There's a New eero In Town: Mesh WIFI Commercial

Sometimes production companies use our house for commercial shoots. Recently, our friends at Near Future, used our space to shoot video for a mesh WIFI product called eero. (And, yes, it may have been inspired by Eero Saarinen.)

At 00:30 you'll find our lovely blue Fireclay backsplash! Cool product, too. We could use some wi-fi improvement at our house! 

DIY Eichler Grasscloth Closet Doors

One of the (many) unfortunate things that happened to our house before we became its owners is that each and every closet had been altered in some (bad) way. And by altered, I mean: one closet (the hallway one, which is seen from the entryway) never had doors to begin with, nor any shelves or rods for storage. The bedroom closets were converted into these odd triangular shaped closets, by (trying) to connect two closets into one, and a swing door entry into each closet. (Yeah... still trying to figure that one out.)  We once had a huge awkward master closet that was built from our master bedroom, eating up space into the family room. That closet had a nice arched entryway. 

Eichler Guest Bed Closet

But I digress! ... We eventually "fixed" one of the triangular closets in the guest bedroom first, by knocking out the fake angled wall that had been put up in between two closets. Then once we had a "normal" sized closet opening, realized we would need closet doors. We really liked the look of the closet doors that were included in original Eichler homes, which was a shoji-like panel (zolotone trim) with grasscloth panels. 

It seemed kind of crazy to build them from scratch, so at first, we jumped on a Craigslist post for someone getting rid of their original closet doors. What seemed like a great idea turned out to be a dud, as they didn't fit our model at all (they came from another Eichler neighborhood) and plus the doors were kind of old (and musty), so ended up in the trash. D'oh.

Eichler Hallway Closet

For the hallway closet, I wanted a specific "drop-station" area for the whole family. The kids seem to do fine hanging up their backpacks every day on the same hook at school, so I figured I would try to apply this habit at home. We only have two kids, but what seems like 2.5 backpacks per kid! The hook system seems to be working (we have two rows), and then we made some wood shelves, where we keep craft and school supplies. 

We look at the corner where the closet is every day from the kitchen. And what used to be a huge clutter mess, now has someplace for everyone to hang their hat (and packs), and then we can close the doors for a zen-like look. 

Eichler Master Closet

Three-panel system on an off-the-shelf dual rail track.

Three-panel system on an off-the-shelf dual rail track.

Finishing The Closet Doors

Once each door was completed, we decided to oil the door frames, to keep them natural looking. We added grasscloth wallpaper to the masonite panels, for an "old-school" kind of look, adding the cross bar trim detail, similar to the originals. John mounted a standard sliding door track available from the big box stores. We are thrilled to have doors that fit in the original style of the house, and fit perfectly in the openings. 

Behind The Scenes DIY Closet Doors

John was pretty determined to build them, and lucky for us, we have many industrious Eichler friends who tackled the project themselves, so we could learn from them! We used Karolina's post as a guide, building out frames, with Masonite backing. This posts consists of photos from two separate door building sessions.

Angled closet wall had to go, as was a good hiding spot for the kids.

Angled closet wall had to go, as was a good hiding spot for the kids.

The lavender trim was fun.

The lavender trim was fun.

Put up Zipwalls and break out the sledge hammer!

Put up Zipwalls and break out the sledge hammer!

Demolition complete.

Demolition complete.

We had to extend the cork flooring.

We had to extend the cork flooring.

The Kregs pocket screw jig made things pretty simple. Pocket screw joints aren't exactly a fine woodworking joinery technique, but for my level of time and ability, it fit the bill.

The first time around, I routed out some space to drop in the Masonite fiberboard, but I've also constructed the doors without this additional step.

The first time around, I routed out some space to drop in the Masonite fiberboard, but I've also constructed the doors without this additional step.

Douglas Fir from Lowes - FYI these didn't exactly match original specs for wooden Eichler doors, but the closest thing I could find off the shelf without cutting.

Douglas Fir from Lowes - FYI these didn't exactly match original specs for wooden Eichler doors, but the closest thing I could find off the shelf without cutting.

Oiled with Watco natural finish oil.

Oiled with Watco natural finish oil.

Grasscloth wallpaper applied to Masonite backer.

