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If you’ve been following along on the blog for a while, you may have read a few of our project breakdowns on various Eichler homes. While all of our Water & Earth Landscape Design projects are special to us, Eichler homes hold a unique place in our hearts. Since we began working in California we have been lucky enough to create outdoor spaces for a growing number of Eichler homes. But why is our team at Water and Earth so excited every time we get the opportunity to design for an Eichler client? Let’s talk about it.

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When I first moved to California, I had never seen an Eichler before. However, I knew the type of design that inspired me and quickly realized that these historic homes were reflective of the unique, forward-thinking design I wanted to bring to Water and Earth. To own one of these homes is to own a piece of design history, and to work on one is to help steward this history into the modern day. Thus, the first time we had the opportunity to work with an Eichler client, we jumped immediately. 


Over the years, we have had the privilege of working with a growing list of Eichler clients here in California. As each of these projects have wrapped, it has only reaffirmed that Water and Earth designs are a seamless fit for Eichler homes. Modern lines, a blend of manufactured and organic materials, and timeless color palettes paired with funky design choices all allow our outdoor living spaces to feel like a natural modern extension of the home’s original design. 


As our list of Eichler clients continues to grow, we are proud to say that we have come to specialize in designing outdoor spaces for these iconic homes and will still give Eichler clients priority over other potential projects.


As stated, Water and Earth has been fortunate enough to work with a number of historic Eichler homes owned by California clients. In each case, it is important to us that the design of the outdoor space does not compete, detract, or diminish the impact of the home’s design. Rather, we aim to complement, creating a space that allows the historic architecture to shine. When all is said and done, a great outdoor space should look as though it is a natural extension of the home itself, creating an overall feeling of comfort and unity that is tangible throughout the whole of the design.


A classic example of the design that put Eichler homes in the history books is showcased in the home below. From the flat roof and minimal street-facing facade to the enormous wall of windows looking over the backyard, we were thrilled to create an outdoor space that would blend beautifully with the iconic architecture of the home.


The front of the home features standard, small, rectangular windows and a classic flat roof that overhangs the walkway. The homeowners had recently added a new garage space and were eager to create curb appeal that would compliment the home while maintaining its low-profile appeal. In true California style, we decided on a grassless yard full of native, drought friendly plants alongside a new driveway and concrete walkway along the front of the home. 


Moving around to the back of the space, you see the large wall of windows that opens up the indoor space to the outdoors. This design ethos allows the homeowners to blur the line between indoor and outdoor living–something Water and Earth strives to achieve in our spaces as well. To compliment the open, airy feel of the home itself, we decided on a custom pergola finished with a breezy fabric canopy over a warm-toned, wooden deck.


Echoing the classic center atriums of a classic Eichler home, we inlaid custom spa, executed so that the edge of the water is seamless to the top of the decking. The final result is a classic, modern outdoor space that mimics the open-concept layout of the home itself.


This next design was created for an Eichler home in Los Altos, California. Like the Castro valley property, this home features a classic flat room and rear facing glass windows. As seen below, the peaked atrium is visible, rising above the profile of the rest of the home. 


These clients had a larger property to work with, and were interested in some larger features such as a full size swimming pool, tanning deck, and lawn space. Our job was to merge all of these elements and create a space that felt fresh and in line with the classic elements of the home itself.

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In the image above, you can see the finished space. The open layout manages to create distinct spaces that merge seamlessly, echoing the layout of classic Eichler homes. The full-size pool features a diving board and inlaid spa. The hardscaping is composed of a blend of concrete pavers and composite wood decking. In the background of the frame, you see the large lawn space complimented by the property’s existing trees and finished with native plants.

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Above you see another view of the home, this time at dusk. In this image you see the beams and classically “Eichler” windows which are integral to the architectural style. Visible in the image above are the small, rectangular pool tiles that separate the spa from the larger pool. Waterline tile in a different colorway transitions the pool to the coping and pool deck. To take this space from day to night, we installed a series of low profile lights that illuminate the space without interfering with any of the clean lines of the space.


In this Eichler outdoor living space, we were working with a home built on a uniquely shaped triangular lot. The outdoor square footage wasn’t as large as most standard yards, but the clients were looking to make the most of it. 


After talking to the homeowners about their wish list, we ran through two design iterations and landed on a final design inspired by funky mid-century staples like the living room conversation pits. In the images below, you see the sunken living space fully rendered.

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From their back entrance, the homeowners step down a series of long, linear stairs into a cozy indoor-inspired outdoor space. Modern materials such as interlocking concrete pavers and a steel supported custom pergola blend with organic elements such as pebble, a wooden seat bench, and drought friendly landscaping to create a classically “California” feel to the space.

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As in previous designs, the clean lines and low profile of the space compliment the classic architecture of the Eichler home without overshadowing it. By matching the light tones of the exterior of the home and blending man-made with organic materials, we are able to capture the same spirit and ethos that made Joseph Eichler’s designs synonymous with California style.


As designers, we have enormous respect for the iconic styles that have evolved and enabled the creation of the outdoor living spaces we create today. It is not every day that we get to work with little pieces of architectural history that so closely match our own personal design aesthetics. So when we do get the chance to design for Eichler homes, we make sure to stay true to the source material while also incorporating all of the items on our clients wishlist. 

If you’re an Eichler homeowner looking for a design team who truly understands and respects the design elements that make your property unique, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out today to get started.

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