Midcentury Modern

Modernism Masterpiece

There is a great community of Eichler homeowners and midcentury modern design enthusiasts. Whether in person or online, we share home restoration/renovation tips, help each other with sourcing period-specific materials (from closet doors to doorknobs), tag one another on cool vintage finds, and give each other encouragement as we embark upon various renovation projects. One of those amazing and talented friends from our community has poured his heart and soul into yet another amazing home transformation, this time right outside the Palm Springs area --  the Bermuda Dunes Country Club Development. If you are one of the lucky folks attending Modernism Week activities this weekend, you must check out the Open House for this 3 Bed/2Bath 2700 sf midcentury modern home, built in 1960. If you are in the market for a second home in the Desert, or maybe a new first home, here it is!

Check out this exterior; from the curved walls to Desert-scaping, this home is right out of a movie set, but could be yours for the ultimate in midcentury modern living!


Here's the entry. Those Solid Vinyl Tiles (AZ Rock Cortina Grande) really make the home sparkle.


More curved wall goodness. And -- THAT SOFA is amazing!!! 

Classic modern kitchen. Clean lines, beautiful cabinetry -- and again, that curved wall!


Master Bath. So sleek.


And what better way to enjoy the Desert than this pool and outdoor space. 


Night shot. Love the lighting.

Maybe it's a good thing we aren't attending Modernism Week this year. I might just pack my bags, move in, and never leave. Congrats to our friends at Modern Restoration for another wonderful transformation. Great vision and excellent execution.

Mid-Century Home Magazine

MidCentury Home We recently discovered a wonderful online magazine, Midcentury Home, which as the name implies, is dedicated to all things mid-century modern. Recently the site has been publishing features on other Eichler owners, such as our dear friends at DearHouseILoveYou. We love their stories on historic mid-century architects such as Anshen and Allen, (who Eichler hired to design many of his communities) as well as iconic buildings such as The Barcelona Pavilion.

Today, our home and story is featured! Thank you Marco for finding our story interesting and continuously providing us with beautiful imagery and stories behind mid-century modern design!

You will find some of those treasured (I mean dreaded) "Before" photos, as well as some recent photos of our latest projects that haven't even made it to the blog yet. Enjoy!


Eichler Exterior Redux


Our "strategy" when it comes to the prioritization of our home improvement projects has been an inside-out approach. We started with the heart of the home (in our case, the kitchen), then are slowly working our way outwards. So our largest project to date is the kitchen renovation, followed by the living room and media wall, and a bit of work in the dining room. As we worked on the dining and living room, we ended up replacing both the sliding doors that go from each respective room, into our central atrium. That then led to us pulling off all the vinyl siding in our atrium, and suddenly, we found ourselves pulling siding down from our car port wall, then the beams (yes our beams are also covered) ... then trim around the garage door, with the rest of the front of our house to go.

Eichler Siding Reveal

Wait, how are we outside already?! We aren't even done with the inside!

So now that the wheels have come off (or in this case, the vinyl siding), we are starting to think about tackling our house exterior, far sooner than we had planned (and the budget is planned).  I've been gathering inspiration on exterior paint colors from all over, including our recent visits to the Orange and Sacramento Eichler neighborhoods and scouring Pinterest. We have a few paint samples to test out this weekend, but here is the color scheme I have been envisioning:

Navy and Turquoise Exterior Inspiration

We haven't seen a lot of dark navy Eichlers, but after working on the San Jose Ct. Eichler project, I have always admired the crisp, clean lines of a dark colored house with white beams and accent colors. The barn photo above is Polo Blue from Benjamin Moore, which I plan to test on some siding this weekend. The lovely Palm Springs shot is from Flikr and the two on the right are from a MCM Austin AirBnb and the Eichlerforsale website.

We also have some wonderful darker gray samples to consider, though our neighbors (who have an amazing house) next door are also gray, so we want to respectfully "complement" their house.

