Recently, I was lucky enough to cover the home tour of this drop-dead gorgeous original Eichler in Palo Alto, California, for Houzz. Oh you guys, it is so pretty! After living in New England these past years, I constantly crave the wide open layouts so common back in my home state of Cali. And the homes built by Joseph Eichler are some of the best examples of indoor-outdoor, casual living, period. Definitely a dream home…at least, it would be for me! Take a look:
This home was completely renovated inside, getting rid of dated and worn finishes, and tweaking the floor plan to improve flow without altering the basic Eichler layout. My favorite feature is the central fireplace, which was altered to allow for a wide screen TV to be mounted on the opposite side. Such a smart use of space, don’t you agree? The renovation was managed by Flegel’s Construction, the architect was David Yama, the designer was Alison Damonte, and Rhonda Greenblat of Paper Dolls Wallpapering handled the wallcoverings — and I think that the quality of the work is evident in every detail.
There have been a surprising (to me, anyway!) number of passionate comments by readers who strongly feel that none of the original Eichler features, finishes, and so on, should have been altered in any way. I couldn’t disagree more. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the desire to preserve the character of a space, and not to try make a house into something it is not.
You can take a remodel too far, but I do not believe that was done here. To me, this feels like a very fresh and current update that makes sense for a busy, large, modern family, yet still honors the original style and layout of the Eichler home that it is. Painted woodwork can always be stripped back by a future owner if they really want to do it, and living with dark woodwork overhead can feel oppressive to some.
I say, if it’s your house, paint it, wallpaper it, and furnish it any way that makes you happy because you are the one that has to live there! It’s true that in a home with historic relevance, like this one, it is important to honor the original home as much as possible, and as I have said before, I think that was done, and done well. The pros who were chosen for this job have extensive experience working on Eichler homes, and no changes were taken lightly. …So, that’s my two cents!
Now I would love to hear your thoughts — do you think it’s okay to make changes to an older home? Where (if anywhere) would you draw the line?
p.s.: You can see the full Houzz Tour here
(Images: Bruce Damonte Photography)