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The Eichler Lady


Preferred Service Companies General Contracting & Remodeling . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Replacement Exterior Siding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Architectural Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Kitchen/Bath Cabinetry & Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

Roofing Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Profile text: Dan Smith Profile photography: Mike Gordon and Jonathan Braun Cover photo: Sabrina Huang Photography Design: Doreen Jorgensen

Leak Detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Radiant Heat Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Air Conditioning & Supplemental Heat . . . . . . . . . 22

EICHLER NETWORK Marty Arbunich: Director 415.668 .0954 – marty@eichlernetwork.com Chris Marcoccio: Marketing Coordinator 415.307. 3801 – chris@eichlernetwork.com

Electrical Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Windows & Sliding-Glass Doors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Window Coverings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Solar Energy Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

The Eichler Network Home Maintenance Directory is published annually by the Eichler Network, P.O. Box 22635, San Francisco, CA 94122. Available by mail at $8 per copy. Information regarding back issues and CA-Modern magazine can be obtained through

Real Estate Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 More Recommended Service Companies . . . . . . 32

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Value added. Keycon heads: (L-R) Oscar Avendano (project manager), Tiffany Truong (estimator & designer), and Ron Key (president).

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving the Entire Peninsula 650-965-1256 office@keyconinc.com www.keyconinc.com

RON KEY LIKELY HAS UPDATED more Eichlers than any other general contractor in the Bay Area. In business for more than 35 years, his Keycon, Inc. concentrates on Eichler whole-house construction and remodeling, additions, and kitchen and bath remodeling. Key doesn’t just focus on construction. He spends a considerable amount of time working with customers on the design process, which oftentimes includes an architect in the mix as an integral part of the project. But Key’s three-plus decades of experience with Eichler renovation has proven to be invaluable when it comes to his making recommendations for incorporating design elements. “Most projects are designs first,” Key says. “We can do a bathroom remodel that ranges in price based on the design and selected materials. It all depends on the level of finishes and what the homeowner is trying to achieve.” Decisions like these, Key says, will impact cost while they increase the functionality of the home. Keycon projects begin with an on-site meeting with homeowners to discuss their objectives. While an expert contractor may have a very realistic idea of what things cost, it is natural that

homeowners may not. The value that an experienced Eichler-focused contractor like Key can bring to the table is one of combining tasks and reducing the number of separate vendors needed to complete the project. As Key points out, “The value-added aspect my company brings to the process encompasses a design engineering level, as well as a construction/project management/budgeting level—all rolled into one.” Key also believes that it is important to be practical when approaching home improvement. Today, we are all facing safety and energy efficiency issues that did not exist when Eichler homes were built. He reminds us, “Back then, the environment wasn’t always considered, and it didn’t seem to matter how energy efficient the homes were.” Now, it’s all about “being pragmatic as well as trying to be true to the core design,” says Key. Key finds working on Eichlers and with Eichler owners to be a unique experience. “Eichler owners have a strong affinity for their homes, more than other types of homeowners,” Key finds. Call Keycon today for your free consultation for Eichler kitchen, bath, and whole-house remodeling; additions, new construction; repairs; and more.

CA license #888337 6


Successful formula. The Starburst Construction team is comprised of co-owners Cindy (far right) and Phil Carey (second from right), son Brian Smith (far left), and Marissa Smith (second from left).

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving the Palo Alto Area 408-448-1328 cindy@starburstconstruction.com www.starburstconstruction.com CA license #580070

DOING QUALITY WORK is the most important part of a contractor’s job. But good communication is a close second. If a builder can’t communicate with their clients and prospective clients, then their top-notch set of skills quickly become moot. That’s no problem for Starburst Construction, a homeowner-friendly general contracting team that puts communication at the top of its priority list. “We like to come in and hear what your dream is for your home,” points out Cindy Carey, one of Starburst’s principals. “We can then strategize on how to best help you achieve your goals while keeping in mind your lifestyle.” To maintain communication through each project, project management software and an app are utilized, allowing clients to log in and get real-time status updates for their specific project. “This truly helps set clients at ease,” says Carey. “It’s another tool in our tool belt for helping make sure everything with our clients run smoothly. “If homeowners are going to be traveling, they can check and see who’s scheduled at their home. If there’s an inspection that day, they can see the schedule. If there are materials that need to be selected by a certain day, all those items are listed.” Starburst’s successful formula has been refined

throughout its 40 years in the construction industry, and its team continues to grow and evolve as Cindy’s son, Brian Smith, and his wife, Marissa, carry on the Starburst legacy. Through that succession, Starburst’s inherent attention to detail and quality continues. “All projects are given full concentration on the details to make sure that the job is done right,” chimes in Brian Smith, now a Starburst principal. Working in the Eichler communities, where Starburst has built quite a reputation, has become one of the company’s specialties. “Whatever the upgrades the Eichler client has in mind—whether it be windows, kitchens, full-home remodels, additions, or custom homes—we can assist with all that the project requires, eager to help accomplish client goals,” Carey points out. “We bring dream homes to life,” Carey adds as her icing on the cake. “You can ask our clients about that. As one of them told us, ‘I thought that saying was cheesy, but it’s true.” As another one pointed out, “The ease of working together with Starburst Construction, their understanding of my goals, ability to generate creative solutions within our budget, positivity, outstanding proposal package, perfect follow up, solid team of trades all point to a strong recommendation.”


Relationships are key. Building Company’s Michael Spehar: “We pride ourselves on doing things correctly, the right way, and not cutting corners.”

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving Sunnyvale/San Jose 408-265-7500 michael@thebuildingcompany.org www.thebuildingcompany.org CA license #425229

AT THE BUILDING COMPANY, relationships are key. That includes the relationship between the father-son team at the head of the operation; their relationship with their employees, subcontractors, and suppliers; and most importantly, the relationship with the customer. Building Company principal Michael Spehar says lots of communication and a straightforward, honest approach are the ways to keeping the client relationship healthy. “Communication is key in this business, especially here in the Silicon Valley, where everyone’s connected and informed,” Spehar says. Since so much of remodel construction involves various trades and uncovering parts of homes that may be damaged, a constant flow of information helps mitigate surprises. “We keep the customer informed of what the next steps are,” Spehar says. “We keep them abreast of what the costs are, how we’re doing, if we’re staying on budget.” Spehar says it’s also important to him as well as his four-man crew to remember they’re working where someone lives, so “our big thing, I can’t stress it enough, is being clean. We put a lot of emphasis on dust control. We pride ourselves on doing things correctly, the right way, and not cutting corners.”

Then there’s the relationship with the suppliers, places like Eichler Siding, from whom Spehar obtains his exterior siding, “as well as providers of special Eichler trims and moldings.” When people buy an Eichler, and they want it to be true to the original, we need to come through for them.” If one of Spehar’s suppliers can’t get him exactly what he needs, he makes it himself. “Each era of design is just a little different,” he says. “Some of the paneling, for instance, has a detail on the edge, where the two panels meet. We can actually duplicate that in-house.” Spehar recalled one Eichler that had original siding rotting under a slap-dash layer of new material. “We came through and removed all that siding and ripped out all the old original stuff that was behind it, and resided the whole house. It came out beautiful. The neighbors were all coming over going ‘oh, man, is that house for sale?’” The Building Company’s projects focus on kitchen and bath remodels, additions, decks, dry rot repair, beam restoration, and exterior siding installation.


Collaborate • Build • Renovate • Kitchen & Bathroom Renovation • Beam Restoration & Replacement

• Siding Replacement • Additions & Accessory Structures



tim@timlawlorconstruction.com CA License #929031


Exclusively Eichlers. Henry Calvert, Eichler enthusiast and contractor: “I truly understand the needs of others living the lifestyle.”

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving the San Mateo Area 650-578-1972 calven@sbcglobal.net www.ExclusivelyEichlers.com CA license #521412

HENRY CALVERT HAS been in the construction business for 30 years. Two decades ago, he bought his first Eichler, in the San Mateo Highlands—and then everything changed for him. For the past several years, Calvert has worked on scores of Eichlers throughout the upper Peninsula. While Calvert is especially fond of drawing projects in his own Highlands backyard, where he is especially well known, his focus also extends to the Eichler communities of San Mateo’s 19th Avenue Park, Burlingame, Foster City, and Redwood City. Involved in all aspects of Eichler construction, Calvert tends to spend the majority of his efforts on whole house interior remodels of existing structures, kitchens and baths, and select addition projects. He also does window and slidingglass door installation, siding replacement, dry rot repair, and earthquake retrofitting. What Calvert likes most about living in an Eichler is its “livability and the nice flow of the floorplan.” Calvert also empathizes with his clients, having undergone a major remodel of his own Eichler home, a Highlands fixer-upper, which he eventually sold. The home is set on a huge lot, which gave Calvert and his crew plenty of room to spread out while

it underwent a transformation. The project was extensive, and even included the installation of a new radiant heat system. To get a handle on the quality of Calvert’s work, and to gain an appreciation for his fine finished carpentry, just get inside one of them for a look around. Calvert shows off his handiwork with a splash each time there’s a San Mateo Highlands Eichler Home Tour. Several years ago, his featured Eichler was his own remodeled home. In 2017, his showcase was an eye-popping rebuild, in conjunction with Klopf Architecture, of a an Eichler on Tarrytown Street that was lost to fire. “I guess the main thing that potential customers need to know about me is that I like to work exclusively on Eichlers,” says Calvert, who continues to live in a Highlands Eichler. “I truly understand the needs of others living the lifestyle. “Since we have that common understanding, and share an enthusiasm for the same type of home, my customers especially enjoy the fact that I know exactly what I’m doing and exactly what I’m talking about.” Maintaining the integrity of the original Eichler design aesthetic is a key ingredient in Calvert’s work. “There are ways to remodel your Eichler,” Calvert says, “and still retain much of that original intent that Mr. Eichler set forth.” 8


Less is more. “I’m all about the design,” says general contractor Craig Smollen. In fact, he bills his company as “An Architect’s Best Friend.”

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving Marin & San Francisco 415-271-0568 craigsmollen@mac.com www.smollenthebuilder.com CA license #968840

IN A FORMER LIFE, Craig Smollen may have been an ancient architect, with eyes toward the modern world. “I think my greatest strength is that I speak the same language as architects,” says Smollen the Builder, the name of Craig’s company and domain name of its stylish website. “Wexler, Schindler, Lautner, Quincy Jones, Neutra—they’re all heroes of mine,” says Smollen, reeling off a ‘Who’s Who’ of mid-century modern architecture on the West Coast. “When you walk through a modern home, things are coming in and out of view,” he observed of the clean lines and glass walls in such houses. It’s one reason why he tries to minimize any design changes or shortcuts, so as not to take away from the big picture. “I find that less is more.” An East Coast native who now lives in a midcentury modern home in Marin, Smollen also maintains reverence for good modern design through his communication with clientele. “I’m often telling my clients, ‘Don’t let your carpenter design your home,’” says the Mill Valleybased, licensed general contractor. “I try to carry the design through to the end. I’m all about the design.” Smollen has been woodworking professionally for three decades, since his teens, and along the

way he learned what he was good at and really liked to do. “I really only do modernist housing these days. I realized that’s all I was really interested in doing,” he says of a work portfolio that includes several Eichlers. “They tend to be remodels that look like they’re built from the ground up.” Smollen’s ‘less is more’ philosophy does not apply to his attention to detail, however. He stresses he’s a “mud-on-the-boots contractor,” adding, “I’m on the job, I’m actually there a lot, I’m involved.” “That’s why people like working with me,” Smollen says, noting that he generally uses a small core of about four reliable subcontractors on his work. He recalled bidding recently on a Quincy Jonesdesigned home in Kentfield, exulting, “It’s beautiful, it’s all glass.” “My goal is to look back in 15 years and see three to five architecturally significant houses [like this Jones one],” he says of his next phase of project experiences. “Then I’ll feel happy with my life.” It certainly can’t hurt when design staffs peruse Smollen’s website and see the company motto proudly displayed as a reassuring headline: “An Architect’s Best Friend.”


