Heartbreak Over White Paint - Page 2

Blinding white interiors continue to trend— but there’s a price to pay for the ‘milky way’
Fridays on the Homefront
Another factor attributing to the mounting trend towards snow-white interiors has to do with evolving tastes, and an ever-changing array of design choices. Above: Eichler home today. Photo: courtesy Thomas Westfall

As Westfall puts it, "I don't know if people want to live in a museum in 2024, and that's why I think you're seeing the homes changing…they're evolving."

Eichler homeowners are also insulating the walls of their homes, given the rising costs of gas and electricity, and risk from fire. While many of them have commendably added replacement lauan, seeing vintage paneling smattered with white paint is not only a sad sight, it's irreversible.

"Couldn't you have painted another wall?" Westfall asks. "I constantly preach to people that there are no Eichler police but try your best to be respectful of the design."

"I understand that we don't live in 1960 anymore, I get that," he adds. "But keep in mind that if you had a classic car, you may want to put in updated brakes and suspension, but do you really want to alter the design?"

Fridays on the Homefront

One recent victim is the Vista Hermosa, a 1955 Long Beach home designed by architect Lloyd Wright.

"If it was how Lloyd Wright would have done it is, at best, debatable," points out Tim Grobaty, in his Long Beach Post column covering the property when it hit the market in 2023.

"The bathrooms are shiny and modern but sort of jarring in their departure from Lloyd Wright's style of using colors that occur in nature. In fact, most of the house's interior…doesn't seem Wright-style."

Grobaty spoke with experts in architecture and preservation who "agreed that it would take a lot of money to bring the property up to a faithful version of the original house."

Fridays on the Homefront
Eichler realtor/homeowner Thomas Westfall: "I constantly preach to people that there are no Eichler police, but try your best to be respectful of the design." Photo: Rory Earnshaw

Without being able to study the original design intent, homebuyers who are unable to find a home with an intact interior will no longer have a template to replicate original features. Restoration can be nearly impossible, as well as cost prohibitive, when it comes to bringing back wood, tile, and other compromised surfaces.

Over the years, the whitewashing of interiors has only gained traction, with HGTV shows featuring trendsetting celebrity designers whose goal is rarely to preserve anything original.

But here at the Eichler Network, our goal is to see that architecture and design knowledge continues to be shared. Our hope is that in the future we'll see more care taken to assess the individuality of a home, and to preserve rather than obliterate original, character-defining features.

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