Mid-century Modern Style homes still relevant today

Mid-century Modern Style homes still relevant today

By: Jill Mendoza About the time many of us baby boomers were being born, a real estate developer named Joseph Eichler was constructing some 11,000 homes in California. Between 1949 and 1974, Eichler was taking his inspiration from architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, having resided in one of the homes he designed. Eichler’s designs gave a typical tract home a modern twist in addition to an affordable, family-friendly version that borrowed some of Wright’s style, as well as the clean lines of the Bauhaus movement. These homes were built for the middle-class, boasting solid construction, quality materials, and advanced technology. In the 1950s, you could purchase an Eichler for nine-to-ten thousand dollars; they now fetch over a million due to a renewed interest in them over the past decade or so. The Mid-century Modern Eichler home style is a unique reminder of the suburban lifestyle of the 1950s and the 1960s. It’s a fascinating design that continues to maintain a devoted following. In contrast a recent CBS News publication which identified 10 home feature trends noted homes being built today bear little resemblance to those from the 1950. The only problem with this assessment, they were not using a typical Eichler Home for comparison. The article notes todays home features combine space where they were once separate; are smaller with bigger outdoor spaces and master bedrooms and living spaces are on one main level. Compare this to the features of the Eichler home style which included; floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding glass doors, exposed ceiling beams, in-floor radiant heat, and courtyards. The size of Eichler homes tended to be in the 2,000 range, with two or more bedrooms and at least two bathrooms. Interior layouts vary in these homes, but generally the floor plans are open with all spaces on one level, including distinct indoor-outdoor living themes. The Mid-century Modern Eichler home style is a unique reminder of the timelessness of great design. Perhaps as we think about designing future homes styles, both urban and suburban, we should consider those trends featured in the modern Eichler homes of the 50 and 60’s. At least that is the message a few current residence of Eichler homes provide us in this most recent NPR story. Photographs by David Toerge, Toerge Photography Copyright 2008, reproduction by permission only

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