Happy people. “It’s really about the long-term relationships we form with clients,” says Vida Building Systems’ Jonathan Cunha (above).

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving Marin & San Francisco 415-868-8881 jcunha@buildwithvida.com www.buildwithvida.com CA license #946778

FOR JONATHAN CUNHA, the small stuff matters. The contractor knows that each tiny aspect on a remodeling project, or in an interaction with a customer, can make the difference between success and failure. And after 25 years in the Bay Area construction business—first as a carpenter, then as the head of a company called Fusion, and now helming Vida Building Systems—Cunha knows how to get the details right. “I don’t let a few dollars here or there be the deciding factor in how we do something,” Cunha says. “It’s really about the long-term relationships we form with clients that allow us to get good references moving forward.” The most important aspect of his work? “Happy people,” he says. For example, Cunha, who studied architecture before getting into construction, recalled a recent project in Mill Valley, where he and his team did a large-scale, high-end remodel on an Eichler. Their goal was to keep the original look while updating it to modern standards of efficiency and comfort. For that project, after fixing a dozen or so leaks in the radiant system, Cunha said his team made custom fittings that allowed the new FSC-certified

wood flooring to fit in conjunction with the original doors. “We wound up putting custom grooves in so that the flooring would fit, since it was a little higher than the original cork flooring.” That kind of problem solving defines Cunha’s relationship with Eichlers, which he said he became enamored with over his decades of building in the Bay Area. “It’s about understanding how the pieces work together,” he says. “It’s not like a ‘normal’ house where you cut wherever you want, and then go into the crawlspace and reset it.” Eichlers, Cunha points out, with their slab foundations and ceilings without attics, are far less forgiving than most homes. “It’s certainly a challenge, but I really thrive on that kind of work. It’s always exciting.” But success is not just about understanding houses, Cunha says. It’s very much about understanding the people who live in them. “Our philosophy is basically to do whatever we can within reason to keep our clients happy,” Cunha says. “We just do the work to the best of our ability, and then stand behind it if there’s a problem.”


We Bring Dream Homes to Life Whole-house remodels • Kitchens Baths • Additions • Patios

Call today for a free initial consultation

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cindy@starburstconstruction.com • StarburstConstruction.com License #580070 • Certified Green Building Professionals



Bigger is better. “We enjoy a good challenge,” says Tim Lawlor of his 12-person shop, now taking on bigger projects in a larger work space.

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving the East Bay 925-852-9199 timlawlorconstruction@gmail.com www.timlawlorconstruction.com CA license #929031

TIM LAWLOR does not want homeowners to despair, even if owning their home is no longer the thrill it once was. “It can be a bland, boring house, but if you dress it up with these modern effects, it really makes it pop!” Lawlor says with the confidence backed by 19 years in the construction business, half of that time with his own company. The chance to spruce up a house in need is also good for his staff. “We enjoy a good challenge, because the ‘same old’ gets boring,” he adds of his 12-person shop in Martinez. Lawlor and crew are enjoying their larger space on Sunrise Drive, which has allowed him to take on larger projects since moving there a few years ago. “We work on kitchens, bathrooms, and additions, while also specializing in Eichler remodels,” he says of their current workflow. “You need to update them to make them work for modern functions.” Although Lawlor sees the need for contemporary functionality, it doesn’t dull his appreciation of mid-century modern design. “I just really enjoy the clean lines and the openness,” he says, admitting with a smile, “I’ve never been drawn to ‘country kitchens.’” This is a sensibility shared by Kelli Lopez, the company’s project development manager and

in-house designer, who also does a lot of the client communication. “Kelli does most of the conversation when it’s a design situation,” Lawlor says of Lopez, who has a degree in interior architecture from Cal State Chico and lifelong mentoring from her father, a teacher of construction topics in Butte County. Lawlor added, “I deal with pricing it out, making it fit into a budget.” Although the company has several trusted suppliers it relies on, such as Eichler Siding, they also meet client needs with in-house construction and fabrication. “We do a lot of milling ourselves, we just get the raw materials and make it work,” says Lawlor, adding of mid-century homes, “As we all know, what was standard back then is often not to be found these days.” “When cabinetry is involved, we prefer to work with higher-end materials and fabricators,” he admits, reflecting a company philosophy of quality materials and installation. “Our clients not only want a beautiful product, but also a great amount of function from everything they order,” summarizes Lawlor. “We always strive to supply a great-quality product at a reasonable price.” Quality and function—Lawlor’s perfect antidotes to boring! 10


Masters of the game. Larco’s Frank Larson (left) and business partner and son Tyler: keeping the original aesthetic of Eichlers.

General Contracting & Remodeling Serving the East Bay 925-595-3180 larcoconstruction2018@gmail.com www.larcoconstruction.com CA license #564651

WHEN IT COMES TO EICHLER remodeling and repair, the name of the game is solid expertise and problem solving. And a master of the game in the East Bay is Frank Larson of Larco Construction Services. A general contractor with 30 years of experience and his own cabinet shop, Larson, along with his three-man crew, handles almost every aspect of his work internally, only rarely using subcontractors. Keeping all his work in-house, says Larson, allows him to keep close track of each project, never letting the job get away from him. “With that approach, you connect better with the customer, and you connect better with the project,” he says. Larson’s hands-on approach, coupled with his decades of experience, has made him an all-around expert with Eichler maintenance and remodeling. “I’m very comfortable with Eichlers. I can take one apart and put it back together in my head,” Larson says. “I started creating custom cabinets years ago, and eventually I picked up the electrical, sheetrock, that kind of stuff, to have better

control of the overall project. My business kind of morphed into doing all areas of remodeling.” This all-around know-how comes in handy when it’s time to get projects permitted by the city. In fact, one inspector was so impressed with one of Larson’s recent projects that he came out and photographed it for his portfolio. “It was so outside the norm, to say the least,” Larson says. “I’m always trying to figure out how to comply with new standards and keep the original aesthetic of the homes. Inspectors may say ‘no, this can’t be done,’ and then if you strategically present your case, they’ve been known to say ‘oh, we didn’t realize it was going to be like this.’” Larson’s outside-the-box problem solving and his appreciation for modern design draws him closer to the people who own Eichlers. He relates to his customers, he says, not only as a businessman, but as a fellow enthusiast. “The type of people who buy and live in an Eichler, we seem to have compatible personalities,” he says. “I love what I do, I love my work—and I’d do this even if it were my hobby.”


Grooving. As Eichler Siding for the past two decades, Jeff and Annette Nichols produce three patterns of replacement exterior siding.

Replacement Siding and Fencing Serving the Entire Bay Area 415-883-5300 jeff@eichlersiding.com www.eichlersiding.com

JEFF AND ANNETTE NICHOLS operate a specialty family business that’s special to Eichler owners. Without Eichler Siding and the Nichols’ three patterns of exterior replacement siding, the Eichler neighborhoods would be looking a little shabbier these days. Thanks to Eichler owners throughout California, Eichler Siding’s business has experienced steady growth in each of its 30 years in business. The Nichols’ siding is produced in three basic Eichler-friendly patterns: the thin line; the wide line; and another called PlankTex, featuring a swirl pattern. Each of these patterns is made to Jeff’s specifica-tions and designed to match your Eichler’s original exterior siding. In addition, Eichler Siding has the capability of producing other, lesser-known Eichler groove patterns as well as special custom designs. Do Eichler owners need to replace their siding? And why is it important to maintain the original look? First of all, your original siding is your Eichler’s barrier between life inside and the weather conditions outside. The sun’s rays, rain, heat, and cold work together to break down its integrity. As a natural product, wood is subject to rot-

ting when exposed to water. And when given enough time, says Jeff Nichols, “the weather will eventually win.” Secondly, consider your home’s potential resale value. Having siding that matches the original is important because it ensures consistency, which is highly prized by potential buyers. “Consistency is a good thing in an Eichler,” says Nichols. “And inconsistency can be a night-mare for real estate agents when they’re representing an Eichler whose siding has mismatched patterns, or features some other pattern altogether. This makes them harder to sell. And homes that have original-style siding carry higher prices than those that don’t.” Eichler Siding recently expanded its product line by offering cedar fencing featuring the familiar vertical Eichler-groove pattern and a unique interior combed-plywood panel called ‘Weldtex.’ Nichols likes working with his Eichler customers because of the pride they take in their homes. “They value the historicity of the Eichler world,” Nichols points out. “Eichler owners like to think of their homes as if they are classic cars. And they like to keep things original.”


Palo Alto Glass has the ideal solution for sliding glass doors and windows

Offering high-quality products that complement the Eichler design   

Double-pane replacement glass Sliding glass doors Sliding, single-hung and casement windows Exterior glass and aluminum fences Mirrors and tabletops: polished or beveled Showers: framed or frameless glass

Visit our Palo Alto showroom at 4085 Transport Street

650.494.7000 License #676029

Visit our website at www.paloaltoglass.com

Proudly serving Eichler owners and the entire Peninsula for over 35 years


Seamless designs. John Klopf is a 27-year design veteran who specializes in MCM projects with a designer’s eye and a modernist’s soul.

Architectural Design & Consultation Serving the Entire Peninsula 415-691-7227 info@klopfarchitecture.com www.klopfarchitecture.com

JOHN KLOPF IS AN ARCHITECT with a designer’s eye and a modernist’s soul. Over the last 19 years, Klopf Architecture has designed more than 150 Eichler home remodels, and over 225 mid-century home projects in all. Klopf’s staff of architects and designers ‘get’ mid-century modern. Together they have developed an arsenal of maneuvers designed to update the functions of mid-century modern homes while keeping changes compatible with the Eichler aesthetic. The Klopf team believes in blending the indoors with the outdoors. “Seamless transitions and continuous materials were major tenets of Eichler home design,” Klopf says, “and we often push for even more openness in our mid-century home remodels. “People should be able to live comfortably in energy efficient houses that stand the test of time in terms of design and durability.” Klopf’s team sees the importance of keeping the look, feel, and overall flow as original as possible while meeting today’s building standards, including better comfort and energy efficiency, and stronger earthquake resistance. “Eichler homes were designed to use space efficiently…maybe too efficiently,” says Klopf, “so we look for ways to re-arrange, expand, or add spaces, and update them in ways suitable for today’s families while respecting the original architect’s vision.”

Klopf’s typical project includes opening up the floor plan to create a more ‘flowy’ feeling of space while cleverly hiding away storage or increasing bathroom sizes. Klopf uses his clients’ lifestyle goals as a guide for the design direction. “The question I always ask myself and my clients is ‘what are we doing and why?’” Klopf says. Klopf Architecture’s range of client services include full design collaboration, assisting with permits, and creating construction documentation prior to the construction of each project. Cataloging all materials, fixtures, and finishes, and indicating where each will be located and how it will be installed before construction, really puts the finishing touches on each design. This level of detail also offers clients a more accurate comparison of bids from potential contractors. Klopf Architecture also represents most clients during construction, maintaining communications with the contractor throughout every step of the process. “Homeowners find it comforting to have an expert on their side until the very end,” Klopf says, “answering design or technical questions and checking to see if the work is going along according to plan.” With a mix of ingenuity and pragmatism, Klopf Architecture brings even the biggest projects to a smooth close. Sometimes, as Klopf points out, his firm’s designs are so seamless one can’t tell where the original structure stops and the remodel starts. 12


Responsive communication. “We have a very multicultural team,” Stacy Eisenmann says, and an affection for modern design. Pictured above: Eisenmann (left) with staff project manager Mariati Paham.

