This Eichler Fit the Family - Page 2

Unique custom design in the Oakland Hills reflects owners’ personalities—and dreams

 

Fridays on the Homefront
The living area in the Lichtenstein Eichler is expansive, open, and airy, with light from a window wall and from high clerestory windows. Photo: Dave Weinstein

Besides the home's plan and materials, which vary from typical Eichler tract homes, this home is unusual because it was designed by John Brooks Boyd, not by one of Joe Eichler's usual architect designers.

Boyd, who designed several models for Eichler Homes during his tenure, primarily worked for the company as the in‐house architect, not designing homes but handling such matters as adjusting homes to fit sites, as Joe's 'troubleshooter,' in the words of one architect who'd worked with him.

 

Fridays on the Homefront
Robert and Caroline's offspring, Nancy and David Lichtenstein today in the living room of their Eichler home, which still retains its original looks. Photo: Dave Weinstein

The house very much captures the personalities and interests of her parents, Nancy says. "She wanted everything to feel very natural. It's all redwood and glass. Brick. Tiles."

"She liked having a secluded environment," Nancy says of her mom. "And she and our father both did a lot of the plantings. They were both very interested in a natural habitat and native plants. And they were involved in nature in his and her own way—my mom as a docent trainer for 40 years at the Oakland Museum, and Dad as a volunteer at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden."

 

  Fridays on the Homefront
Architect John Brooks Boyd, who designed the Lichtenstein home while working for Eichler. Photo: Eichler Network Archive
 

"The Eichler lifestyle appealed to her immensely, and she wanted to be very much involved in the construction of the house and the layout," David says.

"She was here on the site, probably just about every day during construction," Nancy says, photographing workers pouring the slab, framing the walls, installing the roof. She also kept her eye on things to make sure all was built according to plan; and stepping in, for example, when the workers were installing counters at the wrong height.

 

Fridays on the Homefront
The Lichtenstein home's architectural plans are proof positive about who designed and built their home. Photo: Dave Weinstein

The home proved to be ideal for the family, David and Nancy say, with one bedroom for each of the four children (one of whom has passed away) and plenty of space for a pair of pianos, periodic entertainment, and other activities.

Robert died in 2010 at age 91 while enjoying one of his favorite activities, a long trek. For years, even when using a walker, he would traverse many miles, sometimes from the Oakland Hills to the city of Alameda.

Caroline died two years later. Until the end, the family's Eichler remained her favorite place. "My mom," David says, "other than when she was working in the museum, she didn't particularly want to be anywhere else."

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