that was something I created just out of necessity," said Jarrett, a machinist in the aerospace industry. "Once I got that installed in my own house, it caught on."

How it caught on is somewhat of a mystery, considering Jarrett has never advertised or marketed the door kit. "It's word of mouth. I'm not really advertising," he admitted of his escutcheons, those circular metal plates that wrap around doorknobs.

When Jarrett and his wife moved into their Eichler in the Fairhaven neighborhood of Orange in 2003, his door had non-matching, off-the-shelf brass hardware inherited from the previous owner.

"We immediately just tore that out," he recalled of the "necessity" that led to him fabricating the authentic hardware, which is based on Kwikset and Schlage door setups. "It actually physically becomes part of the door kit."

Jarrett is a big admirer of the original look of Eichler homes, which inspired him to create the kit. "The whole Eichler deal is just very neat: modernism for everyman," he said. "It was neat then, and it's neat now."

But, he stressed, it's not so neat when the first thing you touch upon entering the home is a doorknob configuration that doesn't mesh with the Eichler aesthetic.

"It's kind of a key component to that look, that mid-century look," he said of Eichler's original escutcheon design.