The term “Eichler” has become practically synonymous with Mid-century Modern houses in California. More than 11,000 Eichler houses were built in California between the late 1940s and mid-1960s, with the highest concentration in Northern California. But here in Southern California, Eichler neighborhoods in such cities as Orange and Granada Hills are still hot properties for folks who like sleek, modern design.
The name “Eichler” actually derives from the developer, Joseph Eichler, a businessman whose architectural aesthetic was said to be inspired by living in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. After World War II, returning soldiers and the following baby boom increased the demand for middleclass housing. Eichler’s houses contrasted with most of the other tract houses going up during that era—usually boxy traditional or ranch-style houses. The modern houses simply became known as “Eichlers” because of their unique architecture.
Eichlers are best known for blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors all but make walls invisible and flood houses with natural light. The floor plans are typically U-shaped, forming an open-air atrium in the center of the home. The genius of the houses’ layouts is that despite all the large windows, there are few if any windows in the front so it’s completely private from the street.
So what are the characteristics of Eichler houses and why are they so different? Here’s a brief list of some of the most notable Eichler features.
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