‘White Blight’ Not Alright - Page 2

Readers fire back with passion following uproar over whitewashed MCM interiors
Fridays on the Homefront
This Eichler unfortunately got the 'soulless' treatment. Photo: courtesy Open Homes Photography Inc. Copyright © 2021.

Instead of painting everything white, look to the subtleties in paint palettes and stains to find tones that make the most of your home's architecture, and highlight its best features.

Thinking of painting your tongue-and-groove redwood ceiling? Then consider this, from reader Joe Barthlow: "Horrible trend, especially in an Eichler where use of color is a key element. A Marin realtor once told me, 'You can ruin a $100K tongue-and-groove ceiling with a $20 can of white paint.' Please, everyone, continue preservation education or these homes will be remodeled out of existence."

Prized as mid-century Eichler features, many of the homes' tongue-and-groove ceilings were originally a neutral gray, stained redwood. Once they're painted over, it's extremely difficult and expensive to restore them. The same goes for Philippine mahogany paneling, and brick or block fireplaces.

  Fridays on the Homefront

Our approach to renovating and restoring an architectural home is to preserve its originality and beauty while shaping it to our own surroundings and personal stories. Perhaps the best advice is to lean into the layers of history. Research and rediscover your home before embarking on irreversible changes that you may later regret.

Information is gold, and making informed decisions is invaluable regardless of the way you choose to go. If you just purchased your home, before lifting a paintbrush or hammer, take your time to live in it, study its details, and discover what makes it special.

Mid-century modern homes are prized for their use of natural wood. If your goal is to lighten the wood, consider restoring it, or applying a sheer coat of white or gray stain. Adding additional skylights can also work wonders.

Be creative in your approach to renovating. Drywall can be easily painted, but consider not painting over natural wood, brick, or block. Those types of alterations can be difficult to reverse.


Fridays on the Homefront
The above scene is a step in the right direction. Two walls of mahogany paneling are used to nice effect, offsetting the stark white that surrounds them. Photo: courtesy Modern Homes Realty

We often wonder what Joe Eichler would have to say about the dramatic changes seen in Eichlers today. Oh, my!

So much of the restoration work being done in the 21st century is forward thinking, but when does following a trend go too far? Do we really want a home that looks more like it's ‘in the spirit of an Eichler' when we can preserve the real thing?

By the way, one dissenter bravely stood up in the midst of the Facebook furor, seemingly annoyed with it all. "Get over your ‘Bad Selves,'" he interjected. "It's perfectly fine but gets overused," he said, dismissing the no-more-white-paint chatter.

Thanks to the many readers, on both sides of the fence, who joined us on Facebook (and Instagram too) to share their insights and perspectives. We invite you to return and keep valuable dialogue like this going.

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