Q: What’s an Eichler?
A: “Eichlers” are classic mid-century modern homes built in California between 1959 and 1974 by visionary Joseph Eichler. These homes are known for blurring the line between indoors and out, and typically feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls and oversized sliding glass doors that lead to private outdoor “rooms” like courtyards, atriums or patios. Other classic “Eichler” features include exposed post-and-beam construction, open floor plans, radiant-heated concrete floors, Philippine mahogany paneling, tall ceilings constructed from 2×6 tongue-and-groove redwood decking, flat or low-sloping roofs with deep protective overhangs and horizontally sliding cabinet, closet and garage doors. These homes lack basements, crawlspaces and attics; the vast majority of are single story homes. This type of architecture is often referred to as “California Modern” and was greatly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Unlike most developers of his era, Joseph Eichler hired respected architects and established a non-discrimination policy – offering his homes to buyers of any race or religion. He was a man ahead of his time.
Q: What’s an American Foursquare?
Built between 1895 and 1930, “American Foursquares” are Prairie and Craftsman-inspired box-shaped houses found throughout the Midwest, but exist in nearly every part of the United States. These homes were a reaction to the overly fussy Victorian style that preceded them and share many features with the Prairie architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright. The vast majority of “Foursquares” are two-and-a-half story houses with full basements, pyramidal hip roofs, front porches that often span the full width of the house and square shaped interior rooms. The first floor typically has four rooms: an entry foyer with staircase and closet, a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. On the second floor, there are three bedrooms and a bathroom. Other classic “Foursquare” features include five panel wood doors, built-in cabinetry between the living and dining rooms and Prairie-inspired, simple woodwork (newel posts and balustrades, door frames, baseboards and trim). These compact, easy-to-build homes provided roomy interiors and were ideally suited for small, narrow city lots. Their practical nature and simple, straightforward design made these homes easy to build; plans were even sold by mail order.
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