Architectural Design & Consultation Serving the East Bay 510-558-8442 admin@eisenmannarchitecture.com www.eisenmannarchitecture.com

IN A DESIGN STUDIO THAT VALUES responsive communication with clients, principal architect Stacy Eisenmann likes to point out that the essence of that skill has been brought together in her office from points all over the world. That direction, she says, was guided early on in her professional education at Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture program based on the principles of the Bauhaus school in Germany. In addition, having been raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and choosing to locate in the Bay Area, those factors are the direct cause and effect respectively of Eisenmann’s appreciation for cultural diversity. “We have a very multicultural team,” Eisenmann says, praising members of her eight-person staff from countries including France, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, and Poland. Studio Director Aska Wieloch-Kim, for instance, came to California from Poland via Cornell University, also renowned for teaching modernism. Six of the team members are experienced designers and skilled at guiding projects through the design process, with Eisenmann contributing to the design direction and maintaining creative control of all the studio’s projects. The architect says her firm, which she opened in 2007, has enjoyed designing remodels of numerous Eichlers, some of which have won awards. In fact,

a few years ago, one of the firm’s Eichler kitchen designs was an award-winner in a kitchen remodel competition held by the Eichler Network. “Even if we’re working on a Victorian,” she says, “we’re applying modern principles to the space planning.” Driven by modern design sensibility, Eisenmann Architecture imparts that element through its travel log full of perspectives. “I like that it feels peaceful when you’re in it,” says the veteran architect of modern design. Praising the modernist “sense of space” and tendency toward open floor plans, Eisenmann adds, “It’s a way for a family to still be connected but not necessarily right next to each other.” “We enjoy detailing in steel,” she says of a favorite modern-style material, noting a preference for accents and railings made from cold-rolled or occasionally powder-coated steel. Of course, designs produced by the studio primarily flow from the needs of the client, to which the designers listen very closely. “We’ve had a number of clients come to us after having ended the relationship with their first architect because they didn’t feel listened to,” says Eisenmann. “People come to us for the service. We develop trusting relationships with clients because we really listen to them,” she promised, adding, “We can be sensitive to what they’re asking for with the diversity of our team.”


Added value. Custom cabinetmaker Troy Doolittle likes to design to match how “a client desires to live and function within a space.”

Custom Cabinetry & Design Serving Sunnyvale/San Jose 408-412-1609 hello@doolittledesign.com www.doolittledesign.com

AS OWNER OF DOOLITTLE DESIGN Company, Troy Doolittle is a local cabinetry designer working exclusively in the modern design space. “Like Joe Eichler, and the people who buy his homes, I have a strong affinity for modernism,” he says. “The opportunity to collaborate with likeminded homeowners, designers, and architects is wonderful. “Because we’re a local Bay Area company, we encourage on-site consultations. These face-to-face meetings generate a stronger connection with clients that is reflected in the final results.” “My most successful projects come from working with people who are enthusiastic about design and their home,” he continues. “And when you look at the Eichler neighborhoods, you would be hard-pressed to find a more passionate community.” As anyone who owns an Eichler home can attest, Joe Eichler created strong neighborhoods, but these homes desperately lack storage. “Unless there has been a significant renovation, there are always rooms that could use more sensible storage space that complements the visual language of these homes,” Doolittle says. At the onset of any project, Doolittle believes the most important thing he can do is listen. That begins with understanding the homeowner’s needs. “While all Eichler homes have similar styles

and layouts, each Eichler homeowner has different project goals. It’s really important to design around how a client lives and functions within a space,” says the designer. “I’m not trying to change how they use their kitchen or storage areas. I’m striving to make it more functional and efficient.” As Doolittle’s business has grown, he has expanded and refined the cabinetry he creates. “While we always stay true to our modern aesthetic values, we have developed built-in and modular cabinetry systems for nearly every room of the home. “Spaces like the office and garage benefit from a modular system,” he says. “Kitchens, baths, and living areas need a more formal, built-in solution. However, both solutions can be tailored to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and personality.” Doolittle recently created a line of home office cabinetry that incorporates a support-pole hardware system. “This line was inspired by an Eichler client who loved the pole system but wanted better quality cabinetry than what was commercially available,” he points out. Doolittle strongly believes cabinetry should follow a path of sustainability away from the world of disposable products. “When you use high-quality materials and durable construction methods, and pair that with timeless design, you achieve a longer product life cycle,” he says. “And that’s what Doolittle Design Company is all about.” 13


Making a difference. “We do it a little different than most companies,” says Paul Lawson of Shelton Roofing’s 75-year ‘secret’ for success.

Built-up Roofing Serving the Entire Peninsula 650-961-7699 sheltonroof@earthlink.net www.sheltonroof.com CA license #261091

IT’S BEEN YEARS since there was a Shelton at Shelton Roofing, which is named for its early 1940s founder. All the same, consistency is the hallmark of this Mountain View-based operation. “The most important thing when dealing with the public is communication,” says Shelton president Paul Lawson, who joined the company decades ago, as did much of his staff. To accomplish that communication, he adds, “We do it a little different than most companies.” “Most companies, when you have a salesperson, that’s all they are,” he explained of Shelton’s client-relations methodology. “We like to follow homeowners the whole job with the same person.” In addition to being both a sales rep and estimator for the job, Lawson says, at Shelton “they’re also kind of a project manager as it goes through the process.” After 75-plus years in business on the Peninsula, Shelton not only has a fleet of 30 service vehicles staffed with roofers, but also a crew of four estimator/managers, including Lawson himself. “Customers like that because then they have continuity with who they’re talking to,” the president said of the company’s single-contact style of project management. Just as that style of personal service is based on decades of tradition, so too is

the company’s allegiance to time-trusted materials. “A lot of people moved away from tar and gravel— we’re one of the ones that stuck with it,” Lawson said of the materials that comprised Joe Eichler’s original choice for a roofing system. The company also does modified bitumen and single-ply sheet roofing systems, but Lawson says many of the sales and distribution professionals he deals with think the superior product is, what he calls, good old “T&G.” “Our little niche with Eichlers is tar and gravel,” said Lawson, whose brother-in-law’s father purchased the business in 1942. Lawson was hired in 1973 and notes, “We’ve been doing Eichlers ever since they were built, and we’re still doing them regularly today.” Shelton’s chosen material suppliers are Malarkey, Certainteed, and GAF, Lawson said, adding, “We’ll do other things if people want, but those are our main ‘go-to’ materials.” Lawson said about 70 percent of Shelton’s roofing projects are residential, and he seems content assessing the family business accordingly: “We’re not as big as some, but we’re pretty big as far as residential roofers go.” And they’ve been there for South Bay and Peninsula homeowners, consistently—for threequarters of a century. 14


Full-service company. Cal-Pac’s team of estimators (L-R): Earl LeDee, Tony Fredericks, Brian Fallon, and John ‘Sonny’ Rossi.

Duro-Last Single-Ply Roofing Serving the San Mateo Area 650-286-0450 calpacroofing@sbcglobal.net www.cal-pacroofing.com CA license #735061

BASED ON 30 YEARS of experience atop roofs of Eichler homes, Cal-Pac Roofing strongly believes that the best, most versatile roofing system can be found in Duro-Last, a single-ply membrane that is lightweight and completely waterproof. Operating in San Mateo since 1989, Cal-Pac is a full-service roofing company specializing in new installations and reroofing. Cal-Pac has found that working on flat or low-sloped roofs is not without its challenges, describing typical Eichler roofs as difficult designs to begin with, especially those with no slope built in. However, Cal-Pac feels comfortable and confident on any kind of roof, Eichlers included, and as a company spokesman emphatically points out, “we stand behind our work. It is just that simple.” But what are the advantages of single-ply roofing, and the Duro-Last product in particular, on an Eichler? For one thing, you can put any amount of water on top of this system, and it will not leak. It’s ultra-lightweight and completely approved by all state and local building codes. It’s been used nationally for the past 30 years has proven to be a long-lasting,

maintenance-free system. “We’ve tried every type of flat roofing material available and found Duro-Last to be the system that solves many potential problems,” Cal-Pac says. Comprised of a pliable yet incredibly strong and durable thermo-plastic formulated sheet, the membranes are pre-assembled at the DuroLast factory to each roof’s specifications, and then installed on site as a custom prefabricated roofing system with minimal seams. And since the DuroLast material is highly reflective (up to 86 percent), it also reduces heat gain to help keep the house cooler on hot summer days. As an option, rigid insulation may be applied under the membrane to increase the total insulation value. The addition of skylights, solar panels, or other changes at a later date is easy to do because the system is extremely flexible to enter and reseal for a qualified installer. Cal-Pac has noticed a change in recent years, with heightened consumer awareness from Eichler homeowners and the desire to use the best products available to enhance the quality and value of their homes.


All in the family. Dura-Foam Solar Center’s management and sales team, with owner Randy Feriante (bottom row, far right).

Polyurethane Foam Roofing Serving Palo Alto to San Jose 650-327-3200 info@dura-foam.com www.dura-foam.com CA license #435836

DURA-FOAM ROOFING & SOLAR CENTER owner Randy Feriante has good reason to believe in his company’s work. “Our customers have found our roofs to be ideal for Eichlers,” he says. “Foam roofing certainly has some attractive properties.” And, as he also readily points out, “So does our company.” “First of all, sprayed foam is absolutely water proof and you cannot hurt it by walking on the hard surface. “Secondly, it is lightweight, thus reducing structural stress. Thirdly, it is the very best insulator. Also, it can be built-up to displace the areas of very heavy standing water.” What’s more, Feriante says, the Dura-Foam product is the only kind of roofing material that is ‘renewable.’ “We haven’t needed to replace any of the roofs we originally installed,” he says with great pride, “and we’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years.” When Dura-Foam customers recoat their DuraFoam-installed roof at the five-year mark, the company extends the customer warranty to 15 years. “It’s inexpensive to recoat early—and, after all, we are dealing with the smart Eichler owner who purchased the roof,” Feriante says. “A new owner doesn’t know about our hi-tech roof and will treat a roof like plumbing or painting and wait until something looks wrong.”

After recoating, he adds, “Our foam roofs typically won’t need coating again until past the 25th year.” Feriante also recommends that Eichler owners consider recoating just prior to putting their home on the market. “It is a smart idea to re-coat right before a house is sold,” he says, “so the buyer has a guarantee, and the transaction has the benefit of a clean roof inspection.” Dura-Foam offers roof-mounted solar-energy installations in addition to foam roofing. Feriante points out that a long-lasting foam roof is a perfect match for solar installs, which, he says, are lasting 50-plus years. “Since solar and the roof always come into play with each other on residential solar systems, it’s no wonder why Eichler owners are more careful these days about roofing choices,” he says. “It is an expensive mistake to put solar over a roof that will last only 12 to 15 years.” Feriante’s focus on decades of quality roofs has earned Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. “A huge pool of satisfied customers makes us who we are,” he adds. As a former Eichler owner himself, Feriante especially enjoys and appreciates working with Eichler owners. “People that have Eichlers love their homes, and they’re among the nicest group of homeowners anywhere. I love working with them,” he says. 15

landscape architecture



E-mail: info@aboutinsideout.com Website: aboutinsideout.com



One-stop shop. Abril owners Rick Abril (left) and David Kumar are best friends—in a roofing partnership that spans two decades.