More to come! We still have yet to pull the rest of the tan vinyl siding off, but once we do, at least we know what color it will be.


Kid-Friendly Palm Springs Vacation


One of the many fun perks about having elementary school aged kids is taking the opportunity to vacation when the kids have an official school holiday. A few weeks ago, we decided to plan a family spring break trip, doubling the trip as a celebration for John's "big milestone birthday" birthday. :)

Some of the pre-requisites included:

  • Somewhere drivable within California
  • A location that offers golf or tennis
  • A swimming pool, enjoyable for both the grown-ups (bar service is a plus!) and the kids
  • Warm weather
  • Offers additional "sight-seeing" and activities that don't involve swimming, golfing or tennis

We landed on Palm Springs, CA as our final destination and the vacation did not disappoint.

The Living Desert & Zoo

Having been to Palm Springs a few times before (both with and without kids), we wanted to be central to the downtown shopping district, for quick access to dining and window shopping plus all that the city of Palm Springs has to offer. (In parent-speak, quick access to hotel room during melt-down moments).

Other contenders for accommodations included The Ace Hotel (we've been there with kids, and while it is fairly family-friendly, I would definitely not say family-oriented), and the Rancho Mirage Resort, located in Rancho Mirage, CA. We also considered some AirBnB homes, but everything seemed booked up in anticipation of Coachella.

We decided to book the Hyatt Palm Springs, located smack in the middle of Palm Springs main downtown area. The room was fantastic and we somehow lucked out with a suite that included an additional living room, where the kids ended up sleeping, as well as a balcony overlooking the main street.

Hyatt Palm Springs


Mornings were spent enjoying the pool, and once the "real" spring breakers invaded the pool area by about noon each day, we took that as our cue to get out of the hotel and do some sightseeing around Palm Springs. There wasn't a fancy water-park like pool (which we were considering at the Rancho Mirage Resort), but the Hyatt pool seemed good enough for the kids, which suited us just fine!

Here are some highlights of our trip and for all you modernists out there, you already know that Palm Springs is the mecca for mid-century modern architecture and design.

One of our half-day trips included a visit to The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, located in Palm Desert, about 30 minutes drive from Palm Springs. It's a lovely park/zoo in the middle of the desert, with a wide array of animals and desert plant life. The kids had an awesome time feeding giraffes, while John and I gained inspiration on desert landscaping ideas that would be perfect for our drought-ridden yards back home.

The Living Desert

Not only were there Giraffes to feed, there's a wonderful miniature train set, perfect for those little ones with train-fascination:



Our next few days included more pool time, mixed in with our own self-guided tour of Palm Springs neighborhoods, including the famed Racquet Club Estates area and a drive by the brand new Eichler and the famed Kaufman House designed by Robert Neutra.

The Kaufmann House designed by Robert Neutra

Racquet Club Estates Mid-Century Modern Home

There is fantastic home furnishings and accessories shopping in Palm Springs, especially in the design district, but we prefer (more affordable) antique and thrift shops, scoring some nice finds outside of Palm Springs at antique malls and shops located in Cathedral City and on our drive to LA, in quaint Redlands, CA.

There's even more we missed, such as riding the Aerial Tramway and visiting Joshua Tree National Park, but leaves us wanting to definitely come back again soon. Can't wait for the next school-mandated vacation!

Family-Friendly Activities in Palm Springs: Indian Canyon (Hiking)


Family-Friendly Dining

Gyoro-Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise 105 S Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs, CA 92262 otootorestaurant.com/

L'Atelier Cafe 129 La Plaza Palm Springs, CA 92262 latelier-cafe.com


Midcentury Modern Neighborhoods

Racquet Club Estates

Indian Canyon Estates

The Kaufmann Desert House, designed by Robert Neutra

Golf Courses

Indian Canyon Golf Course



Modern Wood Panel Ideas

We've always wanted to bring back some of the wood paneling that was part of the original walls of Eichler homes. Wood paneling brings a nice warmth to the room and I love the thought of integrating natural materials back into the home. Now that we have blown out the old master closet that was taking up part of the original footprint of living space, the need has come sooner than later to find a solution for paneling our new living room media wall.

