Houzz Tour: Restored Eichler on the Waterfront
1962 Eichler Sheds '80s Layers to Get Its Classic Lines Back
Vanessa Brunner April 27, 2011
Houzz Editorial Staff
‘‘This is one of those homes that makes me really, really jealous of my client," laughs designer Gary Hutton. "I love the whole house." Located right on a waterfront off the San Francisco Bay, the house is a 1962 A. Quincy Jones house, and is only one of very few custom homes built by Joe Eichler. Having worked with Joe Eichler's son for about 10 years, Hutton was intimately familiar with the original style of the home. The home had been remodeled in the 1980s, and its original interior had been buried among all the misplaced flair. "It was terrible," says Hutton. "Loads of sheet rock, floors glazed to look like pink marble … There was little that they left untouched." After his client purchased the home, they were able to get the primary floor plans from A. Quincy Jones's widow in Los Angeles. By pure coincidence, the client also learned that one of her friends had actually built the original home — which allowed for a first-hand source on how to restore the home to its original state.
20 Spectacular Beach Houses | Browse beach-house photos
20 Spectacular Beach Houses | Browse beach-house photos
The owner is an esteemed collector of mid-century art. Although she originally purchased the house as a home for her daughter and future son-in-law, they decided to move to Los Angeles instead. Not wanting to give up the beautiful space, she decided to house a good portion of her incredible art collection in the home — including the Andy Warhol portrait of Joseph Beuys over the living room fireplace.
Looking out onto a lagoon in Belvedere, the home's large windows highlight the unique silhouette of the George Nelson Marshmallow Sofa. Since the client's art was to be such a huge focal point for the home's decor, Hutton wanted to stay true to the feeling of the '60s and '70s. The Marshmallow Sofa is a reupholstered re-edition from Herman Miller, and is accented by two end tables Hutton found for a little over $100 in a junk shop in San Francisco — which he simply had refinished for an additional cost.
The living room is Hutton's favorite home in the house. The open space, soothing colors, amazing furniture, and fabulous use of light makes it a welcome and calming space. "The house is great because it's a really reasonable scale," Hutton says."It's not a gigantic house. I can actually imagine living in it."
The Artichoke light fixtures, designed by Poul Henningsen and made by Louis Poulsen, add that perfect touch of calculated elegance and modernity to the living room. The intricate structure contrasts well with the clean design of the Florence Knoll couches and vintage Hans Wegner coffee table.
Because the home has only two bedrooms and an office, there was no need to create a large eating area. Hutton kept it simple with six chairs upholstered in the same tones as the living room, and a Florence Knoll table. Although the dining room is relatively small, the open layout and large windows from the living room and hallway make it light and airy, giving it the illusion of space.
The bright red door is the only significant pop of color in the home, acting almost like a beacon for the entrance and exit, and drawing the eye down the main hallway and front entrance.
Natural light and organic materials blend smoothly with the colors and layout of the house. Built directly on the water, Hutton knew that it would be a waste to ignore the incredible natural beauty of the house's surroundings, and kept this in mind as he remodeled the home.
Built in the traditional Eichler fashion, architect Craig Hudson left the front of the house relatively void of details. The home was designed in a classic ranch style that is simple, structural, and very indicative of mid-century design.
For all of the outdoor furniture, Hutton decided to use the Richard Schultz 1966 Collection — originally designed at the request of Florence Knoll herself. This line was meant to withstand the salty air and sunshine at Knoll's Florida beach home, so it's the perfect fit for the Pacific weather in Belvedere.
A sheltered deck with Richard Schultz 1966 Chaises provides the ideal cover from the winds of the San Francisco Bay, while still allowing for plenty of California sunshine.
The back of the home is very open to the water, and the client makes good use of this with beautiful deck. While designing the interior, Hutton found that the lighting and the space was very particular in the home — with some rooms having an enormous amount of natural light, and other rooms having hardly any at all — and had to be extremely careful about how each room was planned spatially.
When Hutton first took his tour of the house, the guest room was the only room that had thankfully been spared the over-the-top 1980s remodel. He used a Piero Lissoni for Porro bed-frame, accented by Glo-Ball lamps by Jasper Morrison for Flos. Since the large photograph by Eija-Liisa Ahtila is the primary focal point for the room's decor, little else was needed to accent these high-quality pieces.
Like the guest bedroom, the master bedroom is a place of serenity, pulled together with soothing whites and naturally lit from skylights and a door to the side garden.
The kitchen layout is very much the same as the original home. Hutton maintained the galley style that was present in the original plans, but added high-end, energy-saving appliances and custom cabinetry. "We weren't doing a 100 percent, line-for-line restoration," Hutton says. "It was a little more creative because we felt like Eichler's houses were about using modern materials and using what was available. So we used that perspective. A lot of aspects of this home were about using the next generation of upgraded materials."
In both the living room and the dining room, Hutton used Raymond Loewy rugs for Edward Fields. Both of these patterns had just been re-issued at the time of the re-design, and are a great example of authentic period design. "We wanted the home to have the flavor of the era," says Hutton, "and we were really lucky in that mid-century furniture is experiencing such a revival."
Marigold chairs accent a large piece by Sarah Morris in the house's den. The game table is a very early and very rare Charles and Ray Eames game table made for Herman Miller. Since very few of these were made during a very short period of time, Hutton and his client were thrilled to find such a gem.
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