New Issue Traces a Journey

Aspects of Eichlers’ evolving influence the undercurrent of the new Fall ‘18 CA-Modern
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Joe Eichler's most celebrated home during his building career was the custom Atherton one pictured above designed by Anshen and Allen.
Fridays on the Homefront
Marc and Heather Rarden and their three children find the San Mateo Highlands “a breath of fresh air.” Photo: Sabrina Huang
Fridays on the Homefront
Joe in the early 1950s.

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale—a tale of a grateful trip, that started in a bayside port but soon southward did skip.

It is the tale of Eichler Homes, and it is told from numerous angles in the brand-new Fall 2018 issue of CA-Modern magazine.

As usual, the new issue reports on a broad array of modernist topics, from homes and developments to jazz, art, and literature. In particular, though, several stories trace a journey of modernism's evolving influence on California living from the 1930s to today.

Here's where our journey will take you.

Dave Weinstein, Eichler Network features editor and columnist, sets the stage in the late 1920s with the odyssey of 'At Home with the Eichlers.'

"The Bazett House, in Hillsborough, may be the most famous house Eichler inhabited," Weinstein notes of the Frank Lloyd Wright design on the Peninsula. "Still, a survey of Joe's other homes suggests he was a man who liked quiet good looks in a multiplicity of styles, enjoyed the indoor-outdoor feeling long before he discovered, and appreciated both quiet suburban neighborhoods and big city life."

Weinstein details 14 homes where Joe and Lilian Eichler and their sons lived in succession, from 1927 through Joe's death from heart problems in 1974, starting with a couple of San Francisco apartments and eventually including six houses that Eichler himself built. Some had profound effects on his career.

The stage thus set for our autumn sojourn, it heads into deeper seas with this issue's Feature Storyboard, 'Hillside to the Stars.' The story chronicles a convivial history of the largest, most ambitious Eichler neighborhood of them all, the San Mateo Highlands.

"As mid-century modern neighborhoods go, the San Mateo Highlands has always been a superstar," it buoyantly begins, adding that the 650 homes built on a peninsula ridgeline between '55 and '64 are, at about 450 feet above sea level each, also the highest-elevation Eichler community.

"The neighbors have a wonderful spirit that is volunteer driven," says Marc Rarden, who grew up there and is one of several longtime residents contributing to the tale. The story includes several examples of the area attracting national attention, including two unique demonstration homes, the still-extant steel-framed Eichler X-100 and the Life House. It also details lasting friendships and determined efforts to protect the community's quality of life from 21st century "improvements."

"The mid-century modern revival has been the best thing to hit this neighborhood," Jonathan Feinberg, another longtime Highlander, tells of newer residents. "The people buying now are pretty dedicated. For the most part people are keeping them in the Eichler style."