Polyurethane Foam Roofing Serving Marin, San Francisco, East Bay & San Mateo 866-630-7663 info@abrilroofing.com www.abrilroofing.com CA license #841849

SOME PAIRS OF INVENTIONS are just made for each other. Ask the Smucker’s jam company or Reese’s chocolates how they feel about peanut butter. To Rick Abril, Eichler homes are one such invention, and their ‘peanut butter’ is a product initially used just for insulating conventional roofs. In fact, one of the most popular mistaken beliefs homeowners have harbored over the years had to do with sprayed-on polyurethane foam as a roofing material. “A common misconception about foam roofing is that it’s soft and spongy,” says Abril, co-owner with David Kumar of Abril Roofing Company, noting that the foam fully hardens in 30 seconds after being applied to the roof. With 20-plus years in the roofing business—and close to 2,000 Eichlers roofed—Abril and Kumar are used to the learning curve for customers regarding foam roofs. “We specialize in spray foam, and that’s such a perfect fit,” Abril says of why Eichlers are such a large part of their business. He cited the Abril EcoFoam’s capacity for insulating a home while resisting ponding or leaks on flat roofs, adding, “They were made for each other.” After spraying on 1.5 inches of seamless foam, the roof is topped with a flexible elastomeric coating. The two combine for a lightweight, virtually leak-proof enclosure. Whenever Abril’s staff finds maintenance issues

that stand in the way of readily applying their EcoFoam, the company has what it takes in house to handle the repair, especially for Eichlers. “Any dry rot we find, we have the materials to fix it,” says Abril, explaining that the company stocks the necessary tongue-and-groove decking board, and exterior siding too, in its East Bay warehouse. They also replace skylights because, he says, “Reroofing is a perfect time to replace skylights, and Eichlers always seem to need them.” Another problem that can affect Eichler roofs starts in the foundation—specifically, the domestic water pipes. “When those go out, they have to reroute piping over the roof,” Abril says. “We also have all that plumbing expertise nearby. “We’re like a one-stop shop. Whatever it takes to repair your roof, we get it done.” Customers usually work with Abril initially, and then Kumar, who dispatches and manages the work crews. It’s a successful roofing partnership that dates back two decades—even before the two men launched Abril Roofing with Rick’s father, Richard, who’s now retired. Abril and Kumar are truly best of friends—they’ve been known to vacation together—and are even neighbors in the East Bay. “We’re stuck with each other,” Abril says with a laugh. It’s also a pairing you can trust, he points out—not unlike that classic one-two combo of peanut butter and jam. 16


Credentials. Wedge Roofing’s owner Ralph Wedge (above): “We understand the importance of maintaining the original look of the Eichler.”

Carlisle Single-Ply Roofing Serving Marin & San Francisco 888-763-7663 info@wedgeroofing.com www.wedgeroofing.com CA license #416737

IF YOU ARE LOOKING to replace, repair, or resurface the roof of an Eichler or comparable mid-century modern house in Marin County, there’s no company that has the credentials of Wedge Roofing. It’s not even close. Many companies can boast roofing experience, but very few have over four decades as an Eichler roofing specialist that owner Ralph Wedge has amassed since starting his company in 1976. “We first began re-roofing Eichler houses in the ‘70s,” says the company president, who counts the number of Eichlers roofed by his Petaluma-based company in the hundreds. “We devised a technique to improve the watertight performance and energyefficiency of these beloved homes.” Another desirable quality in a roofer is thorough training, which Wedge found sorely lacking in the industry in the 1980s. Consequently, in 1986 Wedge and a handful of other contractors founded and developed an apprentice training organization. ‘The Independent Roofing Contractors of California.’ After completing a 44-month curriculum, each apprentice receives a State of California-approved journeyman’s roofer certification. “Our training is administered by Chabot College in Hayward and issues college credits as well,” Wedge says. “There’s a four-month class that’s just on single-ply.”

Single-Ply roofing is composed of manufactured sheets of either thermoplastic membrane (TPO) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), both of which have proven ideal for Eichler flat roofs. Wedge recommends and installs Carlisle PVC and TPO Roofing Systems. “Any type of heat-welded sheet provides the best value for your dollar,” Wedge says confidently. He notes that, in addition to a solid warranty, the key advantage of single-ply is that all the details of the finished roof are visible, and therefore easily inspected and monitored.” “Carlisle’s been around since 1917, and they back their product,” he says of their preferred supplier based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over the past four decades Wedge has assembled a database of drawings and dimensions of every model of Eichler roof pattern in Marin. It’s another way he prepared his company for working on Eichler roofs. “We know and understand,” he points out, “that while improving the energy-efficiency and watertight capabilities of Eichler homes during re-roofing, we also have to maintain the original look of the Eichler. It’s important.”


State of the art. Christian (right) and Sean Macaulay of American Leak Detection, ‘world leader of state-of-the-art leak detection.’

Leak Detection Serving the Entire Bay Area 800-411-5325 info@aldbayarea.net www.americanleakdetection.com

AMERICAN LEAK DETECTION employs some of today’s most fascinating technology to find the ‘unfindable.’ As recently as the 1960s and ‘70s, when Eichler was still building thousands of homes with radiant-heating systems, a plumber’s primary means of locating leaks in these systems were their ears and fingers. They would listen for a leak and then ‘feel around’ for signs of wetness. That was the dark ages. But in today’s high-tech world, American Leak Detection is the unrivaled world leader in the accurate detection of hidden water, sewer, and gas leaks. Proprietary methods and state-of-the-art technology have revolutionized the exploration and discovery of leaks. With advanced methodologies and equipment, American Leak Detection is capable of determining the exact location of hidden leaks. From radiant heating and swimming pools to underground plumbing systems and sewer lines, American Leak Detection’s sensitive electronic tools can identify the leak. Each American Leak Detection technician has completed the industry’s most-extensive training program and is skilled in accurately locating the

most difficult leaks, without destruction to property. Even the smallest leak can be located accurately. American Leak Detection can also determine the depth of leaking pipes. In most cases, only a single floor tile must be removed and replaced. This causes less disruption and saves thousands of dollars in costly search-and-destroy methods that do not guarantee a leak location. A small pipe leak that is only 1/8-inch in diameter loses 970 gallons every 24 hours, under a normal pressure of 40 pounds. This amounts to almost 30,000 gallons each month, or 360,000 gallons per year. With utility bills and water rates constantly rising, this type of leak is both wasteful and costly. An unrepaired water leak can also cause massive structural damage by undermining a swimming pool or causing a slab house foundation to crack and buckle. Insurance claims have shown the cost of water damage often exceeds the costs associated with fire damage restoration. If you are constantly refilling your pool or have a high water bill, you may have a hidden plumbing leak. American Leak Detection can help you locate the leak and provide an estimate for the cost of repairs upfront. Most repairs can be completed in just one day. Contact American Leak Detection today to save time and money and avoid unnecessary property damage. 17


your Eichler electrical connection!

Meet Tom Needham

● ● ● ●

Electrical for remodeling and new construction Service and panel upgrades Recessed lighting and controls Troubleshooting and repairs



• Offering three built-up roofing systems for Eichlers: tar & gravel, modified bitumen & cap sheet

• Bonded with full workers compensation & liability insurance

• Cool roofs, repairs, insulation, flashing & gutters

• Diamond Certified

• Family owned & operated since 1942

• We recycle all possible waste materials

• Dedicated professionals with quality materials & performance • Employees properly trained against safety issues

• We stand behind our work 100% • Serving the Bay Area since 1984 • Homeowner & professional references available

e-mail: needhamelectric@gmail.com • www.needhamelectric.net • license #549434


650-961-7699 www.sheltonroof.com sheltonroof@earthlink.net CA license #261091


Like family. Mike LaChance and his staff carry on the family tradition of “getting the job done right.” At top: Mike LaChance. Front row (L-R): Quinton, Holman, Dale, and Blanca.

Radiant Heat Maintenance Serving the Entire Peninsula 408-986-8189 mlachance@att.net www.lachancesradiantheating.com CA license #874787

RADIANT HEATING is one of those things that makes Eichlers special and enjoyable. So the phone number of a good radiant heat specialist, such as LaChance’s Radiant Heating, should find its way into every Eichler owner’s contact list. “We care about getting Eichler owners their heat,” says owner Mike LaChance, about the mission of his company. He and his team specialize in maintaining, replacing, and installing boilers; repairing leaks; and installing replacement radiant systems. It’s a full-service operation run by a family of radiant heat specialists. LaChance and brother Dale make a family tradition out of, as he says, “getting the job done right.” After his firm’s 20-plus years in business, Lachance gets a lot of calls from return customers who have become “more like family” themselves, he says. “People like that we keep things light and familiar, while taking our work as seriously as possible.” LaChance prides himself on his company’s quick response time and a willingness to tackle any job, big or small. “We don’t mind getting dirty,” he says. Jobs that other companies have estimated as next to impossible, he and his team have undertaken with patience and persistence, and have met with success. LaChance also has developed techniques to make his upgrades and repairs blend seamlessly

with the Eichler aesthetic. Even when a radiant heat system expires, as many steel systems have been known to do over time, LaChance can restore an Eichler owner’s joy of radiant heat by installing a new in-slab system. Projects like this are commonly done with PEX polyethylene tubing. To install it, separate shallow layers of gypsum and concrete are added atop the foundation slab, then new grooves for the tubing are cut into it. LaChance says the project usually takes about ten working days. “PEX is a lot easier to utilize because it’s more flexible,” he says. “Sometimes with these grooving jobs, if the boiler isn’t too old, you can still use it.” As technology changes, building and energy codes change with it, and LaChance naturally keeps up on the latest products and how they can reduce heating costs. Replacing an old boiler with a new high-efficiency one is a great place to start. “Homeowners can look at saving a half to two thirds on their gas bills,” he says. Mike frequently recruits his son, Quinton, extending the LaChance tradition of a family business making customers feel welcome. “We want to make sure we treat people fairly, and be honest, and still keep things comfortable,” LaChance says. 18

...with mini-split and ductless HVAC

Infinite comfort...

• Sleek, wall-mounted units with no ductwork • Quiet and more energy-efficient than traditional HVAC • Cools and heats one room— or multiple zones in your home • Easy to install—in that inconspicuous out-of-the-way place

408-422-2987 www.ventwerx.com info@ventwerx.com CA license #984614


Advanced technologies. Celebrating a 30-year anniversary servicing the Bay Area, Lance Eastman is a third generation craftsman who carries on his family tradition today with advanced radiant heat systems.

Radiant Heat Maintenance Serving the Entire Peninsula 650-323-6006 baph@baph.com www.baph.com CA license #584345

BAY AREA PLUMBING & HEATING’S services cover the spectrum of Eichler heating and cooling needs— radiant heat maintenance and repairs, high-efficiency boiler installations, zone control systems, indoor air quality, and other heating and cooling options. With extensive experience working on Eichlers, Bay Area Plumbing & Heating owner Lance Eastman finds that today’s Eichler owners have options for heating and cooling their homes and domestic hot water that did not exist in the past. “New advances in boiler technology allow a single unit to be used for radiant heat, domestic hot water, and even forced-air heating,” explains Eastman. “These energy-efficient units save space by eliminating the need for a water heater. Many of them also qualify for energy rebates.” Other combination units can heat and cool one or more rooms while taking advantage of solar energy. “The latest mini-split systems are very efficient due to new inverter technology, fit well aesthetically into the Eichler design, and work great with a photovoltaic solar system,” says Eastman. Fully integrated mini-splits go one step further by combining radiant heating/cooling, domestic hot water, and a built-in thermal solar component that allows the system to qualify for hefty federal tax credits while they last. Some Eichler owners find that they need to replace

defunct radiant-heating systems, yet still want the comfort of warm floors. In these cases, Eastman recommends upgrading to an energy-efficiency boiler and then adding a radiant track system that fits underneath a new floor. “A radiant track system eliminates the need to tear out or build up the existing concrete slab while still providing that ‘warm floor feeling’ indicative of Eichler homes,” Eastman says. Another Eichler-compatible solution that Eastman likes are European-styled radiant panels. These contemporary radiators provide an energy efficient way to get the radiant heat feel without having to dig up existing flooring or penetrate the slab. “Unlike old cast iron radiators, radiant panels are sleek and modern-looking, and we can install them along the base of a wall or vertically on a wall,” says Eastman. One of the most important but often overlooked home-maintenance practices, says Eastman, is regular tune-ups to heating and cooling systems. “Manufacturer-recommended tune-ups extend the life of the equipment and improve energy efficiency.” “The energy savings from annual maintenance far outweighs the cost of the service. Regular tune-ups also ensure your equipment works when you need it, eliminating unwanted surprises when there are cold or hot spells. Eichler owners also have access to our ongoing ‘Free Consultation Program’ for new installations.” 19


Bold guarantee. “If you’re not 100 percent satisfied, we will refund all your money,” says Big Blue Hydronics’ owner Paul Gerrard (above). 