We've been searching the web for different paneling solutions; here are some beautiful installations:

Warm Wood Panels in Living RoomFrom Dick Clark + Associates via Houzz

Wood Panel Ideas

From Topos Design via Houzz.

And from the nearby Eichler project I worked on, where the original Luan panels were beautifully restored:

We picked up some wood panel samples (Walnut, Mahogany, Beech and Cherry) from Macbeath in Berkeley and applied three different stains to each wood sample. Just like choosing a new paint color, we thought it might be good to see what the wood and stains look like in different lighting. So far, the Walnut Panel with Walnut Finish is one of my favorites. I love the grain pattern in the walnut and this finish is just light enough to show the gradients of the wood, but is also a nice, rich color.

Once we decide, I will stain each panel and John will have to figure out all the detailed trim work. More to come!

Eichler Wood Panel Samples

2015-01-19 20.03.39

Eichler Kitchen Renovation - Ikea Cabinet Assembly

Thanks to help from my brother, we got over the fear of assembling the gigantic mound of Ikea cabinets awaiting us in the garage. He helped lay out the assembly line for the first few cabinet bases, showing where to put the screws and parts. Once I assembled a few, working through the rest were easier to assemble, if you laid everything out the same way each time. I constructed about 10 in the first weekend. ikea-boxes-kitchen


2014-06-02 21.37.27


Eichler Kitchen Renovation - Ikea Cabinets

A few days later, our much-anticipated new 6-burner BlueStar range arrived. Thank you to our friends Stevie and Debra for waiting for the delivery for us in the middle of a work day!

Eichler Kitchen Ikea Cabinets

We placed all the base cabinets where the island will be, and the additional wall of cabinets along the far wall. John mounted 2 x 4 platform bases to underneath the cabinets for extra support. Those Ikea plastic legs are supposed to hold up, but we wanted to ensure maximum support for what will be our concrete countertops.

Another few weeks pass as we assemble all the upper cabinets, mount them, and then secure all the cabinets in place. Also thrown in there at some point (it's all a blur), John installed the plywood counter base, which will support the concrete, and so that we would have a working sink and dishwasher again, installed the sink and faucet (which we will have to re-install when we put the counters in).

We also started to hang our coveted Semihandmade cabinet doors, made from Flatsawn Walnut veneer.


Eichler Exterior - San Mateo Highlands Eichler Tour

We were pressed for time to get back to the East Bay (to start the demo of our kitchen!), so took a few more shots of exteriors before we headed back home. So many beautifully restored Eichler exteriors, updated with original paint colors and trim, along with gardens featuring drought-resistant landscaping. It was a day full of design inspiration and homage to a historical Eichler community.

Eichler Exterior 20140503-IMG_0440

Eichler Exterior

Eichler Landscaping


San Mateo Highlands Eichler Tour 2014 - Iconic design

We're so painfully behind on posts due to the kitchen/house renovation [consuming our lives]. Getting caught up on some of our favorite photos from the San Mateo Eichler Tour. This house was a favorite, with many iconic original furniture pieces and decor, and a welcoming modern outdoor space, seen from the back window wall of the house.

San Mateo Eichler

Eames Fiberglass Chairs

Modern concrete bench with Heath Ceramic Tile

Mini Outdoor Studio

EIchler Modern Landscaping

Eichler Renovation - Final Reveal

My Eichler renovation side project is finally done. Soon, it will become home to a new set of Eichler owners. I hope they absolutely love their new home! Mark and his team gave extra attention to detail to preserve so many beautiful elements of this Eichler home, while updating to modern standards. It has been a joy to work with him. Remember this? Eichler Kitchen Before:


After: Maintained the same original footprint. New Ikea Cabinets (Abstrakt), modern Galaxy Pendant globes, and new appliances. I convinced Mark (after much persuasion and many samples) to install new VCT floors, in Armstrong's Cool White. Cork and linoleum were original floor materials used in Eichler homes; I love the bright, fresh look that these floors give to the home. And super durable as well.

