On the Market: Midcentury Marvels



The post-WWII period was a heady time for residential architecture in the Bay Area. During the building boom, developer Joseph Eichler created a distinctive version of the California ranch home and brought modernism to the masses. Meanwhile, notable architects like Joseph Esherick built private homes that integrated modernism’s clean lines and open layouts with the organic sensibilities of Northern California, helping to define a uniquely regional style. Half a century later, a new audience has come to value these homes for their honesty and clarity.

This 1965 ridgetop retreat was designed by Aaron Green, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright.“It’s really like living in a piece of art, not in a house,” says Monique Lombardelli, CEO of Modern Homes Realty in Palo Alto, which focuses exclusively on homes from this period. Among her current listings is a 1965 ridgetop retreat in Soquel designed by Aaron Green, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright. The home features an intricate floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, pool and Japanese gardens; the price has not yet been set. Representing the sleeker side of modernism is the 1961 Daphne House in Hillsborough, designed by L.A. architect Craig Ellwood. The crisp steel-and-glass house looks out onto the golf greens of the Burlingame Country Club; it is available for $5 million and is offered through Crosby Doe Associates of Beverly Hills.

In addition to these one-of-a-kind estates, thanks to Joseph Eichler, the Bay Area has whole subdivisions of midcentury-modern homes, which afford the special experience of living in a community with his aesthetic. There are 11,000 Eichlers from Marin down to San Jose, as well as homes built by Eichler competitors. San Francisco has a cluster of Eichlers in Diamond Heights and is home to the developer’s only foray into high-rises: the Summit in Russian Hill.

Joseph Eichler-designed homes are in high demand.The low-key homes emphasize a connection to the outdoors, rather than asserting themselves on the street. The most-prized Eichlers are located in neighborhoods that have taken care to protect their architectural integrity through homeowners’ associations. Two prime examples are Greenmeadow in Palo Alto, which is on the National Register of Historic Places; and San Rafael’s Upper Lucas Valley, the last subdivision that Eichler designed. Homes in the latter neighborhood are larger than previous iterations and have better finishes; Eichler also designed the development without utility poles and streetlights so there would be nothing to clutter up the streetscape. “Joe and his design team brought all of the wisdom they had evolved from the time they started building,” says longtime Marin Realtor Shelley Munson, whose mother Catherine was a salesperson for Eichler Homes for many years.

This 1960s Eichler home  in Willow Glen is listed for $1.3 million.Now collectors’ items, Eichlers often fetch more when they are in their original condition. Currently on the market for just under $1.3 million is a 1960 Eichler at 1633 Fairorchard Avenue in San Jose’s desirable Willow Glen neighborhood, represented by Eric and Janelle Boyenga at Intero Real Estate. While not in virgin condition, the original mahogany paneling and globe lighting help the home maintain its groovy state.

A version of this article appeared in the February/March 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Midcentury Moment.

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6 Juniper Point Road, Branford, CT
Classic modernism, refined materials and stunning LI Sound views imbue this steel framed waterfront property with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, open floor plan, concrete radiant heated floors, high ceilings, large rooms and walls of glass. The main floor master is nearly 900 square feet with en-suite guest bedrooms, study and private in-law apartment set apart. A zen-like court-yard features a heated Gunite pool. Shoreline living at its architectural best.

6 Juniper Point Road

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23 Remington Road
23 Remington Road is a 2,759-square-foot home in the River Road neighborhood of Palmetto Bluff. This four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home features a living room that effortlessly flows into the kitchen and back porch. Two gas brick fireplaces, custom molding and ample outdoor living space add a layer of charm. Conveniently located, this home is within walking distance of an amenity center and the River Road Preserve, a 120-acre protected maritime forest.



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Historic Wyndecote
Built in the heyday of 19th century Hamptons summers, Wyndecote has been meticulously renovated for which John David Rose won the 2018 AIA Peconic design award for outstanding achievement in historic preservation. The home offers ten bedrooms, eleven baths, three half-baths, and seven fireplaces. Among the refurbished and reinstalled elements are the 70+ “lead” paned windows. Wyndecote was built originally by noted owner-architect Robert H. Henderson, and hosted the Duke of Windsor and the King of Spain among its guests.

Sotheby's International Realty

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248 Gay Street, Sharon, CT
Expansive & protected western views from this 5BR, 5BA completely renovated home on 18 acres in Sharon, CT. Kitchen, Dining, and Family Room open to an enclosed porch with distant views. Living Room w/fireplace overlooks pastoral views and pond. First-floor master suite with fireplace. 3 Upper BRs and 2 Full BAs. Guest suite w/ full BA & separate entry. Bonus Room in Basement. Heated Gunite Pool. Privately situated.



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