Radiant Heat Maintenance Serving the East Bay 855-686-6060 customercare@yourbigblue.com www.yourbigblue.com CA license #951263

BIG BLUE HYDRONICS’ owner Paul Gerrard possesses a unique combination of training and background, compared to most radiant heat technicians. The Brit, who trained as a hydronic-heating engineer at the London Institute, says it wasn’t until he came to the Western United States that he found the structures that truly spoke to him: mid-century modern homes. It all began with a Frank Lloyd Wright residence in Phoenix on which he worked. “That was probably my first introduction to the mid-century modern style. Learning about Wright, I started thinking ‘wow, this is so cool,’” Gerrard says. “I also really like these communities of Eichlers. When you drive in, it’s like going back in time to a different era full of promise for the future.” Those homes often contain decades-old radiant heat systems, a challenge for which Gerrard and Big Blue Hydronics are particularly well suited. “Having cut our teeth on old systems,” Gerrard says, “we’re really good at keeping them going to the best of our ability, and for as long as possible.” That can mean a range of operations, from finding and repairing leaks to doing maintenance that lengthens a radiant heat system’s life. “In the last few years,” Gerrard says, “there have been great improvements in chemicals we can add to radiant floor systems that can increase longevity,” such as a system flush and a corrosion inhibiter.

Gerrard is especially excited about his company’s in-house training program. “We train every day,” he points out. “Training can range from heating theory to installation practices. We also have a couple of boilers in our training room, where we teach and practice how to service boilers and and make repairs. Sometimes even factory trainers from the manufacturers come to share their insight. “Training our apprentices is something we all enjoy doing. And sharing our knowledge and planning for the future energizes our veteran plumbers.” Another dimension of Big Blue’s expertise is knowing when it makes sense to abandon an in-floor system, and when to replace it with something else, such as modern, slim-line radiators attached to the existing boiler. As for Big Blue’s company work habits, Gerrard says he appreciates cleanliness and order above all else, a proclivity he picked up from watching careful mechanics working at a Mercedes dealership. His team members are in full support. “That idea of impeccable order and care for the client and the client’s product,” he points out.” When we’re in somebody’s home, we’ve got blankets from the door to the kitchen. The cleanup afterward is always an important part of what we do.” The end result: a bold guarantee. “If you’re not 100 percent satisfied, we at Big Blue will refund all your money,” Gerrard says. 20


Voracious learner. Dan Rondou gets excited about learning new things about his business—now a 15-year radiant operation in the East Bay.

Radiant Heat Maintenance Serving the East Bay 925-324-5198 dan@hsradiant.com www.hsradiant.com CA license #846891

DAN RONDOU, OWNER-OPERATOR of Heatsource, is a voracious learner. Over his three decades working in radiant-heat hydronics, he has sought out information and wisdom about his field from a wide variety of sources—even from competitors. “There’s a great community out there that is willing to share their experience,” he says of his peers. That includes some former co-workers, for as he says, “I spent 20 years at another company before I started Heatsource.” During that time, he recalls, “I’ve attended many training seminar…and I did get some very good information that still holds true.” Rondou opened Heatsource in 2004 in Oakland, but owning his own company certainly didn’t preclude more learning, even after he decided to specialize in radiant-heat repair and maintenance. “In the past, I’ve done some solar hot water [work],” he says, “but for a one-man operation, I prefer to be more focused.” “I learn a lot from my suppliers,” he says of product vendors, including the staff at Power Boiler Sales in Richmond. “They’re not just selling boxes. They really do provide support.” Even his traveling around the U.S. and Europe informs Rondou’s work on radiant-heat systems because, as he says, “Everywhere you go, you

see hydronic heat.” “On the East Coast and in Europe, hydronics has always been something,” he observes, noting that in Italy “their version of Home Depot sells radiators.” Here in California, he says, “Many radiant-heat system owners really love it. Others just see it as a liability.” Either way, Rondou is ready to help with boiler cleaning, repair, and replacement, as well as with thermostat upgrades, system inspections, and water treatment to extend the life of tubing, boilers, and pumps. Always, however, he continues learning. “I learn something new all the time in terms of how the systems age,” he says, adding that he also follows trade magazines to stay up on the newest methods and materials. “Some things I was using ten years ago I would not use today.” For example, whereas some technicians will say a leaky steel-tubed radiant system is a goner, Rondou will first recommend a few tricks of the trade. “I’ve sort of changed my approach on steel tubes,” he says, noting that in past years he might have considered penetrating the concrete slab. “I’m finding I have pretty good success with [the product] LeakStop and lowering the [system] pressure.” Just something he learned along the way, of course.


Energy efficiency. Bob and Linda Reid have been providing Marin County expert radiant-heating maintenance for 30 years.

Radiant Heat Maintenance Serving Marin & San Francisco 415-485-5000 reidheating@sbcglobal.net www.reidheatingandenergy.com CA license #350721

“EICHER OWNERS ARE LOVING that we can combine their hot water and radiant heating needs into one compact, energy-efficient wall-hung unit. By replacing their old inefficient boiler and water heater with a combo boiler, like the Triangle Tube Excellence model, Eichler homeowners can also free up that always needed garage floor space.” Those words of wisdom come from Marin Countybased radiant heat expert Bob Reid, who points to radiant boiler replacement as the solution for Eichler owners who want to warm up from the winter cold, and begin feeling more at home in their own homes. “There is no point in putting any more money into repairing an original Eichler boiler,” Reid adds. “That old equipment is running at maybe 60 percent efficiency, compared to today’s 95 percent efficient boilers, sending lots of wasted heat and C02 up the vent. “Its better to make the investment and enjoy better heating performance—and save money on your heating bills too.” Bob Reid, along with wife Linda, has been actively serving the Eichlers of Marin through their radiantheating maintenance busi-ness for 30 years. Their business is Reid Heating & Energy, which specializes in radiant-heat installation, service and maintenance, and, of course, boiler replacement. Due to their homes’ natural aging process, many Eichler owners today are at a crossroad with their

radiant-heating systems. While copper pipe systems are better candidates for repair, Reid points out, steel pipe systems oftentimes must be abandoned because of their proclivity to continuous rusting and leaking. “Advances in radiant heating make it the system of choice today for many high-end custom homes,” says Reid. “When needed, we can help our Eichler customers maintain the radiant-heat feeling in their homes by converting their defunct radiant systems over to baseboard.” Reid finds the current variety of the contemporarylooking European-style flat-panel baseboard radiators to be especially ideal for Eichler applications. “They are more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing than the old-style baseboards,” says Reid. “Incorporating heated towel bars into a baseboard conversion has also been a popular choice among Eichler owners.” As part of his company’s maintenance services, Reid is available to inspect the present condition of radiant-heat systems and present the viability of various repair and replacement options. With that service in mind, he cautions Eichler owners to carefully evaluate the condition of their radiant pipes before considering installing any new flooring materials. “If you are getting ready to do a remodel, and put down a nice wood or tile floor, I would be reluctant to install it over an old radiant system that has shown a troubled history,” he says. 21

Heating and Cooling

Solutions for Eichler Homes • • • • • • •

Eichler ductless HVAC specialists Factory trained and certified Mitsubishi Diamond Elite Contractor 45 years experience 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed Lower your heating & cooling costs 12 year warranty on Mitsubishi systems

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Low profile. As a replacement whole-house heating-cooling system, Downing’s Kevin Stover (above) recommends the Unico system.

Air Conditioning & Supplemental Heat Serving Marin & San Francisco 415-485-1011 downingheating@sbcglobal.net www.downinghvac.com CA license #644720

HEATING AND COOLING have always been two of the trickiest aspects of owning an Eichler. And as radiant-heat systems reach the end of their long lives, more and more homeowners are becoming concerned about their heating options. That’s where Downing Heating & Air Conditioning comes in. For 30 years, the Marin-based company has been installing the Unico forced-air system, which uses low-profile ducts that are mounted on the rooftop. This heat-cool combo system works well with the unique challenges presented by Eichlers—no attic space and a low roof profile. “Unico is the only system we’ve found that will take care of the whole house, heating and cooling, without changing the look from the street,” says Kevin Stover, Downing’s residential estimator. “What’s more, the Unico system keeps temperatures inside the house within two degrees, floor-to-ceiling.” For the Unico install, small-diameter ducts are mounted on top of an Eichler’s existing roof. They’re usually installed in conjunction with a new foam-roof overlayment, rendering the ducts invisible. “Since those ducts get foamed right over, the insulation value takes a big jump, too,” Stover says.

Unlike a traditional forced-air system, which usually features one vent in each room, the Unico system uses several small ceiling vents, which create an even temperature throughout the room for heating and cooling. In addition to the whole-house Unico system, Downing also offers a ductless ‘mini split’ product that heats or cools rooms individually. This unit is basically a small air handler that directly controls the climate of the interior space. “Some homeowners just have their master bedroom done, so they can sleep comfortably at night if it’s too hot outside,” Stover says. When company founder Mike Downing retired ten years ago, turning the business over to longtime employee Scott James, the transition was seamless. James and Downing share the same business philosophy, says Stover, emphasizing customer satisfaction and service and a highly skilled team performing installations, maintenance, and repairs. James also prides himself on having a highly skilled service department. “We are dealing with many of the same customers over and over again,” says Stover. “The reason they come back to us is because we’re  service oriented, and we’re not going anywhere.”



Solid reputation. Sean Smith is a second-generation electrician carrying on Eichler ties. He’s poised to grow—like the family at its center.

Electrical Upgrades & Maintenance Serving Palo Alto to San Jose 408-910-7619 smith@seansmithelectric.com www.seansmithelectric.com CA license #882530

AS EICHLER EXPERTS GO, electrical contractor Sean Smith is about as manor-born as one can get. The son of an electrical contractor who serviced and built original Eichler homes, Smith has 25 years of experience, having worked weekends and summers in his father’s shop from the age of 12. The product of a proud family business, Smith now runs his own family business, Sean Smith Electric, with his wife Cheryl. And Eichlers, as well as the families living in them, continue to be a focus for the Smiths. “You have to be careful working around children and toddlers. We have a good reputation with them. We strive to be courteous and work around sleep times,” Sean Smith says. That kind of attention to detail is one of the key principles of Smith Electric. From strict adherence of appointment times to finicky cleanliness on the job site to well-organized wiring, the Smiths and their crew make a point of eliminating loose ends. “We have had inspectors say about our work, ‘I’ve never seen anything so clean,’” says Cheryl Smith, the company’s chief financial officer. “I love that. I go home with a smile on my face.”

While service is a key part of the Smiths’ business philosophy, doing expert work remains their foundation. Sean Smith’s experience with a variety of electrical systems, including commercial and industrial jobs as well as Eichlers, makes him a versatile tradesman. During the middle of his career, Smith did a stint with Midland Electric. There, he learned how to create futuristic ‘smart homes,’ in which all functions of the home, from thermostat con-trol to window openings, can be done remotely from a computer. On the more nuts-and-bolts side, Smith says just being around Eichlers for so long has made him comfortable with their unique challenges, including the lack of crawl space and attic. “Basically, we do everything from install lights to troubleshooting problems, panel changes, kitchen remodels to additions, and wiring houses from the ground up,” Smith says. The company’s main coverage area is the entire peninsula. With two trucks, one car, and a five-person team, the small company is poised to grow—like the family at its center.