Grasscloth wallpaper applied to Masonite backer.

Test fitting.

Test fitting.

The Master Bedroom Eichler Closet Doors

This was the behind the scenes from the second set of doors we made. Instead of routing out a channel for the Masonite backing, it was placed directly on top. The wood we got wasn't quite thick enough to staple the backing without going through, and also required the cross trim pieces to be half as thin by carefully ripping them down, which also made stapling difficult. 

 

 

Modernism Week 2017 Palm Springs

The Kennedy Compound

Social media guide, @KellyGoLightly, offered up her 6,500 sq. ft. home as a partner/client for this year's annual Christopher Kennedy Compound, which celebrates and fosters appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs.

The Racquet Club Estates

 

The Signature Home Tour

1940s Kitchen Transformation

We have eagerly been awaiting the final reveal for our 1940s Kitchen Renovation located in the East Bay. Our clients Melissa and Jake approached us last us fall to help re-imagine their kitchen and living/dining area. Melissa wrote in an email early on, "The kitchen has been driving us nuts since we moved in this year, and we can't wait to start remodeling it!" The couple already had such a great sense of style and were amazing partners to collaborate with on re-designing their home.

The original home was built in the 1940s, and consisted of a small kitchen area, which was cramped for daily use, and the layout included a few different closed off areas, such as the pantry and laundry area. The couple desired a larger, more open space, since they love to cook and entertain, plus with a new baby, knew that an open, functional space would better suit their needs. 

BEFORE

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

AFTER

Good-bye closed off spaces and rooms, and hello to the newly transformed Kitchen!

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

The new design incorporates many materials found in this 1940s period of architecture and homes, which is part of our design philosophy when we approach a home renovation like this one. Natural materials, such as Semihandmade's Flatsawn Walnut and soapstone counters, pair with more modern touches, such as the large center Island.

We installed classic small mosaic hexagon floor tile from the front entryway all the way into the Kitchen, which was a common flooring found in apartments and homes from this era. One of my favorite design details is the floor transition from Kitchen to Living Room. Here we eased the transition with an organic flow, from tile to new Cork Flooring:

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

I already knew I loved working with Melissa and Jake, but when they wanted to put in a new Bar Area, I was super excited! Anyone who loves cocktails like I do is a friend of mine and I was thrilled with the opportunity to install a pattern from Fireclay Tile's hand-painted tile collection as a feature backsplash for the space, which really helps make the new bar shine.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

Thank you Melissa and Jake for the opportunity to help transform your home! What a fun and collaborative project it has been! 

Special thanks to the lovely Kara from Styled with Life, who helped us to make our shots just perfect on Photo Shoot day! 

Destination Eichler Awarded Regional Winner of The 2017 BlueStar Design Competition

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

WALNUT CREEK, CA, March 16, 2017  Destination Eichler, LLC, interior design firm specializing in mid-century modern restoration projects, was announced as a regional winner of the 2nd Annual BlueStar Design Competition. The contest, which attracted entries from across the country, honors design professionals who incorporate BlueStar® products into innovative, beautiful kitchen designs. 

BlueStar, manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home, assembled a jury to include award-winning designer and Elle Décor A-Lister, Eric Cohler, and Kim Lewis, best known as the Lead Designer behind ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and last year’s grand prize winner, Heidi Piron, of Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry in Summit, NJ.

The winning kitchen design was crafted for a 1959 Mid-Century Modern home, and used a mix of natural materials, such as Flatsawn Walnut and Concrete, melded with European style modern cabinetry, stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range and designer lighting.

A George Nelson CSS Unit Lives On

Our friends Amy and Arnaud recently bought their first home, an Eichler in the Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael. We have enjoyed following their progress on various home restoration projects. Since moving in last year, they have hit the ground running, installing new VCT Flooring, restoring the fireplace to original CMU, and sanding/refinishing several walls of Luan paneling. Did I mention they just had a second child too?! I recently helped them redesign the Kids/Guest bathroom and Laundry Area, which once fully completed, can't wait to share!

I posted this photo on Instagram a few months back, of their newly restored Fireplace. If you didn't see the before, just imagine mirrors, ledges, and lots of granite covering the original fireplace. With a new gas insert and beautiful original CMU blocks exposed, it's now one of the best lounge spots in the house!

