It has become very difficult to find any archived info in the forum because so many people post questions without ever doing a search.
If you have a question take some time and read through what others have all ready written. I have a lot of knowledge on Eichlers and I find myself not posting advice because I get frustrated at how lazy people are.
Here is the opinion of someone who is somewhat of an Eichler purest...
Vinyl windows have no business in an Eichler. They look horrible, and do not make enough of a difference in quality of insulation to warrant the purchase. Hardwood floors have no business in an Eichler. French doors, Brass hardware, Shutters, Fancy inlaid doors, have no business in an Eichler.
Upgrades are great, if done in good taste. Clearly, there is a lot of bad taste out there, so one should be careful before making these decisions.
If you want all of that frilly fancy stuff, sell your Eichler and buy a Colonial or something else.
Eighlers are like old British motorcycles or cars. They have some great qualities. They need constant maintenance, and they become worthless when you throw Honda parts on them to make them look or run like something they are not.
Just my two cents.
I guess good advice can come from even the most arrogant sources.
I thought I only came across as arrogant in person.
I'll have to work on that.
I completely agree that doing research through the archives prior to posting a question is a good idea. Also, the archives will show varying views (purists,modernists, etc.) on how to approach any renovation project sensibly without sacrificing the value of your home. That's the beauty of this "Lounge". If you've stumbled on something new that is related to an old issue then I think that it's ok to post it (even as a reply to the old one).
My two cents:
Another approach is to improve the energy efficiency/eco-centric nature of your home. Having a heating bill of $70 versus $1300 during extreme cold conditions speaks volumes after installing roof/wall insulation (a concept not used during an era when ENERGY WAS CHEAP), solar cells, and double-glazed windows. Installing rain-collection barrels in tandem with a xeriscape landscaping system saves on water bills. I respect those that try to make their homes as Eichler-friendly as possible but I also have respect for the Eco-Eichlers as well.
PLEASE indicate your location....especially when asking for a Specialty Contractor referral.
I have such a difficult time with this website. What I once thought was a wonderful idea has turned into a forum for people to bully and ridicule those individuals who have any desire to make changes to their homes - either cosmetic or out of necessity. I thought this was a forum for discussion and ideas but it appears that unless you agree with the Eichler "purists" you are setting yourself up for negative comments.
My family has lived in my home since 1963, we are the second owners of our house. We love the neighborhood, we love the house, and we truly enjoy living here. We have made changes to our house because times hae changed, we'd like to provide a safe environment for our children, and we'd like to keep some of the money we pay out liberally to PG&E. We've seen homes that have burned to the grown in 8 minutes because of all the wood, including the paneling. We've experienced especially high PGE bills because of the single pane glass, we've changed out the original flooring because it was peeling of the floor (let's not mention the asbestos). We installed double pane windows because my mother ended up in the emergency ward when she fell through the single pane kitchen door. We've remodeled our kitchen and removed the original cabinets that were held up by a single nail. These changes were made our of necessity and to accomodate our family - which is different than the family of 1957 when the house was built.
Many on this website speak about how pristine Upper Lucas Valley homes are. I would like to point out that two of the highest selling homes in that developement had lovely vinyl windows that looked tasteful and appropriate.
I do not need to move because I want to make changes to my house. That is my perogative. I love my house as much as anyone else on this web site and it angers me when individuals feel they have any right to ridicule changes that I have made or to dictate how my house should look.
You can do whatever you want with your house given that it is within city codes and historic codes (if applicable). I believe that all of the comments should be taken as suggestions and not absolute law. It is obvious that the "purists" love their homes and are just projecting their emotions and personal experiences on this board...nothing wrong with that, although, berrating others for their renovation approach is just plain rude.
The pursuit of historic preservation ordinances in many of these neighborhoods is great and preserves their character but what I think happens beyond those bounds (ie: interior renovations) should be to the discretion of the homeowner (unless of course, critics are willing to "donate" funds to inact their design wishes on their neighbors...hehe)...
I myself have done (or in pursuit of) renovations to my house to make it a safer, more energy efficient home:
-bamboo wood floors
-high velocity low-profile forced air unit
-window film laminate on all large windows and sliders
-integral frame plain (no mullion) double paned vinyl windows (in progress)
-solar cells (in progress)
-insulation at all exterior walls
-on-demand water heater (in progress)
-additional skylights in dark rooms and hallways to reduce light usage.
-ceiling fans in each bedroom and main living room.
-integral glass fireplace screen to reduce draft (in progress)
-sheet rocked interior to increase fire rating (I donated any original non-moldy panels to a "flat-top joe" owner)
I do listen to what other people say but my priority is to increase the energy efficiency of my home and improve the safety of my family.
I was recently at an open house and the Realtor mentioned the Eichler tour. Three couples, not including myself, said we would never open our houses to the tour because we had made changes and did not want to subject our houses to the scrutiny and comments. Others on this board have posted similar complaints so I know I am not alone.
