Monday, November 14, 2011
Now YOU can build your own NEW Eichler!
Yes, it's really possible, thanks to Houseplans.com, which has now made available eight different models with a full set of legitimate plans for $4,500 each. That's reasonable considering the costs of hiring an architect and structural engineer to design something for you from scratch. The site promises to help determine if a selected plan will fit within your budget, and will provide you a location specific cost based on your zip code. The sad irony is that these houses were designed with the indoor/outdoor living of California in mind, but because of strict earthquake codes, new construction with large amounts of glass would seriously impact any of these designs. First you'll be required to get geological reports, soils reports, and if you're still willing, you'll be required to hire a structural engineer who will, based on the codes, require reducing the glass area and adding a lot of steel. At the end of the day you'd probably end up with something that won't have even a passing resemblance to an original Eichler and many times more expensive than simply trying to find an old one. But who says indoor/outdoor living must be restricted to California? For those of you living in other regions where building codes are less restrictive, these plans could well be a gift from Midcentury Modern heaven. You'll probably save yourself a lot of trouble by finding a flat lot and don't even think about a basement. These houses were designed for slabs with built-in radiant heating. As far as the legitimate Eichler building supplies, many are still being made and the Eichler Network is a good resource for making your Eichler as modern as it should be with information about light fixtures, house numbers, etc. The thin grooved exterior paneling, for example, is being manufactured by Eichler Siding. I bought a lot of paneling from Jeff and Annette for a house I remodeled in Los Angeles in 2006; the cost was quite reasonable plus they were very courteous and friendly. Large glass panes are still available and will be one of the higher ticket items in these days of insulated safety glass (but worth the cost). If anyone has actually built a new Eichler, I'd love to hear from you and see the results.