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Need help on updating home.... where should I turn?

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Joined: Jun 28 2003

Hello Eichler owners,

I am thinking of making changes to my home -- new bathrooms, expand kitchen and update it (my Eichler is so original, I still don't have a dishwasher), color scheme, new patio and awning.

But here's what I want:

Someone (and that's your expertise and knowledge comes in) to design an overall scheme for my home -- the kitchen, the bathrooms, the closets, the outside color scheme, the lighting system -- and let me choose the contractor, let me choose the painters, let me choose the electricians. Or perhaps I would hire a general contractor to handle one aspect of the remodeling.

I also want this someone let me know what projects should be completed before other projects (i.e, new lawn before the new patio or vice versa), what different projects should cost.

I want to be able to decide when I want to do which projects.

I guess I want someone -- who or what is this person -- to develop the master plan and I would implement it when I want.

What is your experience in this type of remodeling. Am I approaching this master plan the right way or am I being pound foolish?

Thank you for your help.

David
Moutain View, CA

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Joined: Apr 26 2003

David:

It sounds like you need an architect. A couple of architects advertise on this site: http://www.eichlernetwork.com/Architects.html

Jeff

P.S. Don't let joe b hear about you making changes to your original Eichler. He would not be pleased. :wink:

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Oh I heard you! I am on to this!

Hiring an architect is the best way to go. Before making drastic changes, live in the house for a while and do some research. That way you'll be sure about what you're doing and have less regrets. Also, be certain your architect is sensitive to Modernism and has a working knowledge of Eichler homes.

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Joined: Jun 28 2003

I have lived in my home for almost three years and I agree with past comments over the years about living in the home first before making changes because what I wanted a few years back is not what I want now. And what I dismissed a few years ago now sounds like a great idea.

I would be hiring someone who is sensitive to Eichlers.

I interviewed an interior designer a few months back. I told him on the phone what I wanted and did not want. I have the original mahogany paneling that I want to keep. This interior designer walks into my home, looks at the paneling and asks, "So what color are you painting the walls?" Don't the let door hit your ass on the way out.

I'll be interested in what others have to say.

David

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Joined: Apr 26 2003

Joe b: I am glad you can appreciate my humor!

David, in all seriousness, it sounds like you are on the right track.

I would think that you need to figure out your "ultimate plan" for the house, then work on electrical, plumbing and heating to serve the ultimate plan (whether or not it is actually built). For example, you will probably need to stub out pipes to serve a future bathroom if that is part of your plan. I think that an architect could help figure all that out, including in what order things could be accomplished.

I do not have any experience working with an architect, as we have never done any extensive remodeling, such as building out. We have remodeled our kitchen and replaced the flooring in our Eichler. Our kitchen remodel was not that complicated as we did not relocate the sink or any of the appliances.

Once we explained what we wanted (we had to be a little "insistent"), we were able to get suppliers and contractors to provide materials and installation suitable to an Eichler.

As an example, we added a door between the guest bathroom sink area and the adjacent hallway. We had to explain to the contractor that the door was not to have any surrounding moulding and pointed out to him the other doors in the house and how they were constructed. He did a good job with an approximate match. In fact, he suggested a transom window above the door to allow light from the bathroom to light the hallway should the door be closed. He constructed the transom window in a manner similar to the clerestory windows in our front bedrooms.

I do not think you are being pound foolish at all. Prior to doing any work on a house, you need a plan. With what it sounds like you are aiming to do, you need to hire a professional person that can provide you with that plan.

The American Institute of Architects may be able to assist you in finding an architect sensitive to modern architecture. http://www.aiasf.org/firm/index.html

Good luck to you, and please keep us informed as to your progress.

Jeff

P.S. Just to illustrate that you must exercise caution in engaging any "building professional", below is a link to a couple's website who found that having a custom home built can lead to disaster. Their experiences could lead one with a weak constitution to reconsider any construction project. http://mymccrearyhomesucks.com/index.html

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Joined: Oct 11 2004

We have just (about 98%finished remodeling our 42 year old Eichler. We did it before in 1972. this time we did a major job of the kitcen, master bath ,closet and study. We had an architect and contractor that know Eichlers .
We are very pleased and our house stilll is an Eichler! We can recommend both.

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Joined: Jan 21 2005

Just read your e-mail and agree with the advice about an architect. Our firm, GDeS Architecture, is a supporter of this site and provides design services to Eichler owners, including an initial consultation/get-to-know-you meeting without charge. Any architect you call should do the same. They should be able to clearly outline a process to assist you in creating a master plan for the house, get prices for each of the components, and work with you on a phased or complete design and set of construction documents.

Finding an architect through the AIA is not much more effective than opening the phone book. The organization knows very little about most firms. My suggestion is to talk to friends or others who have used architects, or rely on some of the mags like Dwell, Atomic Ranch, etc., that highlight those of us who design with a modern idiom.

Eichler's are highly valued commissions for architects, so I think with a little effort, you should be able to find someone who you can work with.

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Joined: Mar 30 2003

I don't have much to add to the above comments. It all sounds like great advice. What I do have to say is something you probably already know. Those of us who do wish to stay original or restore our homes to original will be very interested in any materials you have to offer after your remodeling. I'm particularly interested in bathroom lights (the over-the-vanity lights), outdoor lights - especially the front porch - and, of course, the elusive front door hardware.

I have a sad tale to tell about my front door hardware. Shortly after moving in 3 years ago I was able to acquire a front door knob and escutcheon for a very reasonable price. They were pretty scratched up so my husband accepted an offer from a guy at work who does a lot of auto restoration and has the equipment to fix up the escutcheon. He wasn't able to get to it right away, which was fine. He was doing it for free so I wasn't about to complain about the wait. Well, one day his wife decided to clean out the garage and found an old, scratched up door knob that she knew wasn't for their house so she threw it away. :( Needless to say, I've been searching for another one ever since.

Tracy

Tracy
Castro Valley

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Good advice from everyone. I would just like to add that I have run across stories in the past from homeowners who hired an architect and gave them a specific budget (by dollars per square foot for the remodel) only to get at the end of the design process and find out that it was going to cost 2x or more to actually build.

The point being that you should think about bringing an Eichler-experienced contractor in on the planning process early on, if possible, since that is the best person to advise you on what things will actually cost to build.

Good luck and keep us posted of your progress!

Cathye

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Joined: Aug 13 2005

Sandy wrote:
We have just (about 98%finished remodeling our 42 year old Eichler. We did it before in 1972. this time we did a major job of the kitcen, master bath ,closet and study. We had an architect and contractor that know Eichlers .
We are very pleased and our house stilll is an Eichler! We can recommend both.

Hi Sandy,
We are just getting started and would love to have the names and contact information of the architect and contractor you used for your remodel. I assume you are delighted with the results. Any advice on how to go about such a big remodel would be greatly appreciated as we've never done anything like this before. BTW, did you have to move out of the house while the work was being done. Also, how long did the project take from start to finish.

You can e-mail me directly at susan_leveille AT comcast DOT net

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Joined: Jan 25 2006

Sandy wrote:
We have just (about 98%finished remodeling our 42 year old Eichler. We did it before in 1972. this time we did a major job of the kitcen, master bath ,closet and study. We had an architect and contractor that know Eichlers .
We are very pleased and our house stilll is an Eichler! We can recommend both.

Hi, Sandy,

We are getting ready to remodel and would love to hear your recommendation for Ecihler-sensitive architect and contractor. Send recommendations directly to eichler AT suzanneshea DOT com
Thanks!
Suzanne

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