Eichler's X-100 Goes Online

New website details history of experimental steel house with rare photos and lots more
Fridays on the Homefront
The handsome, new Eichler X-100 website—filled with history, rare photos, the original 1956 newsreel and brochure, and lots of surprises—was recently unveiled. Above is part of the website's home page. Photo: Sabrina Huang

For Marty Arbunich, building the Eichler Network as its founder and publisher the past three decades has been like a chef concocting a multi-course meal, with equal parts precision and creativity.

While many aspects of American life have slowed to a standstill this crazy year of COVID-19, the Network's head has been able to prepare and present what may be his online piece de resistance.

"My hat's off to him," says veteran communications specialist Kay Voyvodich of KV+Media about Arbunich, pointing to the latest development in the renewal of Joe Eichler's X-100 experimental steel-framed house, built in 1956 in the San Mateo Highlands.

Fridays on the Homefront
The entrance to the X-100 today, the National Register plaque in the foreground. Photo: Sabrina Huang

Voyvodich is the designer of the X-100's latest chapter, a handsome, new website dedicated to the house that she says for Arbunich is "a representation of everything he's done in one building, in one website."

In 2003, Arbunich and then-partners Adriene Biondo and John Eng purchased the one-of-a-kind Eichler, and the preservation-minded trio didn't waste any time putting a multi-step 'renewal plan' in place for the decade that followed before Arbunich took over as sole owner in 2013.

Three years later, in 2016, Arbunich got the X-100 placed on the National Register of Historic Places and began a two-year 'X-100 Renewal Project,' extensively and meticulously restoring and rehabilitating the home.

Fridays on the Homefront
At the X-100 construction site, 1956: (L-R) Ned Eichler, A Quincy Jones, and Joe Eichler.

"We had a phased ten-step plan from the very beginning, and creating a dedicated website was one of those steps," Arbunich recalled of the process.

As for origins of the site content, he harkened back to some open houses hosted at the X-100 in the early 2000s that were laid out with a number of exhibit display panels: "The text from those panels, most of them, became the core of the information used to construct the pages of the new website."

Of course, once Arbunich began to poke around various sources for content, several remarkable visual artifacts about the house surfaced. One is a newsreel from 1956 by Universal International News that features the unusual structure in a whirwind 55-second production that was originally shown between feature films at movie theaters across the country.

Fridays on the Homefront
X-100 owners past and present met up at the X-100 during the '2017 San Mateo Highands Eichler Home Tour.' L-R: Present owner Marty Arbunich with former co-owners Adriene Biondo and John Eng.

"I had never known it existed, and I was amazed when I stumbled across it several years ago," Arbunich bubbles about the surprising film discovery, wherein the X-100 takes its place in history sandwiched between reports about the Freedom Road revolt against Soviet control in Hungary and the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya.

"A houseful of new ideas in homes," the newsreel announcer declares. "That's the Eichler X-100: a house for tomorrow taking the pulse of today's prospective homeowner…Everything so modern it takes your breath away—and your money too, if you bought one!"