Modern Eichler Kitchen Renovation

Before:Eichler Kitchen Before 

After: All original windows/glass and doors. Just cleaned Eichler Renovation After

Living Room/Dining Room Before:Eichler Dining Room Before

Living Room After:Eichler Living Room Restoration

Nelson Bubble Suacer Lamp

Atrium Before:Atrium Before

Atrium After:Atrium After

Ok, tired of the befores? Here are a few more after shots - enjoy!

Eichler Renovation After

Midcentury Modern Backyard

Eichler kitchen from outside

Master Bedroom:Master bedroom



Eichler Windows

Modern outdoor sconce

Eichler Renovation

Eichler RestorationThank you Mark for giving me the opportunity to help you preserve this Eichler home back to it's original midcentury modern glory. It's a real beauty! Now we need to get to work back at our own place!

Updates include:

-New exterior paint and trim. I recommended the original dark charcoal color (after finding a spot of it in a far corner for the outside siding, under several layers of scratched paint) and the atomic orange beam accent

-All doors and windows kept original and restored and meticulously cleaned. Original door buzzer kept in tact.

-Original luan panels, oiled

-New VCT (vinyl composite tile) throughout

-New Ikea Kitchen, original footprint

-New lighting -  YLighting, Home Depot & Lowes

-New front and backyard landscaping

-New fencing

San Mateo Highlands Eichler Home Tour 2014 - Open Kitchen

20140503-IMG_0360 When we heard the announcement of the Eichler Home tour in San Mateo's Highlands neighborhood, we decided to buy tickets, which support the local Highlands Elementary school and offers the chance for a sneak peek into a handful of Eichler homes. We have friends who live in the Highlands and have never visited them, so thought it would be the perfect time to pay a visit and check out (even more) Eichlers!

Here are some of our favorite homes, designs solutions and landscapes. We met many friendly owners/home hosts, other Eichler enthusiasts and Eichler-centric service providers. And so proud to see some beautiful lighting design installations (from my place of employment) in person for the first time. More on that in a bit...

We (well, mostly John, since I was busy taking in every single detail) took a ton of photos. I'll start with photos from the first house we started with and go from there. Enjoy!

House #1:

San Mateo Eichler modern kitchen




Awesome idea - panels that slide to hide the tv:20140503-IMG_0350

I love how the doors are flush with the walls, same as when the original doors were aligned with the luan paneling:




Pocket doors - great way to block noise from the main area and the bedroom wing:20140503-IMG_0359





San Mateo Eichler



Eichler Renovation Project - Progress

Here"s the progress of my recent Eichler Renovation project. I consulted on the paint colors, after finding a scratch through the original original siding (and many layers of paint), and finding a speck of this charcoal color. I convinced them to paint the accent beam orange (from the list of original "Eichler Paint Colors" from my previous post), with a matching orange door to boot. I don"t even think I have any "before" pictures, but let"s just say, it wasn"t this pretty.

Eichler Exterior Paint

Doesn"t the house look sharp?!



Eichler Exterior Paint

The windows have all been cleaned and scraped (old layers of paint) and are SO clear that a few people have almost walked through them.20140403-2014-04-03 12.54.36

This view is neat; you can look through from both the Master Bedroom and main room/kitchen and see out to the beautiful backyard and pool.

Eichler Restoration


Kitchen has yet to be completed, but soon to come, some clean, modern white cabinets within the original L-shaped footprint. Oh, and some beautiful lighting of course. These globes are circa the 70s.

Eichler Kitchen Renovation


Can"t wait to see the shiny white floors; gives me hope for the future of our house and what it can be!

