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.

Flooring options for Eichler renovations


We've received a few inquiries about our VCT installation and folks often ask us what other flooring materials would work well in Eichler homes, so we thought it might be handy to put together a flooring roundup. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing flooring.

1. Budget is often top of the list, including per square foot cost, demolition of old floors, and installation fees.

2. Durability and maintenance also need to be considered (Do you have kids or pets?).

3. Style -- how true to midcentury do you want to go? Original Eichler homes were built with both tile (original was Asbestos Tile, now it is Vinyl Composite Tile) and cork flooring.

4. Current flooring and the impact/cost of removing it or prep work needed to lay new flooring over it.

5. Radiant Heating: Does your radiant still work and if not, would you want to have new radiant put in before installation of new floors? We found this post on another site that goes into greater detail with material types and radiant flooring.

Here are a few materials we've seen in Eichler homes:

1. Vinyl Composite Tile or VCT Flooring

Armstrong's VCT in Cool White from one of our past clients (and the tile we installed in our house):


The cost for VCT can't be beat, at less than a $1/square foot (Home Depot/Lowes), not including installation. The tile needs to be properly sealed and coated with a few layers of polish on top and you should be good for several years. Depending on the wear and tear of your floors, the polish can be stripped and re-applied. You can have VCT professionally installed or this project can be doable as a DIY project. Watch out for presence of Asbestos on original tile; ensure testing of presence of Asbestos and if present, Asbestos removal might be necessary, or some tile over their original tile.

Our concrete sub-floor was a mess after removing the old tile and from prior radiant leak damage, so there was extensive prep work and leveling we had to complete before installing the new VCT. This can be an added cost for prep work (Home Depot wanted at least $3K just to prep our floors before installation).

There are a myriad of colors of VCT, from the cool whites to  grays, to deep black, all of which look beautiful in an Eichler.

Here is an example of the dark VCT from a beautiful Concord Eichler that was on the market last summer. Photos via Ken Fox and East Bay Modern and styled by our talented friends at Redux Stage Co.

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2. Solid Vinyl Tile - SVT Flooring

Another great option is also a composite tile, which is close to a terrazzo tile look. (I love (real) Terrazzo tile!)

Our friend Blaine at Modern Restoration (former Eichler owner and now Palm Springs homeowner/renovator extraordinaire) recently installed Cortina Grande Solid Vinyl Tile in his Palm Springs home. It looks amazing, is closer in look to true terrazzo and seems relatively affordable too - under $5/sf installed. SVT is installed the same way as VCT. Isn't this beautiful? These come in larger sizes too - 16" x 16" which really look stunning. Blaine mentioned this tile looks very close to his Eichler's original tile.

Cortina Grande Solid Vinyl Tile

Cortina Grande Solid Vinyl Tile

Cortina Grande Tile Terrazzo

Cortina Grande Tile Terrazzo

3. Polished Concrete Floors

We've seen a number of Eichlers and midcentury homes with polished concrete floors and love the final look. Here are some photos of a Castro Valley Eichler (thank you Debbie!)

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Polished Concrete Floors in Eichler

Polished Concrete Floors in Eichler

Labor cost for polishing concrete is much higher. Any cracks or lines in your concrete could be visible (though that is neat too, as you get to see the floor's history) and there are a number or stains and applications that can be applied that can alter the final look. Our friends are currently going through some radiant leak issues in their Eichler and unfortunately have had cuts made into their recently beautifully polished floors in search of leaks. :(

4. Cork Floors

Cork was also installed in Eichlers back in the day.

Ours is a dark color, which we installed in the bedroom areas of our home:

Cork Flooring Eichler

Cork Flooring Eichler

It's very gentle on the feet, but so gentle that it gets scratched easily (especially by little Matchbox cars). Cost can be in the $3/sf (before installation). Ours is called "dolerite ripple" from icorkfloor.com and came in 12 " x 36" planks.

4. Hardwood Floors

We've seen hardwood in various types/stains installed over the concrete sub-floor, from whitewashed grays to light or dark bamboo. Hardwoods can be very durable and costs vary, depending on wood type. We've installed bamboo floors like the photo below in our past home, for around $6/sf (before install.)

This is a San Mateo Eichler with hardwood floors from the San Mateo Highlands House Tour:


 5. Porcelain or Ceramic Tile Floors

An Eichler from the San Mateo Highlands House Tour with tile:


Porcelain and ceramic tile have a wide range of finishes and sizes, which can work nicely in Eichler homes, whether you are going for a very modern white look, or looking for warmer tones like this gray flooring. Pricing can range anywhere from just a few dollars a square foot, to upwards of $40/sf for high end tile designers.

Our friend's Eichler, with rectangle shaped tile, in a staggered pattern:

Eichler Tile Floors

Eichler Tile Floors

Hope you have enjoyed our flooring roundup! Let us know your thoughts or if we missed other favorites.

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

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Eichler Kitchen Semihandmade Doors & Panels


We were so happy to work with Semihandmade, who make aftermarket doors and panels for Ikea cabinets. You send them the 3D sketch from the Ikea software and they manufacture perfectly fitted doors and panels for the project.  We had a slight discoloration on one of the panels, but they quickly turned around a replacement, free of charge. We chose the flat-sawn walnut option, which we also saw in one of the San Mateo homes from the Home Tour. semihandmade-cabinet-doors2


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

Eichler Restoration

I've been working on a fun side project for the last few weeks and finally have a moment to share some of the progress. There's a house in the neighborhood undergoing a restoration, which I have been given the fantastic opportunity to provide consultation on, and, even more exciting (to me at least) the house layout and design happens to be our exact model. So it's like going back in time, seeing many original features of the original house, but also like seeing our house's future, since we have long term plans to bring back some of these exact same Eichler fundamentals that are long gone in our home.

Here's a few "befores":

Original sliding doors, from atrium into living space:

Eichler Restoration

Beautiful unpainted, stained/washed ceiling:

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Full glass windows and doors to the backyard:


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Outside view:

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Original paneling flowing from atrium into house: 20140308-Copy of 2014-03-08 14.20.40

Side/Bedroom Side of the house (with door to bathroom):

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Dining/Living Room View - All original luan paneling:

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Atrium sliding door entrance - see the hint of original dark charcoal paint in the scratch mark:

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Original Eichler Kitchen Layout, but not the original cabinets (or globes!):

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View into atrium: