Betsy Speicher

Eichler Homes

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In Post WWII California, builder Joseph Eichler hired some of the best Modern Architects to design extraordinary and affordable tract housing. Stephen and I own -- and love -- ours (click here)

house1s.gifhouse2s.gifhouse3s.gifhouse4s.gifhouse5s.gif

and you'll find pictures of many more here (click).

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Oh Betsey this is fantastic - this is what I am talking about (and also not 17 million like some of those incredible pieces shown in the other thread). Wow - I love that open room and the pool!! I hope you get to spend many sun-soaked days out there!

Thanks for sharing, I am going to check out houses for sale... California here I come? Thanks again!

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Two tracts of Eichler Homes, built in the 1950's, were just added to the National Register of Historic Places. To mark the occasion, there was an informative article about these incredible homes* in last Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle. You can read "THE EICHLER & THE ECSTASY" here.

*In "The Incredibles," note what kind of neighborhood The Incredibles live in. ;)

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What else can the ocredibles tell us about the house -- room sizes, unusual aspects of layout or windows, etc.?

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There is an interesting article on Eichler homes in today's (3/2/2006) Home section of the Los Angeles Times. Titled "A rousing encore for the Eichlers," the article has some nice descriptions and some very lovely pictures (the latter, unfortunately, only in the print version, not online).

The most distinguishing features of Eichler houses from the street are flat roofs interrupted in the center by an A-shape to accommodate an atrium, and there are few, if any, windows in the front. Unlike the traditional ranch-style house, there is no grand picture window that puts people in the living room on display.

Once past the façade's front door, however, the Eichler house is like a glass box set outside. The interior atrium, surrounded by glass walls, sometimes opens to the sky. Plants grow from cutouts in the concrete floor.

A sliding glass door leads to the continuous living room, dining room and kitchen, all with views of the generous yard. Hallways are sometimes defined by translucent partitions. A ribbon of clerestory windows tops bedroom walls.

In a short companion article (requires registration, but it is free), titled "An Eichler fan? Join the club," there are some quotes from Betsy and me. Strangely, though, the author confused the facts and listed Betsy's "day job" as "writing a newsletter for the Ayn Rand Institute." Betsy sent a correction to the newspaper; her "day job" is as a consultant in the business world, and, though she admires and supports ARI, her newsletter, Cybernet, is a private part-time enterprise. Also, the "quote" from me sounds more like a new-ager than one who loves and enjoys good architecture. The perils of being interviewed. ;)

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The perils of being interviewed.  ;)

Oh man. I was interviewed by Money magazine as teenager, regarding my programming business (as part of an article on teen programmers), and they definitely just plain made up some stuff, such as my income. I vowed not to give another interview again. Fact-checking must an old-fashioned thing that went out of style years ago in the journalism business.

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There was just a feature article on the Eichler Homes in Thousand Oaks in our local paper. (click here). (Free registration required.)

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In the online version, there is also a slide show (click here) and, best of all, VIDEOS!

To see the videos, (click here) and then click on each of the pictures of the three homeowners on the right side of the page.

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My Eichler home is listed as an architectural, mid-century modern filming location for movies and commercials. The location agency came here and took dozens of wonderful pictures and put them up on the web. Have a look.

I'll let you know if the house gets a gig.

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Betsy,

Your home is awesome and the art is inspiring!! I've seen pictures of your home, but that picture with the vaulted ceiling and the art on the wall I love. haha, and I see you have the Bryan Larsen painting with the father and son in front of rocket. ;)

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Light and airy. I too like the vaulted ceiling idea as it give the feeling of openness. An uplifting place to reside. Are you sure you want film crews stomping through your private domain?

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Light and airy. I too like the vaulted ceiling idea as it give the feeling of openness. An uplifting place to reside. Are you sure you want film crews stomping through your private domain?

Sure.

They carry complete liability insurance, they sometimes add landscaping or furniture I can keep after the shoot, I get a tax write-off for my home maintenance expenses, and the going rate for using the house is more than $10,000 a day.

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Here's an Eichler home -- the same model as mine -- on the market in Northern California for $1.125 million.

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This article explains why, despite the huge decline in housing prices in California, Eichlers have kept their value and why "For Eichler People, no other home will do."

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I still want to know details, like room sizes and layout, where the safe is hidden, etc.

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I still want to know details, like room sizes and layout, where the safe is hidden, etc.

Is that so you can hide your money from the state government? :blink:

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From the one picture that they offer at the link and what I kow of Eichler Homes I am quite certain that it is a beautiful home. But $1.125 million is a lot of money to purchase one's slavery. :blink:

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I was delighted to see Betsy's lovely home on my recent trip to Los Angeles and can certainly understand why Eichlers continue to hold their value . . . as a visitor to one of these homes, I valued the experience! I particularly like the atrium entrance (it's one of the things about ancient Roman homes that I've always admired), the semi-open sightlines of the floor plan and the vaulted ceiling of the main room. There really is free and airy sense about it all.

