Customize Your Plan With Contemporary Cabinetry
Now that we’re able to offer copies of rare mid-century modern Eichler plans, it’s important to think about how you can update and customize them — or indeed any plan — for today. For example, adding storage space can be an important consideration. Cabinetry is one way to go: Seattle’s Kerf Design — an especially inventive cabinetmaker specializing in sleek, vividly hued eco-friendly units — shows how, with everything from
entire walls of different sized open-and-closed compartments, to
sideboards for storage and display in the dining room or hall to
elegant and efficient vanities to
character-building kitchen cabinets, cubbies, and drawers. I like their three-pronged philosophy: honesty of material, which means revealing the beauty of the plywood edge; honesty of construction: keeping things simple with exposed joinery, asymmetrical arrangements, inset doors and drawers, and notched hand holes; and honesty of function: making sure there is a reason for every detail. I also love their color palette
as in this thin console, which to my eye is irresistible. And Kerf’s work is all green, using only FSC-certified plywood made with formaldehyde-free glue and finished using a process that eliminates all volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also have a lower cost do-it-yourself product line that is shipped flat for you to assemble.
Kerf’s work is especially appropriate for modern houses because it embodies similar architectural values — but it can invigorate almost any interior. Interestingly, Kerf’s founder, Nathan Hartman, just told me that his cabinets are being installed in a remodeled Eichler right now.
Build Your Own Updated Eichler
Thinking beyond storage solutions, here are some other suggestions to get you pondering how to make an Eichler layout — or any house plan for that matter — your own unique design. Take a look at Gregory La Vardera’s Spirit of Palo Alto, Plan 431-11, shown below,
in a view of the rear elevation. The layout
is itself an update of a classic Eichler atrium plan. In fact it’s very close to our Eichler Plan 470-4, shown below:
Now, see how Greg tweaked the original plan for today. He took the washer and dryer out of the garage and gave them their own laundry room set between garage and kitchen; part of the laundry functions as a mudroom or family entry. And he opened up part of the kitchen to the living room by replacing a wall and a door with a peninsula/buffet bar, as shown in this interior view:
The idea, according to Greg was to create a balance where “the kitchen is still a discrete room even though it may be open to the living space.” He also added a kitchen island to expand the counter space.
Another major change is in the master suite. Today most people want a feeling of spaciousness in the master bathroom, along with bigger closets. As this cropped view of Greg’s plan shows,
he reconfigured the bathroom to accommodate twin vanities, which give a more luxurious feel without adding a lot of space — in his view “bigger bathrooms = more bathroom cleaning. Yech.” Similarly he installed closets along the bedroom’s two interior walls instead of using a walk-in closet, which he considers a space hog.
Or consider architect Robert Nebolon’s Palomino Plan 438-1, which is an adaptation of an existing Eichler: his own house. The following view is from the backyard and shows how the family room opens to the rear patio.
A key move was to divide the galley kitchen into two sections —
one for cooking and eating, one for and storage and desk work — while connecting it to the family room and living area on either side. He also added such eco-friendly elements as low-e glass skylights, a roof that’s composed of 10.5 inch-thick Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and is designed to support photovoltaic panels, and a fireplace insert instead of a conventional wood-burning fireplace (such units do not require a chimney).
Consider these ideas when you think about modifying a plan. Then work with our Design Department, run by Chief of Design Nicholas Lee. We’ll help you create your own unique living environment, whether it’s modern or traditional or something in between.