Original Eichler paint colors for your ranch or contemporary home

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Are you looking forward to repainting your midcentury ranch or contemporary home once the weather warms up? I recently connected with the nice folks at The Eichler Network, and saw that they have identified a palette of original exterior paint colors and accents used on Eichler homes, which were built from the late 1940s through the early 1970s.

The 11,000 homes that Joseph Eichler built in California have been very collectible, and The Eichler Network runs a website and magazine to connect Eichler homeowners with service providers specialized in helping them with sensitive updates. This paint color research is particularly helpful – because the Eichler experts also have translated them into Benjamin Moore (BM) colors easily available today.

Do you love Eichlers? Be sure to read my other posts about readers and their Eichlers:

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Eichler Network links:

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Comments

  1. Elvis (aka) Jane says

    I love this resource, Pam! My husband and I daydream on a regular basis about painting our exterior. So far, the very 90s, light gray paint is holding up far too well to justify the expense, but there will come a time! And when it does, we have these great colors to choose from. I particularly like the Red Cedar and the Aspen Green.

    • Don says

      Eichlers are full of high ceilings and glass. However, they suffer from a serious problem : both the floors and the roofs are nearly impossible to modify, and moreover the houses had almost NO overhead lights or bathroom fans, and suffer greatly because of it. The roof is basically a wooden deck and to run new lights or ventilation you have to pierce the roof and run wiring or ductwork haphazardly across the roof before piercing it again. The floor is a concrete slab that by now is in a hundred pieces and is uneven and if your radient heating hasn’t failed yet it’s a miracle – it will fail soon. The mahogony panels bow greatly after many years of earthquakes and the laundry areas only fit traditional smaller washers and dryers. Most houses by now have the wood accents ruined because the owners painted them. As a result, the only thing I am hoping to keep original in our eichler is our joists. Seriously.

      • Virginia says

        You’ve been misinformed about the longevity of the radiant heating in Eichlers. The original radiant heating system in our 1962 Eichler works perfectly, as do the water pipes (also embedded in the concrete slab). In the 23 years we’ve lived in this house, we’ve had two small pipe leaks, which were surprisingly easy to fix. We also replaced the old boiler with a new, energy-efficient one. Our gas bills are consistently reasonable, even in winter, and we enjoy the even heating, toasty warm floors, and best of all, no heating ducts or vents to worry about. Unless there’s a specific problem with the system in your house, I would urge you to leave your radiant heating system in place for at least one winter — you may find that you love it.

        • Sara says

          Hi Virginia,
          I realize this threat is a bit old but I was wondering how they fixed the small pipe leaks in your radiant floor system? Our has sprung a *hopefully* small leak and we really want to fix it if possible. Thanks!!

  2. Sara in AZ says

    Eichler houses are SOOOOO fantastic, I would love to have one! But they are SOOOOO very expensive, esp. the ones near San Fransisco!

    • Jackie Aldridge says

      I got lucky and bought one in a suburb. My neighbors quailed when they heard the price. Now, the housing prices are increasing.

      If you want one, build one. You can put in all the energy conserving improvements (like well insulated walls in the bedrooms, double pane glass, and a really good foam roof), site it to pick up southern sun for the living room, and build in some kind of shading system for the atrium.

      Eichler built for those days, when you cooled the house by opening all the doors to the atrium in the summer. And you burned lots of gas and ran the house cooler in the winter. And he usually built in areas with mild weather, mediterranean.

      Because I am in one of the areas with colder winters and warmer summers than most…someday I’ll rebuild all the walls with structurally insulated panels and put a foam roof on the house. For now, I have a bedroom as a winter den, to be kept over seventy (warm enough for inactive pursuits like reading).

  3. sablemable says

    Love that Turquoise/Neptune Green paint color!

    Thanks for posting this, Pam, and yep, I’m going to paint the trim on my brick ranch this summer.

  4. Stephanie says

    Pam! This is the BEST!!!! We are deciding on exterior paint colors now and this is incredibly helpful!!!!! Thank you so much!!!

