When we purchased our custom 1964 Eichler (designed by John Brooks Boyd, A.I.A.), from the estate of the original owners, the house was almost completely hidden from view by years of unchecked growth. Neglect and deferred maintenance had turned this classic mid-century modern home into an eyesore; so much so, that on my first visit I didn’t even want to get out of the car. Thankfully, my husband persuaded me to step inside for a quick peek. It was love at first sight, except for the kitchen.
Closed off from the surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows, the kitchen was dark and claustrophobic. But by removing two interior walls and two pocket doors, we knew we could make the kitchen feel larger and brighter without actually changing the footprint.
The photograph above shows the original Eichler kitchen. Cooktop and double oven on the left (facing the backyard), refrigerator, sink and dishwasher on the right. The living room is visible through the open pocket door. On that very first visit, I envisioned a large island with an unobstructed view of the backyard and a deep single basin sink. To achieve that goal, the cooktop and sink would need to trade places -allowing us to add a ventilation hood without obstructing the view. Meanwhile, the refrigerator and ovens would find a new home in what was an enormous closet. I sketched this plan on a scrap of paper (the very one we gave our architect); the result is shown below.
The above photograph shows the original foyer and kitchen (with one pocket door open on the far right), as seen from the living room. Wall-to-wall carpet had been installed (“to help sell the house”). The open doorway in the center of the frame leads to a bedroom. A portion of our front courtyard is visible on the far left.
Left to right in the above photograph: the foyer (and beyond, an open bedroom door), kitchen, dining room, and backyard patio (with overgrown bamboo), as seen from the living room. Demolition has begun; one pocket door and the wall-to-wall carpet have been removed. The carpet tack strips are still visible.
From left to right: the foyer, kitchen and dining room, as seen from the living room. One interior wall, both pocket doors, all kitchen appliances and carpet tack strips have been removed. The electrical conduit coming up from the floor could not be moved, forcing us to design the island around it. The large storage closet visible on the back wall now houses a new pantry, double oven, refrigerator and bar niche (as seen in the “after” shot below).From a similar vantage point in the living room.
Our kitchen by Henrybuilt (with Gaggenau induction cooktop). A portion of the new laundry room is visible through the doorway on the right. A small portion of the living room and front courtyard are visible on the left.
From a similar vantage point, during demolition. The wall-to-wall carpet has been removed and the original floor tiles are visible in the dining room. A seamless vinyl floor covering is visible in the kitchen, as are the carpet tack strips.
With the interior walls and pocket doors removed, the living room, kitchen and dining are now one integrated space. The front courtyard is visible through the living room windows.
Another view of the original kitchen during demolition, from the dining room. Notice the divots in the concrete slab created when the carpet tack strips were nailed in place.
One of our cats assumed this shelf was installed strictly for her benefit.
Again, a view of our original Eichler kitchen, as seen from the dining room. The door to the garage is visible to the right of the dishwasher.Afterwards, the kitchen from the same vantage point. The former door to the garage now leads to the new laundry room.
The cooktop elevation of our original Eichler kitchen, looking towards the dining room and backyard. Notice the ceiling mounted ventilation hood. The upper cabinets were donated. Sadly, the appliances no longer worked.