NEEDHAM ELECTRIC & CONSTRUCTION WITH THEIR SLAB FOUNDATIONS and flat roofs, Eichler homes are notoriously hard on electricians and plumbers, which is why it takes an experienced tradesman to master them. Enter Tom Needham, who’s been licensed as an electrician since 1986 and has worked on Eichlers for most of his career. Today, he specializes in electrical for remodeling and new construction, troubleshooting and repairs, service and panel upgrades, and lighting needs. Needham moved to the Bay Area from his native Ireland in 1983, after working from childhood with his father, a general contractor. “In those days, there, you did the electric, and the heating, and all that stuff as one contractor,” Needham says. So when he came to the United States, he already had a good working knowledge of building systems. Since then, as an electrician, Needham has been contracted to work on homes—including Eichlers and other mid-century moderns—all over the Bay Area. More than fifteen years ago, he settled in the Highlands of San Mateo, “where it’s about 80 percent Eichlers.” Now, Needham not only works on Eichlers, he works on his neighbors’ Eichlers. The key to doing electrical work on an Eichler, Needham says, is to think ahead and measure very carefully. The original Eichlers had conduit

Electric expertise. Needham Electric’s Tom Needham (above) puts a strong emphasis on thinking ahead and measuring very carefully.

Electrical Upgrades & Maintenance Serving the San Mateo Area 415-505-2932 needhamelectric@gmail.com www.needhamelectric.net CA license #549434

embedded in the concrete slab, which ran up into the walls. But in many houses that original conduit is in the midst of corrosion, eventually rendering it unusable. “So let’s say your circuit for your kitchen fails,” Needham says, “there’s no way to rewire it with the same conduit, because you can’t pull the wires through because it’s corroded. “You fix it by going from the panel up onto the roof, then you figure out where the wall space is, and you have to drill down into that wall space so you can fish a pipe down and fit an electrical box.” Definitely not for the do-it-yourselfer. And, Needham adds, “it has to be done appropriately with waterproof fitting, machine bends, and all that stuff. It’s critical that you have your measurements correct.” Because rewiring Eichlers is so difficult, Needham recommends that Eichler owners think ahead, by installing new conduit when it’s time to replace their roof. He recalled one client, a Highlands neighbor, who hired him for such a project in conjunction with their planned remodel. “They were so happy at my making that recommendation,” Needham says, “and glad I could help them see what was going to happen down the road. Now they feel like they’re ahead of the game.” 23


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‘Flow-through’ design. Palo Alto Glass’ Dave Stellman and Kim Denton offer new windows and sliding-glass doors with excellent insulating value that maintain the Eichler’s original look and feel.

Double Pane Windows & Doors Serving the Entire Peninsula 650-494-7000 At 4085 Transport Street, Palo Alto kim@paloaltoglass.com www.paloaltoglass.com CA license #676029

WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING TO HIRE a service professional to work on your home—possibly your most precious possession—it’s most reassuring when you can tell the professional shares the affection you have for your home. That’s the confidence Eichler owners have when they meet Dave Stellman, Kim Denton, and the crew at Palo Alto Glass. “We have become known for that,” says Stellman, the company president, about his staff’s admiration for mid-century modern design. “Being in the glass business, of course we love the ‘flow-through’ architecture,” explains Stellman, who has spent the past 38 years in glass, starting with a prior company. He founded Palo Alto Glass in 1984 in that city’s downtown, moving in 2002 to a larger building, alongside Highway 101, with a 500-square-foot showroom. Eichlers have always been a big slice of bread and butter for Palo Alto Glass, and for good reason. With the company having worked on some 500 of them, Stellman says, “We specialize in upgrading the Eichlers to code while still maintaining ‘the look.’” Their services include door and window replacement, shower enclosures, custom mirrors, and skylights. Through the use of slim aluminum frames and insulated, argon-filled glass, the company has developed systems to bring mid-century structures

into the 21st century with substantial savings in energy costs. This is done by custom fitting the glass to the existing frames so as not to sacrifice the clean, post-and beam design. Stellman said this efficiency is important in order to meet contemporary building codes, but also because homeowners’ perception of modern-style homes has evolved as well. “In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Eichlers were the less expensive alternative to more ‘traditional’ housing in the Bay Area,” he recalls. “Today, Eichler homes are in demand as homeowners have grown to appreciate the open architecture and ‘flow-through’ glass design.” Working with homeowners, architects, and builders over the years, Stellman and his crew perfected their system for Eichler windows of any size—including the expansive, oversized ones. He admits this expertise solely sustained his company through a few recessions—and it helps that the homeowners appreciate the results. “Eichlers are very simple and clean,” he notes, “and they’re very straightforward to work on because they are so simple and clean.” Clients of Palo Alto Glass deal primarily with either Stellman or Kim Denton, estimator for the company’s residential division. When conversing with either of them, or even with any of their crew, homeowners know they can rest assured knowing these are service pros who truly know and appreciate Eichlers. 24


Innovative. From four showrooms, Bart and Becky San Diego like  what Hunter Douglas’ line of window products does for the Eichlers.

Window Coverings Serving Palo Alto to San Mateo with four convenient retail locations rebarts@gmail.com www.rebarts.com

BART SAN DIEGO has over 30 years of experience as the owner of Rebarts Interiors, specializing in window coverings. He has dedicated himself and his staff to making sure each and every one of his clients remains fully satisfied with superior products and service. “It almost always turns out my clients know each other,” San Diego says, because 80 percent of his business comes from recommendations. Rebarts Interiors offers design expertise and installation for window fashions that include blinds, shades, shutters, roman shades, and draperies. The style combinations are endless with offerings in an array of fabrics, colors, textures, and operating systems. San Diego has uncovered a niche, providing window fashions for Eichler homes and their beautiful floor-to-ceiling panes. As a premier dealer in the Bay Area, Rebarts provides their customers with the full line of Hunter Douglas products. Hunter Douglas manufactures a multitude of options that are uniquely suited to Eichler aesthetics. They can highlight the dramatic height of a window or create a more minimalist look to blend in with the home’s style and feel. San Diego’s favorite product is always a crowd pleaser: Silhouette Window Shadings. Silhouette’s unique design creates beautiful fabric vanes that open and close to transmit and control light.

For a sleeker environment, Rebarts carries a comprehensive line of distinct Designer Roller & Screen Shades wonderfully suited for Eichler environments. The Hunter Douglas Skyline product is a sophisticated vertical panel application that brings an amazing flare to any room. Although beauty is an essential part of any design, form and function are equally as important. Rebarts also specializes in making your home more comfortable with proprietary energy efficient products such as Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades, which can save up to 30 percent on energy bills. San Diego has earned his reputation as a competent and enthusiastic provider of window-fashion products in the Bay Area. His attention to detail and design has transformed some of the most beautiful homes in the area. As a dedicated business owner and family man, he continues to serve his clients and his community to the best of his ability—one window at a time. Rebarts Interiors now has four Peninsula locations with Hunter Douglas Window Fashions Galleries —in Burlingame (1352 Broadway - 650-348-1268), San Carlos (990 Industrial Blvd., Suite 106 - 650508-8518), Los Altos (253 State St. - 650-2884377), and Menlo Park (865 Santa Cruz Ave. - 650-288-4352).


Solid reputation. Two generations of the Feriante family manage Dura-Foam’s solar division: (L-R) Rick, Randy, Adam and Jarom Feriante.

Solar Energy Systems Serving the Entire Peninsula 650-327-3200 info@dura-foam.com www.dura-foam.com CA license #488066

DURA-FOAM has been installing hi-tech insulated roofs on Eichler homes since 1981. This span of years built the company a solid reputation way before rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar became an affordable option. Jarom Feriante, CEO of Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center, claims that this early start, nearly 40 years ago, has kept the Solar Center division of the company at the head of the field in PV rooftop solar for mid-century modern homes. “There aren’t any other companies that have our depth of experience in foam roofing for PV installations on flat and low-slope roofs,” says Feriante confidently. “It’s a huge benefit to our customers, since our Dura-Foam roofs are the perfect choice under solar arrays. “Our roofs are extremely tough and durable, which is needed to seal the dozens of roof penetrations that support solar racks. During our decades of experience sealing supports for electric and hot-water solar, we have discovered critical steps that prevent future problems.” Dura-Foam’s customers are often relieved knowing they have a single company—and not two or more—responsible for their solar system and underlying roofing. “The largest solar company in the U.S. quit installing solar on flat and foam roofs after realizing that they were not up to the task of inte-

grating such systems reliably,” Feriante points out. “Removing solar equipment to get to a roof issue is an expensive problem, plus it’s hard to determine who is responsible for the leak repair and the solar reinstallation expense.” Dura-Foam resolves these industry-wide painpoints with its niche specialty in flat-roof solar and all-inclusive guarantees. Talent development and education has been core to the family-owned-and-operated company since its founding. “My dad started the company in 1981, and I joined him in the late ‘80s,” says Feriante, son of DuraFoam founder Randy Feriante. Jarom’s uncle Adam and brother Rick head sales and operations, respectively. “Staying on the cutting edge is important to our sustainability-minded Silicon Valley customers,” Feriante says. “In fact, we installed one of the Bay Area’s first Tesla Powerwall energy-storage systems.” During stints away from Dura-Foam, Feriante earned master’s degrees in both civil engineering and business administration at Stanford and UC Berkeley, then researched emerging solar technologies for Chevron in locales around the world. Much of this experience, he points out, plays into Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center’s determination to install solar arrays to the utmost level of power, production, and aesthetics for Eichler homeowners. 25


Second generation Eichler owner and enthusiast 20 years of real estate experience & expertise Ask about the Pre-Sale Home Improvement Program with 0% financing


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Teamwork. Eric and Janelle Boyenga, a team for two decades, insist that always doing what is best for their clients is the secret to their success.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving Palo Alto to San Jose 650-397-1370 Brokerage: Compass eichlers@boyenga.com www.SiliconValleyEichlers.com

WHEN IT COMES TO TEAMWORK, it’s rare to find a partnership like Eric and Janelle Boyenga, founding partners of Compass, the innovative and exciting national real estate platform. As the Silicon Valley-based Boyenga Team, this husband-and-wife duo have earned their reputation for being data-driven real estate agents whose secret to success is always putting the client’s best interests first. With specialized knowledge in mid-century modern and restorative construction, the Boyenga Team delivers expert pre-listing and project management to help clients unlock all of the equity in their midcentury modern homes. Also, through extensive experience with family trusts and transitions, they understand the nuances and requirements of working with trustees and help families navigate complex transactions through emotional challenges and geographic distances. Branded by Zillow as ‘next generation’ agents, and known throughout the industry and at Compass with high regard as ‘Property Nerds,’ the Boyenga Team sets the modern standard for mid-century modern marketing, utilizing digital technology and social media strategies to help achieve their clients’ goals. “Like a classic car, vintage watch, or fine wine, one of the things that is so wonderful about Eichlers is their timeless architecture,” Eric says. “Janelle and I feel fortunate to represent clients who understand

there is much more to these post-and-beam gems than what meets the eye.” “When purchasing an Eichler,” he adds, “you are not just buying a home—you are acquiring a lifestyle that only a select group appreciate and understand. It is a true testament to Joe Eichler’s forward thinking that these homes are so highly sought after today and that their demand continues to outstrip their supply.” So what’s the secret of the Boyenga Team’s success? First of all, always doing “what is best for our clients,” Eric points out. For over two decades the Boyenga Team has guided and represented their clients to insure they make informed and sound financial decisions. Secondly, the Boyengas’ success also stems from their passion and enthusiasm for Eichlers and their understanding of mid-century modern architecture and the unique breed of people drawn to these homes. “The Eichler clientele shares our same devotion for these architectural gems,” Eric points out. “Working from this common ground, we have a natural connection, and share similar visions and values that enable our clients to have an exciting and successful experience.” Contact Eric and Janelle today for a no-obligation consultation.



