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Fast Facts about Famous Mid-Century Modern Developer, Joseph Eichler

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 at 11:31am.



Eichler lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright home, the story goes, and thus his lifelong journey to mid century modernism began. Combining the feeling of indoor and outdoor spaces into his design, Eichlers brought a more airy option to the growing suburban middle class. It is estimated that around 11,000 homes in the Los Angeles and San Francisco region are true Eichlers. Built with materials readily available to everyone post-war, buying an Eichler home could really be seen as an embodiment of the American Dream. With the exposed posts and beams, floor to ceiling windows and skylights, an Eichler means open areas, not boxy rooms, and the spirit of letting the outside into your home.

The architectural style of an Eichler home must have felt like a dream compared to the cookie cutter houses that defined the suburbs. Parents Magazine even once awarded Eichlers as the best house in the U.S. for raising children. An attractive feature for families must certainly have been the addition of a bathroom in the master bedroom, a necessity for modern families but innovative at the time. Also, designing the mid century modern style to welcome sunlight into the house really does affect your state of mind, many long-term residents say, and always for the better.

Eichler lived and worked at the turning point of family life in mid century America. You’ve probably been inside a few of his designs (or knock offs) without even knowing it. Here are just some of the fun facts about his architectural style and life that we want to share:

1. Eichler was one of the first known architects to sell houses regardless of the religion or race of the buyer. Eichler established a non-discrimination policy and offered homes for sale to anyone of any religion or race. The National Association of Home Builders wouldn’t follow suit, and Eichler resigned in 1958. Besides the obvious positive effect that Eichler’s non-discrimination policy would have on a community, it also attracted neighbors who thought in a more modern way post World War II.

2. EIchler look-a-likes are called “Likelers.” You can usually tell the difference more by the interior than the exterior. Even the best of us get fooled sometimes (though of course not a knowledgeable Nook agent). For instance….

3. Contrary to popular opinion, Steve Jobs’ childhood home wasn’t an Eichler. Popularized by the recent bio-movie Steve Jobs, this myth was busted by Eichler’s son Ned. The Mountain View home where Jobs grew up was built by the same architects, but used different materials, including for its foundation. His partner Steve Wozniak, however, did live in an authentic Eichler, and one which Jobs greatly admired. Some even muse that the clean concept and groundplan for the house inspired Jobs with Apple products.

4. Regardless if they are an Eichler or a Likeler, history shows that these homes tend to sell very quickly. Many are off the market within days of listing, thanks to the EIchler reputation and desirable neighborhoods. Do home buyers seek out this mid century modern style or simply fall in love with its inherent features? Both theories hold some weight, so you need great alerts and an experienced agent for when these houses go on sale. Don’t blink and miss them!

If you want to be one of the first to know when an Eichler is available, contact Nook Realtor Elias Tebache at 310-770-2976 or etebache@nookrealestatecom. You can also #SearchWithStyle here or on our iPhone or Android app.

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