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Can one build an Eichler today from scratch..

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Joined: Nov 4 2003

I was pondering a fantasy and was curious about what others think.

I have had my eye on a lot in Foster City where an Eichler had burned and was bulldozed. That was about 3 years ago. A new owner bought it about a year ago and planned to rebuild a house that was not Eichler-like at all. FCLoonie wrote about it earlier. He planned a 2 story monster-ish house. It is not very pretty.

The lot is for sale now, he gave up. With the asking price includes those plans. But if I could buy the lot, I'd be curious if I could actually get past all the building codes and city regulations and build a modern Eichler there.

By that I mean aesthetically, and construction-wise, could one achieve a pretty close match today? And use modern materials and methods where it makes sense. I think probably with the care and management of materials. Though Redwood is pretty pricey today. Not sure one could find Doug Fur that's cut to match the ceiling decking. The windows could be updated with double pane. This is a flat roof Eichler with an atrium and 2 car garage.

One aspect that I was interested in as well is the slab. It's still there and I can see the outlines of the walls still and where the tile mastic was. The radiant heat manifolds are there, but bent over and twisted. The garage floor and atrium concrete is all there, too. Looks fine to my eye. Even the fireplace base it still there. I am guessing building codes would not allow it to be reused. If it could or a new one had to be poured, one could use modern plastic radiant heat tubing.

I recall another Eichler was rebuilt in Sunnyvale or near-by a few years ago, so I suppose it's possible. Anyway, just pondering! I have my Eichler to take care of already!

Joined: Feb 28 2007

^ is the the Eichler on Sage Ct in the Fairbrae tract? i love that home! it looks like eichler himself came in a timemachine to build it.

Joined: Mar 21 2003

No, the recreated Eichler is on Susquehanna Court. I believe that KC Marcinik was the architect on the rebuild.

The one on Sage Court was not an Eichler reconstruction but rather a whole new house with a current take on the esthetic. The architect on that was D.Guy Ayers.

By the way there is now an extensive remodel of an Eichler on Quince Court that is also being done by D.Guy Ayers.

Joined: Apr 19 2007

many years ago, i attended a lecture by j mays -- lead design for ford at the time (lead designer on the new VW beetle as well) -- who was describing the original inspiration for the ford thunderbird. he remarked that the designers in the post-war ford design shop looked to jet airplanes for inspiration. 50 years later -- in the redesign of the tbird, the designers looked to... the 50 year old tbird for inspiration. i thought to myself, "why not look back to jet airplanes... and not vintage ones, but jets today?"

just like you can build a new vintage tbird from NOS and repro parts, you can certainly recreate every beam in the original eichler, but why not look back to the original ethos? what would joseph eichler hire claude oakland to design today? what would ashen and allen do (WWAAD)?

but to more to your point, on a recent trip to palm springs, we noticed that several developers are building MCM recreations -- using modern materials ( so it could certainly be done.

Joined: Jun 28 2003

We had a chance to visit some of the new homes in Palm Springs last year.

There was one development called B Bar H Ranch in Seven Palms Valley. (Just outside Palm Springs) The area wasn't the best however the home design was very modern.

So to answer your question this developer was able to build a Modern Home and meet California standards for new home construction.

Joined: Mar 25 2003

You can check out the Herold House that K.C. Marcinik designed in the July/August 2002 issue of This Old House. It is possible to build a reproduction Eichler as long as you have someone who knows what they're doing. As the article points out, Eichlers have way more window area than is currently allowed by code. Therefore, the architect has to do things like add extra insulation and get energy credits for the radiant slab. (This means the slab will need be redone with an energy efficient radiant system.)

As for building something in the spirit of an Eichler, you could look into one of the new modern prefabs like the Breeze House by Michelle Kaufman.

Weiler Homes is offering a prefab version of an unbuilt Case Study House designed by Ralph Rapson:

A complete list of modern prefabs can be found at

However, the reason for doing an Eichler is that it would obviously fit into the neighborhood and they are well thought out houses since no other architecturally designed house have ever been continually improved upon over 13,000 times.

Joined: Nov 4 2003

Lots of good replies here. I am in the design field, so I can definitely be one who'd rather do a new design effort, then copying an existing design.

My point was in reference to this particular plot of land. An Eichler had burned down, and it's in a neighborhood of Eichlers. Unfortunately, in this area, precident in the past was that another home was rebuilt with no regard to the other houses on the design side. And other parts of Foster City have allowed Eichler remodels to add a second story and so alter the house, it's no longer a pure design anymore, but a mish-mash.

This particular situation has a new owner of the land who wants to build a 2 story monster house, totally out of character with the area and not very attractive design too. So my fantasy was to buy the land from him and try to make it right with an Eichler restoration from the ground up.

It would be very cool if that could be done! If only I had the money! :)

Joined: Apr 10 2003

Now you might need ada access (ie disabled etc) hallway width, baths etc.
dbl. paned windows (and no more than 54 in. from floor)
full insulation
probably drywall under the paneling for fire protection
smoke alarm and sprinklers if local codes require it
And of course you probably can't have the woodburning fireplace anymore
only a gas log.

I'd say it's doable but since it's not the norm of what is built now looks like you would have some hoops to jump thru and spend some +time/money to do it. As as other posters commented it has been done on those which burned down both in the bay area and in so. cal. I did see the one in Orange county and it looked great and from the front it looks pretty much the same only a 2 car gar instead of the 1 gar/1 carport.

Wishing for modern home.

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