Posted in Architects, Balboa Highlands, Eichler Homes, Mid Century Modern, Small Kitchens

New Year ~ New Vibe

A door knocker from Atlas Homewares.

Hello 2009!

What do you have to say for yourself?

2008 was in short, a sticky wicket of a year leaving most of us uncertain of a lot of things.

2009 is starting off lean but hopeful. I predict that more people will turn to cottage industries brought to life through the internet to bring in new forms of income. There are stories all around us of people who are reinventing themselves. I love that!

Here is one story that is close to my heart. The LA Times has a story that peaked my curiosity: An Eichler house in Granada Hills gets restored on a budget. I grew up near the Eichler’s in Granada Hills and I remember the first time I fell in love with modern architecture and Eichler Living.

My 3rd grade friend Michelle S. lived in a Eichler Home on Jimeno Avenue in Granada Hills. Here is the thing: When you are a kid, everything seems so much bigger. I am sure now, if I go back the rooms would seem smaller and I probably would want to rip out all of the horrible remodeled kitchens and restore them to the purist form of the Eichler. But it was an impact on me nonetheless. It was then, stepping through for the first time to the inner courtyard, viewing with awe, from a third graders vantage point, the glistening floor to ceiling glass walled courtyard, that I knew I loved modern architecture. Putting together our homework projects in her Eichler home were good times. Her house was much different than my 1960’s long and rambling ranch style home I lived in. It was then I developed a love of architecture and identifying period styles. It was the early 70’s, still a fairly new neighborhood at the time, in the era of the Brady Bunch before they went into re-runs. Speaking of the Brady’s, the Eichler’s used a lot of Walnut paneling. I kind of felt like I was in Mike Brady’s den.

Van Gogh elementary school was the brand new elementary school, also post modern in it’s design, where all the neighborhood kids attended. As a kid, I had many great memories of the Eichler neighborhood: the slumber parties; the girl scout crafts we made at another school friend’s Eichler house on Nanette Street; on Lisette Street where the very nice retired school teacher who’s name I can’t remember, but I will never forget that she taught us, the neighborhood kids, how to make s’mores on a bar-b-que from her Eichler backyard deck overlooking the Van Gogh playground. Halloween nights winding our way through the steep hills thoughout the whole neighborhood; This was a care-free time, when kids ran free in neighborhoods, played outside until the street lights went on at dusk. I lived around the corner from the elementary school and the Eichler neighborhood was above us in the hills, referered to as the Balboa Highlands, I remember looking up from my backyard, where I could see the Eichler Homes on the hill and looking at the lights coming on inside from these modern glass walled homes and wishing I lived there. I am sure today that the trees have grown tall, obscuring the views but my fondness for the Eichler has never left me.

Fast forward to today, it’s great to see an Eichler home restored. Thanks to the LA Times, we get to see a story of an Eichler tastefully restored on a budget and even greater story of watching one person transform her love for modern design into a viable business. Click on the link to Cindy Epping’s web based mid century modern furniture store, and see how she has parlayed her hunting and gathering into a phenomenal website for period furnishings, www.onestopmodern.com.
Bravo Cindy! Ingenuity is the mother of invention.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the LA Times Story.
All photos by (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times).

A detail of the casework: a fresh new look that preserves the period vibe.

Epping updated her kitchen, trying to preserve the original ambiance while adding modern touches such as the new faucet for the original avocado-green sink. The cabinets were sanded and restained.

Carpet tiles from www.flor.com form a rug in the kitchen.

A pair of Bertoia wire chairs from the 1960s take their place in Epping’s atrium.

A little color in the living room: an orange-stiched ottoman from
Urban Outfitters and a blanket from Anthropologie.

Like many Eichler homes, the entrance to Epping’s house is an atrium. She cleaned up the space, keeping the slat roof (not original to the design) but replacing the plants and adding a simple Primelite lamp.
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