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2nd Story Recommendations: Any good ones?

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ajm
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Joined: Mar 24 2003

After living in my Sunnyvale Eichler for over 10 years, I am beginning to think about adding a second story addition to my house. I am familiar with all of the arguments against second story additions: that they are ugly, intrude on neighbors' privacy, violate the spirit of the house, etc., etc. And I am certainly willing to agree that many, perhaps the vast majority, of 2nd floor additions to Eichler suffer from one or more of these flaws. However, this does not mean that there cannot be a well designed 2nd story addition, it just means that it's rare and difficult.

So my question is, are there any good ones out there? Can anyone point to a street where there is a well-designed Eichler 2nd story addition that is attractive and in harmony with the surrounding houses? If so, I'd really like to hear about it.

Thanks,
Andrew

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Joined: Apr 10 2003

In Balboa Highlands in Granada Hills (sorry its So. Cal.) you might have seen it briefly on the TV Show Baby Bob, it was the quick exterior shot of the front. But I agree it seems like over half the 2nd story additions/remodels are done badly. Be sure to get it right or you will probably get the wrath of those who object to a 2nd story, and you probably won't hear the end of it. Take a look on this website there are pics of the 2 story models in The Highlands in San Mateo, and I think in the ones in Harbor Point (?) in Tiburon(?). If you can get a look like that, you will be a good example-ie "see you can do a 2nd story".

Wishing for modern home.

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Joined: Apr 10 2003

In Palo Alto in the Los Arboles (adjacent?) tract-I think it's Torreya Dr. or something like that. I think they were some of the later Eichlers, it's the Torreya on the east side of a major thorofare (name escapes me at the moment) NOT the west side-there is a horrible BARN 2 story remodel on that part of the street.

Wishing for modern home.

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Joined: Apr 18 2003

Modernist livestock everywhere resent your opinion. :)

http://www.lottaliving.com/albums/paloalto/Palo_Alto_Eichlers_Los_Arbole...

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Well, ajm, I applaud your forthrightness and your invitation for suggestions.

I hope you won't take offence at the question, but can you outline the specific problems you are trying to address? The reason I ask is that others might have had similar problems and have alternate solutions to a full-scale second-story addition. Also, even if you decide ultimately that a second story is the only way to go, your architect (and yes, you'll need one) should ask you the same question. So, give us a run down of the biggest issues and let's see what solutions get posted.

BTW, at the very least, you'll want ot take a look at Cupertino's design guidelines for ways to minimize the impact on neighbours. Try the link at:

http://www.cupertino.org/downloads/Pdf/_eichlerhandbook.pdf

Let the fun begin ;-)

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

The most beautiful 2nd story Eichler I have ever seen is about 2 blocks from our home. We are in Willow Glen (San Jose). It is on Fairwood Ave., near the corner of Briarwood--2nd house in. If Eichler were to have built it, this is the way he would have done it, IMHO. If I were going to do it, this is exactly how I would go about it.

The 2nd story is set back from the first, eliminating the Box Look. The original roof line is repeated on the top, yet also staggered side to side, and of course there is all the glass and Eichler siding up there.

It was a big job and the homeowners moved out for a entire year while the work was done. I have been meaning to snap a photo, but have not had the chance yet. I also know the name of the archetictural firm that did the design, so send me an e-mail if you would like this information.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

a bad idea for many reasons. Here are a couple:

1. your neighbors loose outdoor privacy

2. integrity of building: your post and beam skeleton and your footings in the slab may not allow the weight of a second story.

don't do it

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Joined: Apr 12 2003

There ARE NO GOOD SECOND STORY ADDITIONS EVER in a neighborhood that is all one-story Eichlers.

The only time a second story Eichler is acceptable is when the Eichler architects themselves created a street or cul de sac of two story houses. There is such a street in Terra Linda (Beachnut Street)

Even if your second story addition is 'tasteful' or 'harmonious' in and of itself, it will always look out of place and conflict with the adjacent one-story houses around it, not to mention robbing your neighbors of their privacy.

ajm
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Joined: Mar 24 2003

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look at the houses mentioned in this thread.

Basically, we are unhappy with the master bedroom/closet/master bath area in our house. The master bedroom is small and poorly lit (no windows, only one sliding door that only gets late afternoon sun) and with the low roof, it's a bit like living in a dark cave. The master bathroom is tiny to the point of discomfort.

By adding a 2nd floor I am hoping to add more spacious master bedroom, and bathroom with lots of light and glass and room.

Jake, I wouldn't even dream of attempting this project without an architect and we have hired one who is well versed in modernism. We haven't decided to move forward with construction, but we're at least going to look at some possibilites and drawings.

Clearly the issue of footings and beam loads must be addressed, but it purely a construction engineering issue and not a deal-killer. Likewise neighbor's privacy can be maintained by careful placement of windows.

There is an "original" Claude Oakland 2-story Eichler down the street from us and I really believe that with some clever design we can build a house that's just as attractive and true to Eichler ideals.

The barn is a photoshop joke, no?

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Joined: Apr 10 2003

It's in Palo Alto on Torreya(?) Dr. North side of the major street-I don't recall the name of it at the moment, but it kinda adjacent to the Los Arboles Eichler tract. Good example of a 2 story gone bad.

Wishing for modern home.

