Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Joseph Eichler was a visionary real estate developer (not an architect) who utilized highly-respected and progressive architectural firms to create well-designed, yet affordable, modern homes for the masses.
Joseph Eichler's interest in architecture was heightened after moving his family from New York to California in the early 1940s, settling into a usonian house designed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Joe Eichler's experience living in this modernist house inspired him to find a way to bring the unique design elements of a modern architectural home to the general public.
Joseph Eichler founded Eichler Homes, Inc. in 1949 and pursued his vision of creating modern homes with architecturally distinct elements for the average family (and average income!). To help materialize his vision, Eichler enlisted the help of distinguished architects and architectural firms such as Jones + Emmons, Anshen and Allen, Claude Oakland and Raphael Soriano who would help design homes and neighborhoods which were reflective of the contemporary and progressive design found in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home where Joseph Eichler had once lived.
Between 1950 -1974, Eichler built more than 11,000 modernist homes. Virtually all of these homes were built by Joseph Eichler in Northern California. Most of the N. California Joseph Eichler homes are located throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Eichlers in Marin (primarily San Rafael), San Francisco, San Mateo, Sunnvayle, San Jose, Palo Alto, Oakland Hills, Castro Valley Concord, Walnut Creek, Sacramento). In Southern California, Joseph Eichler developed five Eichler tracts which are located in Orange County, Thousand Oaks and Granada Hills. In addition to Eichler developments throughout California, he also built a small number of Eichler houses in New York, less than 1 hour north of Manhattan.
Eichler-built homes shared similar design elements including open floor plans, walls of glass which helped blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living, and in-floor radiant heating systems which were a luxury typically reserved only for high-end, custom homes.
Despite the fact that most Eichler homes are approaching their 50th anniversary, the've never been more popular amongst homebuyers looking for good modern design that is both practical and livable.
To learn more about Joseph Eichler homes and neighborhoods in Northern California, be sure to visit the Marin Eichler Homes and San Francisco Eichler Homes pages of this website dedicated to Eichler Homes and its founder, Joseph Eichler. Additionally, be sure to preview the interior of select Eichler homes and see tips for restoring or updating a mid-century modern Eichler home.
If you are interested in purchasing an Eichler home, contact Renee Adelmann, a top real estate agent specializing in Eichler & other modern and mid-century modern homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.