Build an Eichler ranch house — 8 original design house plans available today


If you can’t find the mid century modern Eichler house of your dreams — you can build one of your own. Yes, reader Kkmk tipped us off to, which has reintroduced eight house plans originally built by famous developer Joseph Eichler.

Who was Joseph Eichler?

According to the press release:

California developer Joseph Eichler brought modern architecture to the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s when he hired contemporary architects like Anshen & Allen and Jones & Emmons to design his tract houses.

We know of at least one faithful Retro Renovation reader and regular contributor — Troy — who owns an original Eichler.

Key elements of Eichler houses

I asked Daniel Gregory, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, what the key elements are in Eichler’s home plans and why they are so popular. He responded:

Key elements of an Eicher house are post-and-beam construction, walls of glass, strong indoor-outdoor connections to an atrium, courtyard, or patio, and a mid-century modern esthetic.

The renewed interest in Eichler designs is partly the result of a new appreciation for the simple indoor-outdoor lifestyle expressed in a lot of mid-century modern design — promoted by organizations like the Eichler Network and its magazine CA Modern, and other magazines like Atomic Ranch and Dwell, not to mention major books like Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream, written by Paul Adamson and compiled by Marty Arbunich. The trend is still building with the popularity of the 2011-2012 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and its accompanying book Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930 — 1965, edited by Wendy Kaplan is another indicator. And just published is Maynard Parker: Photographing the American Dream, edited by Jennifer Watts, about the photographer who shot modern houses by well known architects for House BeautifulBetter Homes & Gardens and a host of other magazines during the 1940s and 1950s and early 1960s.

Daniel was also kind enough to allow us to use these plan drawings as well as supply further information about these plans, his own credentials and their business:

I am an architectural historian by training (my Ph.D. is in architectural history from UC Berkeley) and have written about William Wurster, Joseph Esherick, and Thomas Church in various essays, along with a book on ranch house designer Cliff May. For many years I was the senior home editor for Sunset Magazine. I also served on the Advisory Board for the Environmental Design Archives.

Stephen Williamson, the chairman of, and I thought we ought to offer copies of historically significant plans as a way to promote high quality home design. Of course every historical plan needs to be updated to current codes and adapted to the site and client needs, which we can do though our just launched Design Studio run by architect Nicholas Lee, AIA.

Also, fyi, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of these copies of historical plans supports the Environmental Design Archives at the University of California at Berkeley, which preserves the drawings and papers of significant California architects and landscape architects. is the largest online source of architectural ready-made house plans. We are the exclusive host for Not So Big House author/architect Sarah Susanka, Katrina Cottage designer Marianne Cusato, and other architects and designers from across the country and around the world — including Australia, India, Ireland and Italy.

The eight Eichler house plans available today


Eichler #1: If I were building one of these Eichler homes, It would probably be the plan above: House plan 470-4The square footage (1,649 sq. ft.) is appropriate for me, plus it includes an atrium, enclosed garage (a must in the north) and master suite — what more could you ask for?


Eichler #2, above: House plan 470-8


Eichler #3, above: House plan 470-7


Eichler #4, above: House plan 470-6

The largest of the bunch, this house packs a wow factor — plenty of space, an awesome atrium area and I love the view from the street.


Eichler #5, above: House plan 470-5The bedroom/bathroom situation in this plan is interesting — you have to go through the bathroom to get to the bedrooms.


Eichler #6, above: House plan 470-3 — the lone two story in a sea of ranch houses. At 2,143 sq. ft., it is surprisingly not the largest of the bunch.


Eichler #7, above: House plan 470-2


Eichler #8, above: House plan 470-1

The home Eichler home plans range from 1,649 sq. ft. – 2,733 sq. ft. Building cost estimates are available as well as architectural consultation through the connected House Plans StudioIf you dream of owning an Eichler — but live in an area of the country where these modern designs are not widely available — these vintage house plans could be just what you’ve been waiting for.

Readers, which Eichler design would you ask Santa for?

See all our stories about historic mid century house plans available again for sale today.


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  1. Neva Warnock says

    Another vote for #4 (and winning Powerball) — as a bona fide crazy cat woman, I dream of cental courtyards, for them to safely enjoy the outdoors. And enough bedrooms that I could have one (or two!) cat-free rooms for things like the jewelry hobby and working out. Lol — ah, well. The galleries — interesting — I’m not sure I’d “like” them but they certainly cover the whole open living concept!

