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 HousePlans.com, which has reintroduced eight house plans originally built by famous developer Joseph Eichler.
Who was Joseph Eichler?
According to the HousePlans.com 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, Houseplans.com 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 Beautiful, Better 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 Houseplans.com, 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.
Houseplans.com 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 470-4. The 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 470-5. The 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 Studio. If 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.