Dreaming of an Eichler House | The press

(Palo Alto, CA) Eichler homes embody the most recognizable style of California homes in the world. These one-story pavilions, with windows that stretch from ceiling to floor and blur the boundaries between inside and outside, even inspired Quebec architects such as Roger d’Astous. More than 60 years after their birth, they still spark excitement in California.

Posted at 4pm.

Anabelle Nicoud
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Seminole Path. On this quiet residential street in Palo Alto, a wealthy city in the heart of Silicon Valley and birthplace of Stanford University, Eichler houses follow one another and are not always the same.

The commonalities, first: the houses that offer an often colorful entrance to the street, framed by wood and pillars, hide the lives of their occupants from the view of passersby. The “voureux” will have to make do with the garage door, on the street side.

The differences, now: some have been renovated, updated, even expanded (with an additional floor). Others have kept the brown colors since the time of its construction in the 1950s and 1960s.


Because we are in the United States, the car and the garage (single or double) are also key elements of the Eichlers.

There are no less than 11,000 homes developed by property developer Joseph Eichler in post-war California. These middle-class homes are found largely in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, but also north of San Francisco in Marin Hills. Today, the craze for this style of home inspired by American modern architecture is undeniable.


From the early 2000s and the return of the “Mid-Century Modern” style – think of the series decor Mad Men : teak furniture, Herman Miller chairs, open spaces and bay windows, or even some interiors in this is how i love you — Eichler houses are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

“I remember when half of the Eichler owners were complaining about the problems they had in those houses – lack of radiant heating, leaking flat roofs – but now everything has changed,” says Marty. Arbunich, owner and editor ofEichler networka magazine and support network for Eichler owners since 1993.

As many homeowners with a strong architectural bias, like Habitat 67, know, preserving and modernizing an Eichler can be quite a challenge. The most common of them: the misunderstanding of this design, very far from traditional houses.

  • This Eichler home in Los Altos, Silicon Valley, is currently listed at $3.9 million.


    This Eichler home in Los Altos, Silicon Valley, is currently listed at $3.9 million.

  • It kept its original attributes: a strong presence of wood, floor-to-ceiling windows and an atrium.


    It kept its original attributes: a strong presence of wood, floor-to-ceiling windows and an atrium.

  • The kitchen is smaller in size.


    The kitchen is smaller in size.

  • This house offers an open space facing the garden.


    This house offers an open space facing the garden.


Think of open spaces, but also small bathrooms and more modestly sized kitchens. The roof is flat and the houses respect a certain plan to preserve the privacy of the neighbors. A second floor, which can be tempting for space lovers, can thus offer a view of the neighbour’s living spaces, which distorts the concept. “This lack of understanding is something new owners and the service companies they hire share,” Arbunich said. With no experience of this architecture and the lifestyle that goes with it, they miss its maintenance work and its “remodels”, new kitchens and expansions. »


When he got his hands on his Eichler home in Los Altos, a small luxury town located near Palo Alto, at the turn of the 2000s, Tanguy Leborgne, a French expat in the United States, decided to make as few changes as possible. The house had a single owner, who bought it as soon as it was put up for sale in the late 1960s.

“The house was still in its 1968 state and we have kept all the original elements,” explains Mr. Leborgne. We didn’t know this style, but we fell in love. »

Tanguy Leborgne raises his two daughters with his wife in a house that opens onto a garden with a swimming pool and atrium. The couple decided to put the house up for sale in 2016 after their children left. The house sells quickly, at higher prices, as is often the case in the San Francisco Bay Area. But the nostalgia is still palpable as they both talk about the unique lifestyle they may have had in their Eichler.

It is a dream to live in these houses. It’s like living almost outdoors all year round. It’s a big passion.

Virginie Leborgne, former owner of an Eichler house


In the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the highest paying areas in the United States, Eichler’s homes are not at the top of the real estate market. But you must nevertheless be ready to loosen the purse strings to become the owner of one of them and be ready to embark on a war of superiority.


In Palo Alto, several residential neighborhoods were developed after the war by developer Joseph Eichler.

It should be noted that several agencies specialize in buying and selling this type of property, which is in great demand. “The average price of an Eichler on the Peninsula is $2.6 million, and at that price they don’t get renewed,” warns Monique Lombardelli, a Peninsula realtor who has made these homes her specialty.

Monique Lombardelli estimates the average home market in the region to be around $6.7 million: “With less than $3 million, the Eichlers are in a sweet spot”, believes those who have master-designed homes on their lists. of modern American architecture.

You’re not a millionaire: know that these homes are also available for rent, especially near Palo Alto. According to our observations, it is necessary to count at least $4,500 in rent for a moderately renovated home that will respect one of the original plans (1,200 m²).twoone master bedroom, two small children’s bedrooms, two small bathrooms), a price that’s not crazy for the area, but which, we agree, is not a bargain.

We visited several this past winter, in the Greenmeadow and Fairmeadow neighborhoods of Palo Alto, but also in the hills of San Mateo, a small town located south of San Francisco. There’s a magical side to seeing lemon trees from your bedroom; and having the impression of being always outdoors, but out of sight, as the living areas face the garden.

Fans of real estate daydreams can also subscribe to the newsletter from Renée and Barry Adelmann, agents specializing in modern homes. And catch yourself dreaming of a very Californian lifestyle…

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