As of the going price . . . considering that a decent 1 bedroom apartment in New York can set one back $750,000 or more (considerably more depending on the neighborhood!), a little more than $1 million for so beautiful a home seems a downright bargain, even considering the declining state of affairs in California. I suppose this is what the concept of a "tradeoff" was meant to address?

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I still want to know details, like room sizes and layout, where the safe is hidden, etc.

Is that so you can hide your money from the state government? :D

It's no laughing matter. I haven't hidden anything but it doesn't make any difference. They don't care if you have money or not, like a syndicate from organized crime they simply demand it, threatening to seize your property if you don't come up with it somehow and pay them off.

But the question of practical matters about the house matters. The esthetics and architecture for the climate are very nice in Betsy's house and the others. But the personal and financial value also depends on functional things like total space, room sizes, room layout, location of utilities, storage, and skylights, which we haven't seen described. It apparently has no basement. Are they all like that for some reason, or is that always the case for houses in that area anyway? In many parts of the country a flat roof wouldn't hold up over multiple winters, and all the glass would require very expensive triple pane glass. Are the windows not an issue in CA in the heat of the summer?

Also, what is it about these houses that makes them retain a unique market? Is there something about them that makes the concept hard to duplicate? It seems that any popular well-conceived design would have spread to other builders by now.

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The esthetics and architecture for the climate are very nice in Betsy's house and the others. But the personal and financial value also depends on functional things like total space, room sizes, room layout, location of utilities, storage, and skylights, which we haven't seen described.

The floor plan of our model is here. The wall between Bedroom 3 and Bedroom 4 has been removed creating a large bedroom suite which, in our home, has its own separate outdoor patio area accessible and viewable through the sliding glass window wall. There are floor plans of other Eichler models here.

It apparently has no basement. Are they all like that for some reason, or is that always the case for houses in that area anyway?

Houses in SoCal don't have basements.

In many parts of the country a flat roof wouldn't hold up over multiple winters, and all the glass would require very expensive triple pane glass. Are the windows not an issue in CA in the heat of the summer?

We have blinds on the windows where heat is an issue and we use them as necessary. This time of the year the afternoon sun streams through the windows in the Multipurpose Room we converted into a library, is absorbed by the black linoleum floor tiles, and heats the water in the pipes of the radiant heating system in the floor. At night we have to use less gas to keep the house warm.

Also, what is it about these houses that makes them retain a unique market? Is there something about them that makes the concept hard to duplicate? It seems that any popular well-conceived design would have spread to other builders by now.

You can't build these designs any more because the building codes have changed for environmental reasons. No more floor to ceiling glass walls unless they are expensive triple-paned glass. Fortunately, existing Eichlers are grandfathered in.

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I still want to know details, like room sizes and layout, where the safe is hidden, etc.

Is that so you can hide your money from the state government? :D

It's no laughing matter. I haven't hidden anything but it doesn't make any difference. They don't care if you have money or not, like a syndicate from organized crime they simply demand it, threatening to seize your property if you don't come up with it somehow and pay them off.

But the question of practical matters about the house matters. The esthetics and architecture for the climate are very nice in Betsy's house and the others. But the personal and financial value also depends on functional things like total space, room sizes, room layout, location of utilities, storage, and skylights, which we haven't seen described. It apparently has no basement. Are they all like that for some reason, or is that always the case for houses in that area anyway? In many parts of the country a flat roof wouldn't hold up over multiple winters, and all the glass would require very expensive triple pane glass. Are the windows not an issue in CA in the heat of the summer?

Also, what is it about these houses that makes them retain a unique market? Is there something about them that makes the concept hard to duplicate? It seems that any popular well-conceived design would have spread to other builders by now.

In a certain context you are right, it is not a laughing matter. But in the context that I took it it seemed an appropriate reply. The context is that of a person asking a question with no known intention of moving to California. The context that most houses that sell today do not have a safe built into them except for the extremely wealthy (expensive homes) as safes can be purchased quite cheaply at Sam's Club or Costco. What I am trying to get at is that I took your post in a joking manner because of my limited knowledge of you, California, homes and safes and not because I was trying to belitttle your question.

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An Eichler home in my neighborhood has just come on the market -- a rare occurrence, indeed!

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They are having an Open House this Sunday and the house should go quickly. They are only asking $699,000 and that is probably because it is the smaller 4-bedroom model, it doesn't have a pool, and the back yard adjoins busy Lynn Road. (link)

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It looks like a very nice, very clean house, one that would be a joy to live in.

... except that it's in the People's State of California. Can the house be disassembled and shipped out of state and the land disposed of for the dirt as salvage?

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