I recently stopped in and had to share photos and a special story about this gorgeous 1967 George Nelson CSS Unit, which they installed with the help of Amy's father Gary.

This particular shelving unit came from Amy's Grandparents' Home, in the iconic Lake Point Tower in Chicago:

Lake Point Tower under construction in the 1960s, via Lake Point Tower Condominium Association website.

Lake Point Tower under construction in the 1960s, via Lake Point Tower Condominium Association website.

Her Grandparents moved into the 24th floor apartment even before the building was topped off. Amy shared, "Normally these units weren't found in residences unless you had a designer, which she had. They were mostly modular office units." 

I love that this piece will continue to live on with the family for another generation. Some of my favorite elements of this George Nelson CSS Unit include the black doors, paired with walnut. Such a classic combination. I have another mid-century project I'm working on that you may see this same pairing! 

Thank you Amy and Arnaud for sharing this special story with us and we continue to be inspired by your ongoing efforts to bring back the details of your beautiful mid-century modern home!

 

 

Flush Door Jambs and Hidden Hinges

Flush Door Jambs

Modern details like flush doors have been included in original Mid Century Modern construction, but have improved over the years. If you have the luxury of replacing the entire jamb and willing to refinish drywall, you can opt to use a new flush door jamb using hidden hinges. The not only provides for a sleek finish, but these modern assemblies can allow for complete 180 degree action.

EZYJamb is a split-type door jamb manufactured from cold rolled steel to produce a strong and secure assembly.

The EZYJamb Classic Adjust EZC, comes with perforated sides for flush finishing which produces a contemporary flush finish door jamb with clean lines and inconspicuous detail.

The completed jamb is flush finished and can be painted in with the whole wall area to fully conceal any fixing, achieving simple clean lines around the door face. 

The incorporation of reinforced edges overcomes the continual damage door jambs are subjected to by normal everyday use.

The unique design of EZYJamb combines visual appeal, strength and versatility.

The door, itself, will need concealed or hidden hinges, that will be mortised using a proprietary jig supplied by the hinge manufacturer, so it would be advised to have your carpenter source the plank door, hinge, jig, and door jamb products they are comfortable using.

This door allows for 180 degree action, which in this case was required to offer the hall bathroom an outswing, while folding out of the way for someone passing by. 

This door allows for 180 degree action, which in this case was required to offer the hall bathroom an outswing, while folding out of the way for someone passing by. 

 

Other options:

http://www.invisiframe.com/

The Quest for a New Rug

We used to have a lot more rugs in the house, but eventually they either got super grimy and/or didn't last very long and we have been without any rugs for quite some time. I also prefer the ease of sweeping dirt and dust away with a broom and dust pan, versus vacuuming. But our home is very "live" in terms of sound and we figured a new rug might help to dampen the sound a tiny bit. (Hard to do with two boys who run around with Nerf guns and Light Sabers all the time, but we thought we would try anyway). 

It was fun to see via a question we posted to Instagram, all the great suggestions on where folks like to buy their rugs. From Overstock, to Allmodern, and FLOR tiles to Ikea and Target, there is an endless supply of well-designed rugs. I contemplated bright and bold, to thick and fuzzy and everything in between, but also had budget and quality as my top priorities.

If you are a Bay Area local, you probably already know about it, but if not, Williams-Sonoma Brands has a huge warehouse in Alameda, CA, filled with merchandise from all their brands/stores: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma. It's only open on the weekends and they receive new inventory each week, so you have to try your luck with each visit to see if there's anything there that catches your fancy. I scored this past weekend, finding this 9' x 12' Marquis Wool Rug from West Elm at waaay less than you can buy online or at the store. We rolled it up and threw it in the SUV. (You can pay extra for delivery, but worth it if you have a big car or truck to take your goodies home same day).

So here is our new Rug in our Family/Living Room; our youngest started rolling all over it the moment we laid it out in the room, so I guess that means it's been Kid-Approved!

I know it's really light in color, which is a scary thought, but we all love the nice, plush, thickness of the wool. We take shoes off in the house too, but it will most likely be me to be the first one to spill a big glass of Red Wine on it!

Until then, we're enjoying having something soft underfoot; and a nice place to sit down on too.