My husband and I just closed on an Eichler on Friday. The house needs a lot of work and many original features including the luan wall seperating the kitchen/family room area to the dinning room living room area. We want to maintain the integrity of the home but give it modern updates. Is it taboo to remove the wall and open up the space to create one great room? What have others done.
taboo? yes. illegal? no. (well, if you remove a post, perhaps illegal). like many have suggested in the past, living with the space a while before you make any drastic, design-altering plans is a good idea.behind this wall there are likely wires and structural members which could be moved, but only with great care and hassle. is it worth it?
if you're worried about the condition of the wall, much if it can be repaired or restored... if it's structurally sound, howard's restore-a-finish and steel wool is amazing (we call it "jesus juice" in the house). if it needs to be replaced, that isn't impossible either. the typical luan/mahogany at the big box isn't finish grade, but you can find 1/4 at a good lumber yard. macbeath in berkeley sells "meranti" (a modern look-a-like) in 8 to 10 foot panels. it's what we used on our "shelf wall" and what a neighbor has installed to re-create the same wall you're talking about.
our "divider wall" was trashed and we opted for drywall rather than re-paneling. looking at it now (and dealing with the drywall cracks), i'd have likely chosen to re-panel the wall -- it's kind of one of those heart-and-soul-of-the-eicher things. but everyone has their own opinion, of course (and it's your house)...
Congratulations on your new home and welcome to the Eichler community :-) You say you're in San Jose--can you say which area? I know of about 5 (there's probably more).
1. DryCreek area (near Booksin school)
2. South of Curtner, west side of Meridian
3. South of Curtner, east side of Meridian
4. By Westgate Mall (hamilton/saratoga)
5. Near Fruitdale Avenue (meridian/280)
If you say where you're at, you'll probably find neighbors on this web board. That's great from a number of perspectives, one of which is that you might find some with the same floor plan (great for getting ideas) and possibly someone who has already considered what you are considering. If so, you can discuss with them why they did it or didn't do it.
(also San Jose)