Simple philosophy. The Erdal Swartz Team of Kevin Swartz and Pelin Erdal (above) looks to make their real estate business relationships stress-free, seamless, and incredibly successful.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving Sunnyvale/San Jose 408-201-3849 Brokerage: Sereno Group hello@erdalteam.com www.erdalteam.com

AS A SECOND-GENERATION Eichler specialist, the Erdal Swartz Team has been part of the local Silicon Valley Eichler community for over three decades. The company is run by husband and wife team Kevin Swartz and Pelin Erdal, two Bay Area natives and award-winning agents who understand the unique needs of Eichler homes and their homeowners. Ranked ‘No.1 Eichler Listing Agents in Santa Clara County’ by the Multiple Listing Service, the Erdal Swartz Team has helped over 325 Eichler owners buy or sell their homes, and are widely regarded as the leading Eichler experts in their area. “We care deeply about our work, and that’s so important in this business,” says Kevin. “It’s difficult to have longevity in the real estate industry if you don’t have high integrity and you’re not truly invested in your clients’ success.” It seems fitting that the Erdal Swartz Team’s motto reads ‘make yourself at home,’ because that’s exactly what they want their clients to do—feel comfortable and confident working with them. “Our philosophy is simple,” adds Pelin, “as parents and business owners, we know first hand how busy life can be. So we uniquely streamline every client experience, with each step of the buying and selling process designed to make clients feel taken care of.” Their 93+ positive online reviews are further

proof of the Team’s ability to deliver results. “With a business that is largely referral based, we rely heavily on word-of-mouth, repeat clients, and our reputation in the community,” says Kevin. But where clients truly find value is in the Team’s unparalleled knowledge of Eichler’s atypical features—such as their post-and-beam construction, radiant heating, and roofing system, just to name a few. “A thorough understanding of the ins and outs of Eichler homes is critical when working with homeowners on pricing and selling strategy, and also when answering questions from new buyers and their agents about Eichler maintenance, repairs, remodeling options, and costs,” says Kevin. Kevin and Pelin believe strongly in giving back to their community. “What most people don’t know is that when you buy or sell a home with us, one percent of each commission we receive goes directly to supporting local causes, schools, and nonprofits,” says Kevin. “With the help of our clients we’ve been able to provide college scholarships to graduating high school seniors, support local shelters, school walk-a-thons, crab feeds, and backpack drives.” As the Erdal Swartz Team, Kevin and Pelin are consummate professionals—not only highly skilled in their work, but also deeply connected to a sense of purpose and passion for what they do.


Eichler evangelist. Because of her dedication and enthusiasm, Eichler sellers have lovingly nicknamed Monique Lombardelli ‘The Eichler Lady.’

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving Palo Alto & San Francisco 650-380-5512 Brokerage: Modern Homes Realty monique@modernhomesrealty.com www.modernhomesrealty.com

EVER SINCE MONIQUE LOMBARDELLI launched the Palo Alto-based real estate brokerage Modern Homes Realty in 2012, she has worn her emotions for Eichlers and all things mid-century modern on her sleeve. She produced two documentary films about Bay Area architecture, including ‘People in Glass Houses: the Legacy of Joseph Eichler,’ and acquired rights to numerous Anshen and Allen and Claude Oakland Eichler architectural plans and updated them for interested parties to build their own Eichler replicas. She even lived for a short time in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bazett house, in Hillsborough, which Joe Eichler rented during World War II and was a springboard for his building career. Lombardelli has been featured in prominent publications—Dwell, Realtor.com, California Home + Design, Curbed, Architect Magazine, and others—for her work rejuvenating Eichler homes and specializing in modern home sales. Considered an evangelist for mid-mentury modern, she has done much to revitalize interest in rescuing and preserving the legacy of these homes. Modern enthusiasts know to contact her for this style of architecture. At Modern Homes Realty, where she is the firm’s broker and CEO, Lombardelli has assembled a team of agents, consultants, and specialists, which include an architect, a landscape architect, and a videographer.

Modern Homes Realty focuses on strategically marketing mid-century modern properties by emphasizing their unique details, and by providing buyers with a refined vision for their potential new home. She achieves much of this success through eye-catching staging—“we know exactly how to make a mid-century modern property stand out”—and through marketing with effective video production. “To entice the best buyers, and to encourage multiple offers, we produce compelling videos that go way beyond standard virtual tour imagery, even setting a new standard for real estate,” says Lombardelli. “Our videos put potential buyers inside the home, highlighting the classic and historical architecture from a unique perspective.” Lombardelli says she gets the most joy out of bringing life back to mid-century modern homes that have been distressed. “I love seeing home buyers fall in love with the homes once we have fixed them up,” she says of her company’s restoration service. For Lombardelli, working in the mid-century modern niche is a way of life that is truly enjoyable and rewarding on a daily basis. “The clients, design, ambiance, and spirit of the houses give me a sense of peace that I have worked so hard to find in a profession,” she says. “I feel like myself with this work—and cherish every day working alongside my team.” 27

Selling the Eichler Lifestyle throughout San Mateo County!

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• San Mateo born & raised • Highlands Elementary School PTA member

“Lana is an absolute ‘rock star’ on the selling side. She has sold two homes for us in San Mateo — nailed both with multiple offers after just one or two weekends of open houses. She managed some cosmetic improvement work before the sale, recommended vendors, met them at the home. It was a huge help! She is incredibly responsive to any question and concern, which was very important to us. Definitely recommend!” – Michael S., San Mateo homeowner

Lana@LanaAndAssociates.com • www.LanaAndAssociates.com


Commitment. A lifelong San Mateo resident, and realtor since 2004, Lana Morin Pierce likes the Highlands neighborhood comaraderie.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving the San Mateo Area 650-207-5229 Brokerage: Intero, A Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate Lana@LanaAndAssociates.com www.LanaAndAssociates.com

IN THIS TRANSIENT AGE, the roots of a real estate professional don’t often extend deeper than those of Lana Morin Pierce in the San Mateo area. A San Mateo native and graduate of Abbott Middle School and Hillsdale High, Morin Pierce has by her own admission “lived in most of the neighborhoods” in town. “I know the area very well,” she says, understated. “I know the schools, and I know the neighborhoods, and I know the vendors.” “I have a lot of connections here…I think that’s a huge benefit for my clients,” says Morin Pierce, a lifelong resident and licensed realtor in the area since 2004. Although she is enjoying the home she bought a few years ago in the Baywood Knolls neighborhood, she admits a particular fondness for the Highlands, where she lived for three years prior. “I was definitely introduced to Eichlers as a child,” she said of visits to friends’ houses in the Highlands. Her taste in homes, consequently, “kind of went with that modern look.” “Especially in the Highlands, there are a lot of trees,” she says of the Eichler capacity for integrating interior and exterior. “It was kind of like you are part of the whole of nature. I’ve always liked that.” Morin Pierce is also very active in the Highlands community, including being a member of the PTA at

Highlands Elementary, her daughter’s school. “It’s such a tight-knit group of people,” she says of her old neighborhood. “There’s a lot of camaraderie, and that’s something I really enjoy.” Something she does not enjoy quite as much is the limited inventory of houses for sale in her hometown in recent years, which “has been a challenge.” “With limited inventory, it’s just a matter of adjusting expectations,” she says regarding buyers. “Values have been on the rise, and I’ve continued breaking my own records each year.” In addition to being a top producer at Intero, Morin Pierce took on the Vice President and Managing Officer role of the San Mateo office in 2016. In fall 2018, she spearheaded the opening of her team’s new downtown Burlingame office. “I continue to expand my leadership role within my company and throughout the community,” she says. She is also the past President and current board member of the Intero Foundation charity.“We definitely have a philanthropic part of our company that gives back to children and the elderly in our community.” Add that to her seat on the board of directors of the San Mateo-based Samaritan House non-profit, and you realize with Lana Morin Pierce and San Mateo, it goes even deeper than roots. It’s commitment. 28


Back to the future. “There are only a few people selling Eichlers consistently,” says realtor Glenn Sennett. He is one of them.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving the San Mateo Area 650-558-4250 Brokerage: Coldwell Banker gsennett@cbnorcal.com www.glennsennett.com

MANY REALTORS FIND their way to the Eichler sales transaction, but few of them can back the sale with first-hand knowledge and appreciation of how enjoy-able it is to live in such a home. Glenn Sennett of Coldwell Banker is one of those exceptions. “It really is a lifestyle living in an Eichler,” Sennett says. “And it’s one that I enjoy. I’ve lived in the San Mateo Highlands for 30 years.” Sennett says that many realtors see the enthusiasm surrounding the Eichler niche as a novelty, but that his understanding of it has really paid off “I’ve been able to develop a 60 percent market share, with 450-plus successful closed transactions and counting, since I’ve been working the Highlands,” he says. “There really are only a few people selling Eichlers consistently.” Many Eichler fans, says Sennett, seek the genuine article—homes that are original and unscathed. He often hears potential buyers mentioning how they would love to get back to the future. “The original-looking Eichlers are the hottest items,” he admits. “There are so many people that want them, in order to preserve them and make them historical homes. People look at these houses as mid-century classic homes.”

Though Sennett’s primary focus is the San Mateo Highlands, he does not see that area as his only market. He uses techniques honed a 39-year career to great effect, even in other surrounding neighborhoods. Sennett says his first move when selling a house is getting the pest, home, and radiant heat inspections and repairs taken care of. He then stages the house expertly and usually advocates for a landscaping update. ”Cosmetic upgrades like paint, carpet, and landscaping, in addition to minor repairs, can often result in an ‘as is’ transaction,” he says. “I tell my clients that if they invest a few thousand dollars into upgrades and repairs, not only will they get back every penny and then some, but they will also generate multiple offers and a higher sale price!” When you put everything together, Sennett’s vast Eichler experience, use of technology—his website is an active marketing tool—and his proven track record all point to him as a smart choice to sell your own Eichler, if and when that times comes.


Cool and modern. “I’ve sold more Eichlers than any other agent,” says Renee Adelmann (above), who also lives in one of her own.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving Marin County 415-EICHLER (415-342-4537) Brokerage: Bay Area Modern Real Estate renee@eichlerforsale.com www.eichlerforsale.com BRE license #01725634

SO YOU’RE THINKING about selling or buying an Eichler or other mid-century modern home in Marin County. Then, on a lark, you try calling 415-EICHLER. Or you go to the supermarket and see a woman getting out of a car with California plates reading ‘EICHLER,’ and you get up the nerve to approach a total stranger about your search. Or you go 21st century on the subject, search the Internet, and hit on EichlerForSale.com. Regardless of your approach, you’re about to meet Renee Adelmann, today’s leading figure of modernist home realty in Marin County. “I specialize in Eichlers,” Adelmann says of her longtime professional focus, which has also included sales of numerous other mid-century modern homes. “I’ve been selling them for the last decade. One of our four offices is even in an Eichler neighborhood,” she adds of her Terra Linda office. Eichlers are a personal passion for Renee and her husband/business partner Barry Adelmann, born at first in their departure from San Francisco to buy a suburban home for their family. “If we were going to live in the suburbs, we wanted to have a place that was cool and modern,” she explains of buying and moving to her first Eichler home in San Rafael’s Terra Linda neighborhood. Later the Adelmanns purchased and moved to their second Eichler, a double-A-

frame model in Lucas Valley. “Eichlers have a tendency to attract cool, fun people,” Renee says of her neighbors. Just as the integration of exterior with interior design first attracted her to the Eichlers, she says the homes are by design a healthy place to live, extending to the local public schools her children attend. “It’s really hard to have a bad day in an Eichler. You’re enjoying the nature around you. It’s just a happy place to live,” Adelmann says assuredly. “I’ve sold more Eichlers than any other agent in the last decade,” Renee points out, noting that Barry is the licensed broker of the Bay Area Modern Real Estate team, which also includes 28 agents operating in Marin. Adelmann says she also enjoys selling other modernist homes besides the approximately 1,500 Eichlers in Marin, especially those designed by noted Bay Area architects Warren Callister and Roger Lee. This success in selling, she says, is founded in her admiration of the genre. “I like the modern design of these homes,” she says, also noting the comparatively modest price of older, moderate-sized modernist homes, including Eichlers. “It’s nice because it brings modern to the masses, and within a budget.” 29


Healthy goals. “I always say: health begins at home,” Julie Upton (above) says with affection for Marin’s collection of Eichlers.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving Marin County 917-863-9152 Brokerage: Compass julie.upton@compass.com DRE License #02077214

THE WAY JULIE UPTON LOOKS at home ownership, mid-century modern is just what the doctor ordered. “As a former healthcare professional,” says the Marin County realtor, “I know all the research about lifestyle medicine and the role that a home can have on your overall health and longevity.” “That’s why I’m really interested in these midcentury modern homes that have elements that promote healthy living and aging,” says Upton, a veteran health journalist and registered dietitian who has been quoted in national magazines, including Time, Prevention, and Women’s Health. In the recent past, Upton worked in investment and portfolio management, then trained in real estate and started her latest career in 2018. The one-time New Yorker concedes that her interest in Eichlers in particular is more than professional—still health-oriented, but personal. “My goal is to find an Eichler home in the Lucas Valley area that my husband and I can restore to perfection,” Upton confesses. “We have been looking for about 18 months but haven’t found the perfect property for us—yet.” This diverse career woman is excited to continue the new chapter of her professional life with Compass Real Estate, largely because of what the New York City-based company can offer clients.