      • Pam Kueber says

        Yup, Cindy…and others…isn’t the kitchen one of the freshest and most timeless ever?! Hey, I have Revere Ware, too. I see it in my 50s magazines – it’s authentic retro – and works great. I also have Club Aluminum, a MIB set that my mom bought me on ebay a few years ago. That stuff is super-collectible!

  5. kristin says

    I must be color-challenged because I cannot “see” what color we need to paint our brick-veneer ranch. Right now it is mostly deep-red brick with some white siding spots. The white is just AWFUL to me. We will be repainting our small concrete porch and steps brick red, but for the life of me I cannot see what we should paint the siding. My home was pictured on this site on October 16, 2008 and if anyone has suggestions, we appreciate them!

    Note: We will be planting a Japanese Maple soon in the front yard which will also “accent” the red on the house most of the year.

    • Pam Kueber says

      Hi Kristin. I recall that Benjamin Moore has a photo program that you can purchase for a modest cost online – which allows you to “draw” boxes on your house then color them in with colors of your choice. We used the program when painting the trim on our house – and it was really helpful.

      Meanwhile – if you want to send me an exterior shot of your house I’ll see when I can get it up and we can provide you with advice that will probably confuse you more! ha ha 🙂

      No question: Making color choices – especially for high-cost jobs like exteriors can be stressful. Take a deep breath. You will get to the right solution!

  6. sablemable says

    I use the Benjamin Moore visualizer and it has helped greatly in deciding trim colors for my brick ranch. It costs $10.00 one time, but I think it’s worth the price. Also, you can use this off-line.

    I have some original Revere Ware that belonged to my mother, a Farberware tea kettle, plus some Mirro cookware from my mother-in-law. What we would have dumped ages ago for being old/out of style, we’re now keeping these treasures. Have you noticed the better quality of the cookware back then compared to what’s on the market now?

  7. sumacsue says

    I plan to work on our exterior trim this year. I seem a bit stuck on what to do, similar to Kristin (we have a vast amount of white trim with the mostly maroon brick). We need some other color. I love the spark in the colors in the lower chart, but the muted shades in the top chart are great too. Trying to decide — what a fun problem to have.

  8. Heidi Swank says

    Can anyone suggest a site where I can find some pictures of houses painted in these colors? I need some help figuring out what goes best with what. Thanks!

  9. Vanessa K. says

    We live in an Eichler in Sunnyvale and recently re-painted. Here’s a picture of our paint scheme: extremely dark brown (almost black), white ceilings, black beams, and the greenish/turquoise door and fascia boards. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?filter=lf#!/photo.php?pid=285460&id=1527829960

    Sherwin Williams also has paint color collections you can check out that are specific to certain eras i.e. 50’s, Craftsman, Victorian, etc. and they give examples for interior and exterior schemes. Their ideas were very helpful when we painted our interior!

  10. Carol Silver says

    Is it possible to submit a photo for color and landscaping suggestions?

    We have a midcentury modern wood and brick house that desperately needs new paint and new landscaping. Would love to get ideas! Right now it’s a medium brown with beige trim, which doesn’t work well. Am thinking either super dark brown (which is what I see other similar houses painted) or some kind of grey.

    For landscaping, I’d like to get ideas on something modern. Right now it’s surrounded by azaleas.

    Carol

  11. Jill says

    Just finished painting our post and beam 60’s rancher ‘black bean’ with ‘natural cream’ trim and an eye popping ‘pumpkin cream’ door. Totally fantastic! This site put to rest 3 years of colour searching.

    • pam kueber says

      YAY! send me a pick, Jill — would love to see the results. email me at retrorenovation [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. Cindy G. says

    Pam,

    Our home is in Sunnyvale and soon it will be Aspen Green and Springfield Sage. Thanks for the posting of the Eichler colors.

    • pam kueber says

      At the time I wrote the story — my link took you right there. I am not sure where the Eichler Network website has now stashed it. I refer you to them…. Good luck!

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