I am all for keeping your house original if that is your desire. I personally don't care for the dark walls, dark floors, and lack of insulation but I respect the fact that it works for many who owns an Eichler. My only request is that those of us who do enjoy updates or upgrades to our house receive the same respect from the "purists".
I appreciate you sharing the changes you made to your house. It is nice to know what others have done and how it's affected their home. We also added a foam roof which has helped us keep cool in the summer. I wish we did it years ago. We have added a lot of skylights as well. It's amazing that we have so many windows but the houses can be so dark.
I'd like to elaborate a bit...
I consider myself an Eichler purist to a great extent.
However, I'm all for change that is carefully thought out and well implemented.
My comparison to old british motorcycles is very relevant in this manner;
If you are buying an old British bike, like an old Eichler, you either are doing so because either you are a glutton for punishment, you appreciate the design, or a combination of both.
I can't believe these days someone would just happen to stumble upon an Eichler and say, oh man forget that stucco house, we need this thing that looks like it came out of a 1960's movie.
That said, if you are someone looking to buy an Eichler you would probably want something that hasn't had decades of poor design decisions applied to it. It only leads to headaches of trying to fix the problem.
Just like when you are into old machines, you want the machine, not someone's interpretation of what that machine was supposed to be.
My main issue is with people who are too damn lazy to do their own research. I try very hard to research everything before I ask for help.
So, when I come here to do a search on, lets say radiant heat, I have to read through all the posts asking questions that have previously been answered. It's double the work.
I'm all for tearing out the paneling and replacing it with sheet rock. You can insulate properly and not be an energy waster.
If you have pristine paneling, I can fully understand removing it, insulating, putting up drywall, and then finishing with the paneling.
If you want to add a room to your Eichler, go ahead, as long as it is to code and done tastefully, or not in view from the street.
As a homeowner I have every right to ridicule changes that I have to see on a daily basis. I also have a right to be angry because you may have effected the value of my house by putting marble columns in front of your house.
Dommi, good clarification.
I agree with most of what you said with the exception of your right to ridicule. That is my point. Everyone has the right to make changes to their own homes. I would hope that one would keep the integrity of their home but if they don't ridiculing them does not accomplish anything.
I LOVE my double-pane vinyl windows! I LOVE my solid plank, hand-scraped bamboo floors! I LOVE my travertine kitchen and bathroom floors! I LOVE my freshly painted WHITE ceilings and beams!
If you want a fine British motorcar, go buy one. This is a frickin house.
I was just explaining to someone how tiring it is trying to explain one's self to the like of people like you.
You lack the intellect to understand what my point is. It's sad that there are so many people out there who have no appreciation for history.
It's funny that you "all" do the same thing when someone questions your poor decisions.
Each of you gets defensive and then you start to justify the crap you have done to your homes.
Well Yee Haw! you gone an done a good job on yer homestead!
Now, maybe I'll paint my house pink and hang a 10x30 foot american flag upside down in my front yard!
Everyone has made their point on both sides and this argument will probably keep going. I can see Dommi's side where the value of his home will be affected by any exterior renovations done on nearby houses. But I also recognize the argument that Eichlers should be regularly maintained and that there are a lot of compatible options out there to do this. Question is...is there a happy medium?
The only way that I see this coming to a reasonable conclusion is to give more power to homeowners associations and beefing up planning codes to help direct individual exterior renovations towards a more uniform neighborhood character. The options and costs can be discussed within these groups and the neighborhood to get a reasonable consensus. Otherwise, neighbors jabbing at each other may not be the best alternative.
Yes, Eichlers are historic relative to California's architectural history but I highly doubt that homeowners are willing to degrade their house and disrespect it's history on purpose. Everyone has good intentions.
Good intentions don't always lead to good decisions.
I really don't care if someone rips out all of the wood framing in their Eichler and replaces it with steel or puts drywall up or puts a hundred grand into terrazzo flooring.
What frustrates me is when people rip their exterior siding off and put up siding and windows that are in the style of Colonials and Cape Cods...
Or, when I see people painting over their original stained ceilings because they think white will look better. It is nearly impossible to undo that! there are so many other design decisions one could make that would give a similar feel.
And so comes the age old quandry of quantifying esthetics...It's a very difficult thing to define what "looks good" or "compatible" with Eichlers since there really isn't an authority on it that everyone recognizes...
I think it is quite funny that you attack us as being defensive when we try to share the changes we've made to our houses. This web site was designed as a forum for Eichler homeowners to share ideas and ask questions.
I certainly am not defensive about the changes I made. I am glad I made them and I appreciate others, such as Surfer-Architect, who freely share their changes with me. I think it is the easiest way to find out what works and doesn't work in our homes. I appreciate mid-century architecture as much as you do but I also accept that some people actually move into our neighborhood because it is nice with nice people and an excellent school district. Not everyone is driven by the architecture.
In fact, I have a neighbor who has put a picket fence and white lions outside of his house. While it is not my taste, I appreciate that it is what he feels is attractive and I respect that. Just as I will respect your pink house with the upside down American flag.