What Color is Your Eichler?

It's best to keep things simple and earthy for your home's next exterior paint project
Photos: David Toerge
Lou Palladino with one of his Eichler projects.

The Eichler design and its construction suggest a specific paint-selection strategy when it comes to successfully coloring the home's exterior siding, fascia boards, and other trim.

Because of the preponderance of glass walls and windows, says Peninsula-based painting expert Lou Palladino, continuity with interior ceiling color becomes a factor to consider. The various color shades presented by the changing light of day also play a role.

"They have vertically grooved siding, [and the shining sun] tends to leave shadow lines from the grooves," says Palladino of the classic Eichler siding.

Palladino has learned a lot, over the past two decades, about painting mid-century modern homes, and Eichlers in particular, through his Peninsula-based company Palladino Painting.

Sometimes, in choosing the body color for a home, homeowners will be inclined toward a soft, pale hue, such as a light cream. Unless his client is positive of the choice, Palladino says, he tries to discourage it, politely suggesting alternative options with phrases like "not customary" and "most Eichler owners would not do that."

"In my opinion it's too light [using cream colors]. The Eichler was designed to blend in with the earth," he explains. "I try to encourage people to keep it simple with the body color."

Palladino generally recommends darker earth tones for virtually every exterior feature of an Eichler except certain beams, eaves, and the home's architectural 'accent features,' including the front door. For the body of the house, he often likes the look of a deep taupe or gray.

"With the irregular trim, they just 'hold' color better when they're darker," Palladino says, expressing a similar preference for very dark hues on the fascia boards. He also favors painting any foundation, where more than four inches are visible, black or charcoal gray on an Eichler.

"It creates a nice, clean line at the bottom," he says. "It's a good look."

Palladino suggests homeowners save the brilliant hues in the palette of traditional Eichler colors for the front door and the 'accent beam' over the garage or carport. For those features, he often likes a bright orange or turquoise.

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