  2. Richard says

    Has anyone been able to track down online photos of any of these that were built back in the day? I have had no luck so far with these specific models


  3. Christa says

    I always wondered why these plans weren’t made available for new home building. The floorplans are beautiful and so easy to live with. Here in Northern California there are lots of Eichler neighborhoods and I’ve been inside quite a few. The thing that makes Eichlers feel better than many MCM designs are the way the windows go from floor to ceiling — no soffits over the tops of the windows. This is not true for the children’s bedrooms, but for the main rooms and master bedrooms. Also, the master tends to have sliders and a private patio area, as do the living rooms and kitchens. The materials are always simple – when the lines of the home are so clean and pleasing, you don’t need expensive details to make it work.

  4. Christa says

    I just realized that 470-8 is the Courtyard model that we almost bought a few years back. The area between the garage and the kitchen is behind a wall that encloses a front courtyard. The kitchen and multipurpose room had a wall of glass / slider doors out to the courtyard. It was such a great layout with the hobby room off the kitchen (that also had an exterior door – great for clean up or bringing large/dirty things in to the work room).

    The ceilings were flat, open ceiling. I think I would consider adjusting the plan to allow for a slope on the roof – less chance of pooling water that way, and it would be appropriate.

    Anyhow, I HIGHLY recommend that floor plan, it was wonderful. The reason we didn’t actually buy the house had more to do with the work needed than with the house itself.

  5. pam kueber says

    Looking at plan #1, it seems to me that it would be easy enough to reconfigure the kitchen design to open it up to the dining/living room area to make the design even more functional for the way folks live today. Put a countertop bar along the wall where the pantry and doorway are… and reconfigure where the fridge, stove and sink are. You would lose all that wonderful pantry space… maybe we could figure out some other place to tuck it? hmmmm

  6. Jorge says

    I lived for several years in a Rummer version of # 2 with an open courtyard. it was the same design as the Eichler except with two of the bedrooms combined into one larger so it was a 3 bed 2 bath. Even though it was in Oregon, the open courtyard was wonderful year round. The multipurpose room and kitchen were open into one large area. The walls of glass looking into the courtyard gave you the feeling that you were living outside.

    • says

      #2 would be really nice then with the open kitchen. My guess is that would be where we would eat most of our meals..we have a kitchen nook now and the dining room seldom gets use when we are not entertaining. Even so, the door to the dining from the kitchen in #2 would be great for that.

  7. Joe Felice says

    I like the atria, also. I think it would be great to have a private and secure outdoor space for the cats. I would have some plants and a fountain. What is a “gallery?” If I had the wherewithall, I’d find some land & build me one of these. There are lots of Eichlers in the Denver area, but I tend to like houses that have not been ruined by others, and finding one that has been lovingly maintained and/or restored would be very difficult.

    • theOracle says

      An atrium would not be secure for cats and small dogs, due to owls and hawks. Also a cat can get to a roof if needed.

      • says

        Actually I grew up in a house with an atrium and cats, birds were not a problem but the cat if they wanted to get out they climbed up the podocarpus to the roof and went that way or learned to climb on the shuttered door and hopped thru the open space at the top and jumped down, yup cats can jump quite a distance (8 or so feet) without injuring themselves.

  8. theOracle says

    I live in Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio (3000 residences). This year, we have had a ground owl, a hawk and a mother bobcat. Losing rabbits and other on golf course and back yards. Residential is not necessarily without its critters.

  9. andrew hessen says

    Eichler #5
    though, I don’t think you need to go through the bathroom to the bedrooms as there is a small corridor, with the bathroom and one end and a powder room at the other.

  10. Angela says

    I like mid century modern and am drooling over these house plans. I think they are more practical than what is being build now. I like each one so I can’t say I prefer one over another. I like the 1 story over the 2 story though. If I could come up with the money I would like to build one of these. As others have said the hobby room is a big plus and I do like the gallery also. Thanks for showing these.

  11. Steve Lancaster says

    I am looking for an old magazine article on what I think was an Eichler house. It had what looked like cherry peneling and center atrium. It was in 1950-1970 House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens or something like that….does anyone remember that house? It looked similar to this house….which may in fact be that house featured then as it is today.

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