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Joined: Apr 10 2003

I'm the one who took the picture and posted it to the Lottaliving.com
website gallery. And I don't have Photoshop on my computer.
When the gallery is fixed, I'll be posting more pics of other Eichler neighborhoods, you'll see some really good remodels, well preserved homes and some 'what were they thinking' remodels...

Wishing for modern home.

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

I agree with previous posts that no second story looks right in a neighborhood of single story houses. I never liked the Fairwood two story house. It looks like someone dumped a second Eichler on top of the first one. I can only imagine what the entry and interior are like with a now covered atrium. It looked much better before the addition.

If you need a bigger master bedroom, check with an architect and add to the back of the house. Greenmeadow Architects won Metropolitan Home of the year a few years back with a backyard Eichler addition in Palo Alto that addressed the small master BR/BA problem.

You may also want to consider that as the baby boomers get older, single story houses (especially master suites) will be all the rage.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

out of respect for your neighbors, you should resist altering your home and further damaging the integrity of your neighborhood.

A good architect should be able to design what you need in the single level space you occupy.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

One thing that could be done would be to annex one of the back bedrooms to give the MBR more space, if your configuration allows for this. Of course, you have then lowered the value of your home by changing a 4/2 into a 3/2. Our neighbors did it anyway and I do not like the way it looks, but can understand their motivation. I do think that at some point you have to ask yourself "Do I want a huge, sprawling California Ranch home? If so, what am I doing living in an Eicher?" You certainly cannot change the latter into the former, no matter what.

In spite of the few 2-story additions I have seen that were tastefully done, I do agree that it is not nice for the neighbors. In fact, the neighbors just over our back fence have a nice view into our MBR from their 2nd story window. AND, their roof is shake to boot. Yuk. In another year or so, our trees will be high enough to block the view. If they are not, it will be time to consider an arbor.

As a footnote, I did read the monster home discussion with shock and interest. OK, we pay extraordinarily high taxes to support state and local government and WHAT? No zoning laws? The term "recall" comes to mind...

C

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Joined: Aug 30 2003

I have never seen a good-looking 2nd story addition on an Eichler and I consider it entirely inappropriate and inconsiderate to add a second story in a neighborhood of single story homes.

The real issue is how it impacts neighboring single story homes. It is invariably a disaster. The enlarged house looms over its neighbors (since Eichler lots are invariably small), blocking their light and invading their privacy. Even if the 2nd story is very carefully designed so that none of its windows have a sight line into neighboring windows below (which is rarely done) the psychological effect is very powerful.

The only solution for the neighbors is to plant screening barriers of vegetation. But the wonderful open feelings of their homes is compromised. So one homeowner gets more space at the expense of multiple homes around them. This is pure selfishness.

If you feel that your Eichler home is too small, and you cannot expand it at ground level, sell it and get a larger house. But don't destroy an architectural masterpiece and ruin your neighbors privacy just to get bigger rooms.

Barry Brisco

1959 A. Quincy Jones atrium model in The Highlands, San Mateo http://www.totheweb.com/eichler

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Joined: Jul 22 2003

We have several 2nd story additions in our development that range from Swiss Chalet to California Rancher sits on top of an Eichler. One homeowner used the original architects to design their second story. While it mimics the Eichler style perfectly, it still looks very out of place. One of my neighbors lives next to a home that raised their center hallway area to second story height to make clerestory windows and pitched the roof. The effect on her home is that one entire side of her home has lost its natural light but at least she still has privacy. I have been through open houses in our area that are next to these 2nd story additions and the effect is horrible. Instead of private back yard spaces, you look at a 20+ foot tall wall which blocks your light at best. Usually you look up at a row of windows looking directly into your back yard or parts of your home (usually the bedrooms). Heaven forbid you chose to enjoy your private outdoor space au natural, or forget to close your bedrom blinds. These houses were built with floor to ceiling windows to bring the outdoors in. The six foot tall rear yard fences allow privacy in your yard while allowing the open feeling gained by the windows. Second story addtions elminiate both of these Key Eichler design elements. I agree with a previous recommendation, when considering such an addition-ask your neighbors how they feel about it. Or spend some time in your own backyard and imagine staring up at a bedroom addition belonging to one of your neighbors. I have no doubt about your sincere intentions and the desire for more room, but a second story is really not a positive solution when you consider the unquie design/architecture of these houses and the privacy demanded by that unique style.

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Joined: Oct 7 2004

Cathye,

Could I get the name of the architects behind this work?
thanks,

David

cathye wrote:
The most beautiful 2nd story Eichler I have ever seen is about 2 blocks from our home. We are in Willow Glen (San Jose). It is on Fairwood Ave., near the corner of Briarwood--2nd house in. If Eichler were to have built it, this is the way he would have done it, IMHO. If I were going to do it, this is exactly how I would go about it...I also know the name of the archetictural firm that did the design, so send me an e-mail if you would like this information.

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Joined: Aug 9 2003

I disagree with Cathye - I do not think it is well done - the addition tries to mimic an Eichler - IMHO - it is very top heavy - sort of like a Fort Apache lookout tower.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Michael:

If you want to see Fort Apache lookout tower style additions, I suggest you go to Sunnyvale. There are lots to choose from and some are even painted red, like a big red barn. This house under discussion is a far cry from that--whether you like it or not.

CLS

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Joined: Aug 9 2003

Why don't you call the architect to get his opinion - I have.

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