Desert Eichler - New Eichler Homes

Stop the presses. KUD Properties are building new Eichler homes, built with modern materials and to upgraded standards, but to original Eichler plans. Check out these floor plans; I did not see our 1226 Car Port model, but some of these are familiar plans in our RSM hood or in the nearby Super Eichler neighborhood:

Desert Eichler Modern Homes


And love these interior shots:



Love the windows and close to original exterior detail. Would be nice to see a little more wood panel detail (some accent walls or cabinetry), integral details to the originals, but these definitely have the modern feel to it.

The community is located in the Palm Springs area, but I could see how a new development like this could work in other locales (if you can find affordable land that is). Time for a road trip to Palm Springs, baby!

Renderings by Thomas Sylvia from Modern Homes.

Midcentury Modern Bathroom Remodel

How to update an Eichler bathroom to more modern standards? While I love the many historic aspects of an Eichler home, and especially an original one, I do enjoy the conveniences of a modern bathroom. Here is some inspiration, when we someday tackle or bathrooms, which no longer are 50s, but more cottage-style (no pictures, -- please).

Modern Bathroom Eichler

Modern Bathroom Eichler Remodel

Modern Eichler Bathroom Remodel

Top 10 Eichler Questions

I recently met a new Eichler owner, who loves his new house and can appreciate its great bones, but is new to the nuances of Eichler homes, original materials, and history. I can talk for hours (in general!) but was inspired to put together this Top 10 Eichler FAQs based off the hours and hours I have done researching our home, meeting other Eichler enthusiasts and visiting original homes:

1. What was the original Eichler flooring?

A: Original Eichler floors were linoleum or cork floors, with radiant heat below. Many Eichlers today no longer have linoleum intact, and if it is there and damaged, care must be taken to test for and/or remove asbestos.

2. What is original Eichler siding?



A: Original Eichler siding is made of wood, with thin pinstripe grooves. Original siding was stained color, not painted. More on Eichler Siding from vendors such as Eichler Siding who manufacturer siding specific for Eichler Homes.

3. What were the original exterior Eichler paint colors (stain, not paint)

Original Eichler Paint Colors

Original Eichler Paint Colors

A: There were color palettes approved for main house color and accents.



4. What were original Eichler kitchens like?

45 Wall Design

45 Wall Design

A: Traditionally paneled sliding doors, made from a multicolored lacquer paint, called Zolatone. A multi-use table usually adjoined the stove island area, that could rotate. Source 45 Wall Design

5. What is an Atrium?

A: Some Eichler models featured a courtyard in the center of the home. Our house is 1226 model that features the Atrium + 1-Car Port, while other models open up to other styles of atriums and layouts.

6. What are the original sliding doors?

A: Our last set of original doors are made by Arcadia, from aluminum.

7. What are Eichler roofs made from?

A: Original roofs were tar, paper and gravel. Yup. Tar, paper and gravel. Which for those of you in hot summer climates like us in the East Bay (90s to 100s in the summer), an upgrade to insulated (often foam) roofs are a necessity.

8. What is a swamp cooler?

A: Original Eichlers had a swamp cooler that circulated air from the top of the house back into the house. I've stood under a friend's before; it's cool and breezy on a hot day. But doesn't recirculate too well to the rest of the house. Owners often have air condition units installed, which can be mounted to the top of the house (unsightly unfortunately) or individual units discreetly installed into each room.

9. What was original Eichler lighting?

A: Eichlers are known for the original globe pendants, which hang from a metal pendant (firm, not wire). Iconic lighting such as the George Nelson Bubble Lamps were often seen in the Eichler marketing brochures and in many original Eichler homes.

Globe Pendant

Globe Pendant

George Nelson Bubble Lamp, Saucer | Photo: InteriorDesign.net

George Nelson Bubble Lamp, Saucer | Photo: InteriorDesign.net

10. Why is there a door in the bathroom?

A: Some models of Eichlers do have a door from the bathroom, to the exterior of the house. This door was usually in the second bathroom, for kids to have easy access to get cleaned up before coming back into the house.

