HOMAGE TO THE EICHLER HOME
The architectural plans were complete and my clients were now ready for their next step. They reached out to me for help selecting materials for both the exterior and interior of the house: windows, roof, doors, color palate, wall treatments, kitchen design, 2.5 bathroom design, and furniture selection for public spaces such as the living room, kitchen and dining room, as well as for the master bedroom.
This project took a year and a half, from start to finish -- one of the lengthiest projects I’ve been involved with. The upside in long projects is that you get to know your clients well, which is always a treat. My client’s incredible sense of style is what made this project so much more enjoyable for me. We share a common adoration of patterns, natural materials, fabrics, and textures. The first material selected for the house entrance and guest bathroom was cement tile flooring, in appealing teal and mustard hues. This choice determined the colour palate for the rest of the house, which we used in a variety of ways.
The first thing my client expressed to me was how much they’re drawn to the Eichler style and their desire to implement similar elements within their own home. Paying homage to the Eichler form, their architect created vaulted ceilings and expansive openings to maximise natural light. As for the interior of the house, my goal was to establish modern clean lines that are characteristic to Eichler homes. To achieve this look and feel in the kitchen I chose slab cabinetry complimented by a straight-lay backsplash. Early on I decided that colors and textures would be expressed through the furniture and accessories. Eichler inspired shiplap on the ceilings achieved this extra texture, and was repeated outside on the entrance canopy roof to create a sense of continuity. Since the house was built upon a crawl space, we could have easily gone with wood flooring, but instead choose 24x48 inch porcelain tiles for the main section of the home to emulate an industrial cement feel that is signature to Eichler. For the bedrooms we used wood flooring.
Entrance and Exterior: From the outset we knew that the windows would have thin black frames, to contrast the white painted body of the house. We aimed for a simple design, modern and elegant, with textures to add sophistication and character. Shiplap along the bottom of the walls adds interest, and a teal colored door hints at the intrigue awaiting inside. Combine these elements with ipe wood, cement landing and a plethora of greenery, and there you go. You really don’t need any more than this!
Kitchen: For the kitchen we wanted to create a modern yet warm feel, with interesting features. To achieve this we combined colors and textures -- BM Classic Gray for the tall cabinets and wall cabinets, and Rift White Oak veneer for the island and lower cabinets, as well as the floating shelves. We used two metal materials -- black matte and brushed nickel. The countertop is a combination of small terrazzo that accentuates the warm hues of the wood, and the cold hues of the light gray cabinets, thereby tying everything together nicely.
I especially love the custom-made counter stools. They’re from Blue Dot and are beautiful. However, once they arrived my client decided that they wanted something a bit different, so we decided to reupholster the chairs with Kravet tie dye denim fabric.
Since this kitchen has a vaulted ceiling, the architect made sure that structure was securely supported by beams. Beams are usually exposed and made from wood, but my client expressed an affinity for thin metal beams. We therefore installed thin structural metal beams across the kitchen ceiling and painted them in a black matte finish. The result is airy, modern, lively and fun.
Atrium: My clients are big fans of nature and the outdoors. To accommodate this their architect created an atrium to function as a place to sit and enjoy nature while remaining indoors. The atrium is a main feature of the home’s public space and the rest of the home’s spaces revolve around it. It’s a unique and interesting component that one can enjoy all year round thanks to California’s comfortable weather. We added a well-placed sideboard to showcase succulents and other plants. The sideboard also comes in handy for storing special dinnerware and is a perfect place for a fancy spread of food and drinks when hosting parties or other memorable occasions.
Living room: The living room furniture is mostly custom made. We spent days perfecting the look for this room, making sure that it would blend seamlessly with the kitchen and dining room within this open space. During one of our furniture hunting trips in the city my client fell in love with a particular giraffe print fabric and asked to incorporate it in the room design. We used this fabric for a custom made ottoman that also features faux leather. The colors of these fabrics, combined with the mustard tiles at the home’s entrance, are the first things you see upon opening the teal painted main door.
Powder Room: There are so many spaces I love in this project, it’s difficult to determine which one I love most. One of the spaces I find refreshing is this powder room. It feels daring and interesting and definitely has that ‘Wow’ factor when you enter. I believe that powder rooms should be pleasantly surprising to anyone who enters. The brass-toned wallpaper that we chose for this room gives it that extra oomph. Combined with the concrete floating sink, wall faucet, and two shapely hanging light pendants, this narrow space comes to life. To protect the wall from water damage we used vertical wood paneling, painted the same light shade as the wallpaper’s base color. All in all, this design hits that sweet spot that balances crisp energy with harmony, which adds intrigue to this small room.
The Office: Upon entering the house there’s a beautiful office space that boasts the same windows as those at the back of the house. We wanted to define this area so that it would feel separate from the home’s other public spaces, yet still flow agreeably with the rest of the home. To achieve this we painted the walls and wall cabinets a dramatic teal color. It’s a bright room that enjoys an abundance of sunlight throughout the day. The teal color boosts this brightness and gives this space a hefty dose of well deserved character. We maintained the shiplap ceiling but painted it light grey, to compliment the richness of the teal.
Master bath: While searching for inspiration we spotted a charming vanity on Pinterest. With tongue-and-groove exposed, it looked somewhat unfinished. To some of you it may look like it’s partially installed, but we were drawn to this ‘je ne sais quoi’ characteristic so our carpenter whipped up some magic and created a vanity just like it. I designed it to feature a laundry pull-out, and finger grips as drawer handles instead of hardware. For consistency we decided to stick with cement flooring but changed the scale to 12x24 inches to give it that Mid Century feel. On the walls we used glass tiles with a textured pattern and matte finish, in light blue.
Master bedroom: With teal being a theme color, we chose a slightly gray toned teal colored bed from Design Within Reach. Its shade makes it look like a close relative of the teal that appears in other areas of this house. The lines of the bed are modern and clean. It sits against an accent wall that’s painted Odessa Pink (by Benjamin Moore). This combination works well because while we wanted this room to feel soft and romantic, we also didn’t want it to feel too feminine. The gentle pink, the teal-toned bed, with the bold abstract art on the wall above it, come together in harmony. The contemporary brass lamps on black lacquered nightstands, on either side of the bed, balance the metallic shimmer that runs through the artwork. And the luxurious white linen sheets, topped with extra pillows and earthy rust-toned shams, makes this a winner.
Guest Bathroom: The cement floor tiles certainly take the cake in this room. They’re absolutely gorgeous, upbeat and colorful, and the teal tone is consistent with the overall theme of the house. My client discovered a vintage piece of art on Etsy, which is perfect for this space. It brings out the teal accent, and lends this room extra color and depth.
Architect: Michael Marsh
Photographer: Vivian Johnson