Man from Redneck Modern

Popular blogger chronicles the renovation of his Concord Eichler—but not for profit
Fridays On the Homefront
The Concord Eichler of Hunter Wimmer and Casie Permenter (pictured here) was the inspiration for Wimmer's ambitious blog, now in its eighth year. House photos: courtesy
Fridays On the Homefront
Hunter and Casie today. Photo: Stephen Austin Welch
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront
After: Inside the Redneck Modern house after the renovation.

Enjoying life in an Eichler requires a certain sensibility—part appreciation of modern design and part patience and willingness to tackle the challenges of a half-century-old home.

As the Internet has grown, so has its online community of Eichler lovers. Few fans of the lifestyle have contributed more to it online than Hunter Wimmer, Eichler lover and liver whose epicenter is Concord's Rancho del Diablo neighborhood.

For Wimmer, an experienced do-it-yourselfer and San Francisco design instructor, is more than just another of his one-dozen—count 'em—blog sites. It is the one he does specifically for community.

"Some things can be monetized, and some things probably shouldn't," Wimmer says of RedneckModern, one of the first blogs dedicated to mid-century modern when launched in 2007. Although he sees the potential to tie his site to a profit motive, it defies why he started it. "I don't think all the Web should be like that," he says.

Wimmer had a community blog about his West Oakland neighborhood when he and wife Casie were househunting and toured an Eichler in "terrible condition" in Rancho del Diablo during 2007.

"Casie and I looked at each other and said, 'This is perfect!'" And RedneckModern was born.

"We started the blog mainly as a way to keep our friends and family in touch with what we were doing," says Wimmer, who works by day as associate director of graphic design at the Academy of Arts San Francisco. "I just started it because I thought people would want to see pictures."

"We had a demolition party instead of a housewarming party," he says of the restoration process, which involved 18 months "without a functional kitchen. We ended up doing a lot of hot dogs and takeout…It was a protracted process."

"With these houses, of course, it's like peeling an onion," he confesses.

And every layer of skin and peel—and the tears it wrought—is on the blog. To Wimmer's surprise, "Then it just turned into something other people seem to care about!"