Eichler Blog


Conjuring up images of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack, Mid-Century Retro style is back and inspiring an entire new generation of design.  It’s simple lines, bold colors, and geometric shapes are as au courant today as they were 60 years ago.  If you are looking to put some Mid-Century glam into your home, keep a few basic notions in mind:

  • Less is more.  Clean simple lines that play up the natural beauty of the design are key, whether your style is Danish Modern, Eames, or Eero Saarinen.
  • Light boldly. Lighting came into its own in the mid-1900s.  Table lamps were tall, curvy, and slim and futuristic chandeliers became focal points.
  • Geometric sets the tone.  A vintage wall hanging of squares or circles will add a definite
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The de Young Museum of Fine Art in San Francisco currently has a fabulous exhibition of Modern art on display that I think the art lovers among you will want to see.  Titled Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, the exhibit is a collection of 46 paintings and sculptures by prominent post-WWII artists.  The artwork, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, provides a comprehensive overview of Modern and Contemporary art spanning the last half of the 20th Century.

To me, the highlight of the exhibit is Barnett Newman’s The Stations of the Cross.  Created over the course of eight years (1958-66), this series of 15 abstract paintings uses a palette of black and white on raw canvas – and is considered to be

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The commute between the North Bay and San Francisco is about to become a whole lot easier if everything goes as planned with the addition of another afternoon commuter ferry trip between the City and Larkspur.  The matter went to the Board of Directors for Golden Gate Transit on Friday for their final approval.  I haven’t heard yet what the verdict was, but anticipate the news will be positive.

In a related issue, the Golden Gate Transportation Committee has recommended that a ferry-feeder shuttle bus run during commute hours between the Smith Ranch Road Park & Ride lot in Terra Linda to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. It sounds great to me – as the buses would be dedicated to serving the commuter ferry schedules, which would sideline many of the problems

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Xeriscaping – or drought-tolerant landscaping - is a notion that is gaining in popularity, particularly with California’s recent scarcity of water.  While using limited irrigation, xeriscaping does not mean limiting your garden to cacti, succulents, and rocks.  With proper design, you can have a beautiful, lush yard that is easy to care for and uses less water than traditional landscape.

Whether you decide to plant your xeriscape yourself our hire a professional, the steps are basically the same. 

  • First, you’ll need to plan ahead and develop a design that accommodates your lifestyle and your site.  Thinking about how you use the space and sun/shade exposure are important considerations.  Look through magazines and websites to find plants and
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If you love the Zen of Japanese design, you won’t want to miss the upcoming show at Heath San Francisco.  Japanese master potter Akio Nukaga and a few of his friends are in town, and Heath SF will be showcasing their latest work July 11 – August 8, 2014.  In addition to Akio’s ceramics, functional and sculptural pieces by woodworker Hideki Takayama and hand-dyed Japanese cloths known as tenugui, created by Kawamanu, will be featured.

The celebration begins this weekend with an Opening Reception on Saturday, July 11, 2014.  Sunday, July 12, will be a day of demonstrations:  Watch Akio throw pottery; learn how to sand, oil, and finish a wooden spoon by Takayama; or join Megumi Inouye for a tenugui wrapping demonstration.

Even if you can’t make it to

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I love a lot of things about my Eichler, but I must admit that one of the things I love the most is the atrium.  Its lack of commitment (is it an indoor space or an outdoor room?) makes it versatile and fun.  Glass walls and open sky bring the outside in, making rooms feel spacious and flooding the house with light; and the extra space the atrium provides is a godsend when I have a party and guests can spill out into the atrium.

I also love that the Eichler atrium or courtyard is a blank canvas, and thinking outside the box in determining how to use the space is encouraged.  My atrium is pretty minimalist, which suits my style.  We’ve outfitted it with a couple of Mid-Century Modern concrete loop chairs, a shade sail, and some simple plantings

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July 4 is such a quintessentially American holiday: backyard BBQs and park picnics; swim parties and seaside wingdings; hot dogs and hamburgers; camping, fishing, and hometown parades – all capped off by fireworks extravaganzas.

Our Sacramento Eichler and Mid-Century Modern readers will find lots to do in their region, from small community celebrations to the Sacramento Independence Day Celebration at Cal Expo, which features the largest fireworks show in the region.  Or they might travel up the hill a bit and have fun at the Folsom Pro Rodeo, which features a real rodeo, fireworks, and live music. 

If Lake Tahoe is in your plans you can take in Tahoe South’s Lights On The Lake fireworks display from a number of venues, including either of Tahoe’s

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A living wall, which is an arrangement of plants on a vertical wall, is a garden design trend that is enjoying a good deal of popularity right now – both inside and outside.  Also known as green walls, vertical gardens, wall gardens, and eco-walls; a living wall can be large or small and serve both practical and aesthetic purposes.

Urban dwellers find that adding a little greenery to their indoor spaces softens hard edges, dampens the sounds of city life, and brings a playful element into the home.  Outside, a vertical garden can make a great privacy screen, create intimate spaces, soften fence lines, or provide a creative gardening opportunity to a small patio or terrace.  Urban planners are even getting in on the living wall action, as studies have

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When you see a low-slung, Modernist home with exposed post-and-beam construction, concrete slabs with radiant floor heat, and walls of glass opening to the outside, it might be an Eichler.  Then again, maybe it isn’t.  Although we associate the easy, open plan, indoor/outdoor style with Joseph Eichler, Roger Lee was another Mid-Century builder/architect who shared Eichler’s affinity for well-designed homes built for middle class people.

Like Eichler, Roger Lee built spec homes during the building boom after WWII.  Eichler and Lee shared the modernist tradition and the notion that homes should be affordable, stylish, and functional.  While Joseph Eichler built thousands of homes, however, Roger Lee built on a much smaller scale, designing 100+ homes in

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June is the traditional month for weddings.  I love going to weddings – and I love shopping for wedding presents.  Most wedding couples do have at least one wedding registry list - and you can’t go wrong if you shop from it.  However, sometimes I feel like being creative and want to stray from the beaten path just a little, particularly if I know the recipients well.  With that in mind, I’ve put together a few contemporary gift ideas that would be thoughtful wedding gifts.

One of my favorite design brands is iittala.  Elegant Finnish design is present in each and every piece they produce from delicate glassware to functional ovenware.

Iittala's contemporary take on the traditional cast iron pot is sure to be a welcome gift for anyone who enjoys

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