Posted by Janice Phalen, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2013 at 10:45 am
I grew up in an Eichler in San Rafael. Floors that needed jack hammers to repair the radiant heat, a small kitchen, big drafty windows, tar & gravel roof, etc. Warm floors were great, repair was huge! Didn't really appreciate any feature but the atrium area where we had an amazing Bird of Paradise plant. I wondered why the atrium couldn't have been closed in for a larger family room or bigger bedrooms. Laundry area was off the kitchen - very small kitchen and built in formica table that four could sit at. Our family couldn't wait to move to a larger house and smaller heating bills. Houses were hot in the summer with all the glass too. I don't see the romance with these houses. Never liked living in one, it felt like a cheap track house - which it was. Brick fireplace in the living room provided heat for about three feet out from the fireplace due to the tall ceilings.
Posted by Janice Phalen, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm
And these houses would burn with their bad wiring and open glass in less than 7 minutes. Fire department could rarely save one, or parts. Once we saw the smoke, as kids, we were trying to help the burned out family. Moving to a slightly larger house, as a college kid, was more for comfort and function over an Eichler. I don't get the fascination.
Posted by Joneser, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2013 at 9:37 am
I had a friend that lived in an Eichler home. While the warm floors were comforting, it took forever to change the temperature inside the home. That made it difficult to change the temperature for sleeping, or to respond to rapid changes in the outside temperature. Most of the Eichler hopes were small - OK for a single or a couple, but too small for families. They also had flat roofs which is always a problems for leaks. After my friend sold the house, the heating system developed a leak requiring the slab be jackhammered and pipe corrosion problems were found - a major expense. They tried to come back on my friend saying he sold it to them knowing there was a problem. They lost, but it created some big headaches for my friend.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:10 am
Dear Consumers: DO NOT BE MANIPULATED BY REAL ESTATE AGENTS THAT WILL NOT TELL YOU THAT BUILDING MATERIALS THAT WERE USED WHEN THE ORIGINAL EICHLER HOMES WERE BUILT ARE NOT THE EXACT SAME MATERIALS THAT WILL BE USED IN NEW EICHER HOME/CONDO CONSTRUCTION.
For a small city to introduce/consider Eichler construction is wise.
sorry Joneser and Janice Phalen...thank you for the opportunity for letting me offer another perspective on function and impressive modern architecture...
Posted by Mr. Geeneyuss, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm
If you notice the majority of the original Eichler homes just happened to be designed for and built on the Peninsula, San Francisco & Marin Counties. You know, that part of the Bay Area where the summer heat rarely gets above 85 (average Aug.-Sept. temperature of 78.5 degrees in San Mateo County btw) and winters rarely get below the low 50's.
Trends for remodeling Eichlers into what are being called "Ultra Eichlers" typically utilize double & triple panned windows, specific zoning and computer temperature controlled heating, ceiling fans, extensive use of shade trees, plants & water features in the Atrium and backyard areas and highly efficient insulating roofing materials. You've all heard the commercials and one clever businessman has made a KILLING off refitting older Eichlers and making them more energy efficient and you probably know the phone number...
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Feb 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm
yup...it's 2013 and building codes are different when the original Eichlers made their debut...there are improved building materials, construction techniques and alternative ways to redesign the interiors with improved paints. foors, and ways to save energy.
who knows better than joneser & ms. phalen of real estate fame!
please describe the "bad wiring" and PROVE IT...TEE HEE...
Posted by Dan the Man, a resident of the Vineyard Hills neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm
I lived in an Eichler in Castro Valley and it was my favorite house ever, so far. It was perched on the top of a hill so all I had to do was open up the windows and a lovely cross breeze would cool the house down quick. The radiant heat floor was bliss along with the atrium and all the windows. The fireplace didn't heat up the house so well but overall it was a nice place. Had a full size pool and overlooked the Crow Canyon valley. loved it!
Posted by Colleen Stafford, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2013 at 9:55 am
I grew up in the Eichler Highlands in San Mateo County. There were many unique features, the heated floors and the light from all the windows and the atrium. Our original Eichler burned down in 1970 in 6 minutes. The Phillipine mahogany walls fueled the fire and yes it was electrical wiring that left our family of ten homeless. We rebuilt with our friend's redesign, architect Paul Gumbinger. The house had a slight pitched roof, sheetrock walls, more bedrooms and all the windows.
I currently live in Vacaville and there are two Eichler homes. I think its great that they are popular and in demand.
Posted by Open rooms Reason Fire is such a problem, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2013 at 10:13 am
Often the Eichler houses have interior walls that stop at 8 feet, but the roof is higher, leaving a gap above.
You can see this in some of the pictures on the website Cholo posted. (Thanks!)
In the pictures, this shows mostly from the kitchen to the hall, but most were also open to the bedrooms, etc. This was cheaper.
It allowed air to circulate, (making it hard to heat just one room) but also allowed sound to travel. In case of fire, the smoke and flame goes everywhere, which is why they burn so fast, and so completely. All that exposed wood contributes, too.
Over time, most owners have extended the interior walls up, just for privacy.
The lack of an attic makes heating and cooling a big problem, so they are better where temperatures are moderate, like Palo Alto, Castro Valley. There's no space where you can vent the attic heat, and no place to add attic insulation,
or even to run a wire for a telephone, or a new electric outlet or fixture.