“Through acquisition of firms such as Pacific Union, and Alain Pinel—where I used to work—Compass has quickly become the leading real estate brokerage in Marin County and throughout the Bay Area,” she notes. Along with its growth, Compass promises to advance up to five percent of any reasonable asking price for the wide range of preparations needed to bring a home to market—like painting, remodeling, landscaping, legal issues, or even rent if the owners want to move out while their home on the market. To this, the company has recently added a lowinterest ‘bridge loan’ program to help sellers buy their next home. “It would be one of the least expensive ways to get a bridge loan,” promises Upton, who has lived in Marin since 2005 and today works in the company’s Corte Madera office. When you list a property with Compass, she says, the firm will front the payments on your bridge loan for up to six months. Hence, not only do Compass realtors like Upton offer high-tech tools and a full suite of services, but she brings along her unique appreciation of midcentury modern to boot. “I always say: ‘health begins at home,’” she muses, “and modern design, especially the Eichler homes, are a perfect example of how lots of ample light, a great floor plan, and an enjoyable kitchen design can add years to your life.” 30


Natural fit. A true Eichler specialist who lives in a Castro Valley Eichler, Thomas Westfall found a real estate career in his mom’s footsteps.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving the East Bay 415-889-7608 Brokerage: Compass thomas.westfall@compass.com www.ThomasWestfall.com BRE License #01833889

THOMAS WESTFALL comes from a real estate background—his mother put three children through college as an agent—which naturally led him to invest in his first of many properties by age 25, and to choose real estate as his second career. Prior to becoming a top producer for Compass and Alain Pinel Realtors, Westfall spent 20 years in the music business as a marketing executive for major record labels and management groups, and earned over 40 RIAA certified gold and platinum awards. The two trades are more similar than most people might imagine, Westfall points out, and many of the skills required to successfully develop new music artists have translated well for Westfall to selling properties, especially ones as unique and specialized as Eichlers. Though he’s a native of the East Bay, Westfall has lived and owned property in the New York area, Chicago, and Los Angeles before returning to the Bay Area in 2004 and becoming a Castro Valley Eichler owner in 2007. “Although I work with all styles of homes, Eichlers are dear to me,” Westfall says. “Even when they’ve been altered, there is something in the bones which is easy for me to envision, draw out in collaboration with the owner, and sell with

a proven mix of physical and digital marketing —not so different from artist development.” Westfall says one of his greatest skills is his intuitive sense of pricing. His keen understanding of market forces and timing has proven out time and time again for clients who follow his guidance. As an Eichler owner, Westfall stays knowledgeable about multiple Eichler communities and has a great sense of not only what’s important to preserve versus change, but also what the cost and effort would be to maximize return on investment. He’s brought in more than 20 great new neighbors to Castro Valley’s Greenridge, and has worked with Eichler sales in Oakland, Walnut Creek, Concord— and even Sacramento. “One of my favorite experiences was selling an Eichler in Sacramento to an English couple relocating from Boston—sight unseen,” Westfall says. “They trusted me enough to buy the house without their having ever stepped foot in it, based on my input plus a video walk-through I created. And I’m thrilled to say they love their home. “The more I learn about Eichler homes and their communities, the more I love the brand and what I do for a living and for my clients.”


Eichler lover. “Growing up in an Eichler,” says Nicole Collins (above), “just gives you a different outlook” on housing and community.

Eichler Real Estate Marketing Serving the East Bay 510-750-6070 Brokerage: 4 Rivers Realty, Inc. Nicole@4riversrealty.com www.4riversrealty.com DRE license #01312567

AS A LONGTIME EICHLER RESIDENT, with 20 years of real estate experience, Nicole Collins is uniquely suited to help fellow mid-century modern homeowners bring their homes to market. Moreover, Joe Eichler’s progressive legacy helped shape this independent broker/realtor’s life and career. When Collins returned to Castro Valley to raise her children, she insisted on moving back to an Eichler. She recalls stories of her parents, an interracial couple, moving from the East Coast in 1971. Because of Eichler’s non-discriminatory housing policy, the Eichler neighborhood in Castro Valley was where her parents ended up. “It was the most diverse neighborhood in Castro Valley. In fact, it was the only area my parents were shown property—thankfully!” she says of her childhood home, a double gable-roof model. “Growing up in an Eichler gives you a different outlook on houses, architecture, and community,” Collins says as a reason she’s continued to immerse herself in the lifestyle. “I’m a second generation Eichler owner. I grew up in one, rented one, and eventually bought my own.” Furthermore, like Eichler himself, Collins welcomes diverse clients. Having worked with clients from the Bay Area to Sacramento and from the

Russian River to Santa Cruz, she notes, “I’ve found that it doesn’t take an ‘area specialist’ to get the job done but rather a real estate specialist.” All along Collins has maintained a penchant for mid-century modern. Over the past two decades of her career, she has seen more home buyers come around to modern living—especially to Eichlers. “When I was a kid, Eichlers weren’t popular in the mainstream,” she recalls of the 1980s and ‘90s. For Collins, the attraction of Eichlers is multifaceted. “I like the clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows,” she effused, while also admiring the open floor plans. “It makes a huge difference. It makes me feel free!” Until recently, Collins has eschewed advertising as a way to promote her company, 4 Rivers Realty. Her business has been firmly established through word-of-mouth and referrals. “As a mother, real estate has been a great career for me,” she says. Having raised her teenage son to greater independence, she’s now looking to direct more energy to real estate—Eichler projects in particular. “I’ve always been passionate about real estate,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed an amazing 20 years selling homes. Now that my youngest son is going into High School, I look forward to focusing even more time on my business and on the homes and real estate projects I love.” 31

MORE RECOMMENDED SERVICE COMPANIES As a supplement to our roster of ‘Preferred Service Companies’ profiled throughout this directory, the following home-improvement companies, compiled by the Eichler Network, are presented here based on positive experiences received from Northern California Eichler homeowners. If you have recommendations of your own for quality companies you feel deserve to be included here in the future, please contact the Eichler Network at info@eichlernetwork.com. Service company geographic location codes: Peninsula (P), South Bay (SB), Marin (M), East Bay (EB), San Francisco (SF) ARCHITECTURE

Blaine Architects




Gladiator Repipe






Bay Area Floors & Design


(650) 444-3598

Alternative HVAC Solutions (P-SB)

Floortex Design


(415) 299-0381

floortexdesign.com LIGHTING

Practical Props


(408) 377-4073

residentialheating-ac.com (SB)

shop.practical props.com Hip Haven


Fidelity Roofing Company



(510) 547-6330

Blue Plum Design

Sandman Termite Co.

(413) 564-5530


Sezen & Moon Structural Engineering (SB) (408) 871-7273



Cabinet World USA


Big Blue Plumbing


(650) 592-8020

Omega Termite and Pest Control




(415) 454-1623

(800) 257-3636


omega-homeservices.com INTERIOR DESIGN





(408) 203-6729

(415) 529-1484



Synthesis Interiors & Color




(510) 540-6060

(415) 606-1909


(415) 640-8726



Mscape Modern Interiors

Segale Bros.

Plumbing Solutions





Lucile Glessner Design



(888) 599-5711

(408) 265-7400


hiphaven.com BRAND CABINETRY




(512) 462-4755


(408) 422-2987


(818) 980-3198

divineelectricnorcal.com (P-SB)


(415) 924-6545



Divine Electric

Residential Heating and Air Conditioning



(650) 322-4328


(650) 358-2580

(650) 879-0739

Brandt Plumbing



(650) 595-2500

(408) 649-7290

(408) 518-2144


Da Vinci Marble

(408) 866-4620

Simm’s Plumbing & Water (P)

(650) 728-4000

N-Style Painting




Palladino Painting

Bellows Plumbing Heating & Air (SB)



(925) 250-4102

(415) 543-1771


(510) 331-0596







Modern Shelving

(323) 908-5467


(877) 477-5487



Blomberg Window Systems


Modwalls Tile


modwalls.com Bedrosian Tile


Rollamatic Roofs

(650) 876-0100

Grand Tile & Cabinet



(650) 226-8388

(408) 467-9400

Artistic Garage Door


(650) 594-1183



Certified Stone and Tile Care (650) 218-7371

certifiedstoneandtilecare.com WINDOWS & SLIDING DOORS

Golden State Lumber


(415) 454-2532

goldenstatelumber.com Collier Warehouse colliergroup.com (EB)

supremeglass.net SLIDING DOOR REPAIR

Bay Area Sliding Door Repair (M-SF) (650) 333-5893

bayareaslidingdoorrepair.com WINDOW & SLIDING DOOR MANUFACTURERS

Fleetwood Windows (800) 736-7363


thetintguys.com WINDOW WASHING

R:12 Window Cleaning


(408) 372-7712


Kerf Design

(Bay Area)

(206) 954-8677

kerfdesign.com (SB)



Northgate Garage Doors

Flegels Home Furnishings

(415) 472-6004



Scandinavian Designs


Wilson Construction (P) (408) 655-4882



(650) 340-0555

scandinaviandesigns.com Chris Howard’s Antiques & Modern


(510) 228-5321



antiquesandmodern.com KCC Modern Living


(510) 704-9928

kccmodernliving.com BACKYARD STUDIOS & ROOMS

Inside Out Landscape Architecture (M-EB-SF)

M2 Design & Construction

(510) 655-7674


Aboutinsideout.com Landible


(415) 841-3554




(415) 382-7717



(650) 326-9665


(408) 560-6362

(510) 625-8995


(408) 399-0080

Water & Earth Landscape Design

(415) 920-9720


Oh La La!




Supreme Glass Company


(408) 334-7391



grandtileandcabinet.com Porcelanosa


(800) 345-7392


Crystal Shade Window Tinting (SB)

(650) 588-1838


(877) 439-9734


Tint Guys

(800) 884-2566




(415) 816-3403 HOUSE NUMBERS

Eichler Numbers


(408) 266-4180


City of Palo Alto Utilities (650) 329-2241




PRSRT. STD. U.S. Postage


P.O. Box 22635 • San Francisco, CA 94122

Permit #5294 San Jose, CA

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Eichler Network Home Maintenance Directory 2020  

Find maintenance solutions for your Eichler home and meet the faces behind the Eichler Network’s 2020 team of ‘Preferred Service Companies’

Eichler Network Home Maintenance Directory 2020  

Find maintenance solutions for your Eichler home and meet the faces behind the Eichler Network’s 2020 team of ‘Preferred Service Companies’


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