Eichler Kitchen Cabinets

We are getting closer to the true planning stages of our kitchen renovation. Here is a photo of beautiful original Eichler kitchen from 45 Wall Design: 45 Wall Design

LOVE the paneled doors and white linoleum. Though I love the original cabinetry, anything original is sadly long gone from our house and we are likely to go with new cabinets that have a hint of the history, but with more modern bent.

I just discovered Kerf and their beautifully designed cabinetry:


A nice idea for a banquette or built-in bench: Kerf

And of course, my favorite, Semihandmade doors made specifically for Ikea cabinets: Semihandmadedoors Mahogany

Concord Eichlers Pop-Up Shop

Thanks to our RSM neighbor/friend Dan, we got the tip on a local Midcentury Modern pop-up fair, hosted by some fabulous Eichler homeowners/vintage wares collectors, Camila, Blaine and Casie.

Camila, owner of ModPop graciously opened their fabulous home for touring, great mid-mod pieces, and yummy treats (which kept the boys happy).

Here are some of new atomic-inspired finds, perfect additions to our barware collection.



And we scored a wonderful new piece of art, which goes so well with one of my "vintage" Nepacena handbag designs - the Lola Bowling Bag.



Here are their Etsy Shops:

ModPop Modmens ModApple

Afterwards, we toured the rest of the Concord Eichers, with our neighbor Christy (also new to the Eichler community), for some rainy day inspiration.

These are a few of my favorite (vintage) things...

So one of our favorite hobbies is going treasure hunting, also known as vintage sale/estate sale/yard sale scouring. I love the history that comes with vintage items and most often, the craftsmanship of these pieces is hard to find and/or replicate in modern times. Our first large purchase was this locker set, purchased at the Alameda Antiques Fair. It was painted the standard school beige, but then a few doors were sloppily post-painted turquoise blue. We stripped the entire paint layers down by sanding and grinding. I can still hear the dreaded dentist-like sounds of that project, but I love the finished product. It's great for storage and the kids each have their own cubbies for craft supplies, etc.


The white fiberglass reproduction chair was a steal for $10 at a local garage sale: 20130805-IMG_5849

I heart my Bertoia side chairs and a 50s wire patio side table, discovered at the awesome Sacramento Antiques Mall: 20130805-IMG_5839 20130805-IMG_5832

I finally found a matching chair and now have a complete set of antique school chairs. Both were in really rough shape, but nothing some paint and spray paint (for metal parts) can't cure. The table is yet another project that my Dad helped bring to life. Hairpin table legs from -- you guessed it, TableLegs.com. Table top from Macbeath. Sizing of table with chairs... a little off, but at least the kids have their own table to eat and play. 20130805-IMG_5825

This mini-display cabinet was a total score, thanks to our dear friend Katie. You know you are 1) obsessed with garage sales and 2) have awesome friends, when you receive by-the-minute texts from friends when they discover vintage items they know you will love. (And buy them for you, so you can pick up later that day). Thanks Katie!! We love it. (and you). The fabric canvas was Ikea fabric found at a neighbor's garage sale, stapled onto an old canvas frame. 20130805-IMG_5808

That's my very first Minolta camera (from my Dad to me) on the left and a Brownie I got for John up in Placerville, another antiques haven. 20130805-IMG_5815

Vintage ice bucket, another garage sale find, thanks to Katie.  20130805-IMG_5819

The famous Pachinko Machine, which after losing out to a cute family at another garage sale, John was determined to have our own and found on Craigstlist. I'll let him post about the history and virtues of the Pachinko Machine, especially a working one. 20130805-IMG_5820 Resources:

Alameda Point Antiques Fair 57th Street Sacramento Antiques Mall Placerville Downtown Local garage sales (drive-by signs, Craigslist) Estate Sales (drive-bys and pre-sale notification lists)