Project: Affordable Eichler Remodel
Architects: Klopf Architecture
Project Team: John Klopf, Angela Todorova, Sherry Tan
Contractor: Keycon Construction
Structural Engineer: Sezen & Moon
Location: Foster City, California
Year Completed: 2020
Photography: Sabrina Huang
Joseph Eichler developed his moderately priced houses for the mass-market starting in 1949. His homes were designed using affordable materials and simple construction techniques. Nearly 70 years later these homes are in need of updating and remodeling an Eichler home today can become an imposing and costly project if you’re not careful. For this project the clients, who had undergone several previous house renovations, were determined to stick with an established budget from the beginning. Klopf Architecture helped them modernize their Eichler with a premium appearance on a reasonable budget.
The clients challenged the Klopf team to create a design that had a high-end feel and nicely done while adhering to their budget. That meant not all of the initial project scope could be built. Like many other Eichler homes, the original floor plan did not meet the family’s needs leaving them feeling disconnected from one room to another. While an early goal was to expand the house into a carport and create a larger garage, it did not survive the contractor pricing phase of the project.
The goals that did survive through to the end of the project included blurring some of the boundaries and opening up some of the spaces, making them more functional and creating a smoother flow in the house. The Klopf team joined the former separate kitchen and formal living room into one large space and shift the dining room where it is now connected to the kitchen. Klopf swapped the family room to the front alongside the living room, so the spaces feel more cohesive and are now better suited for family activities. The functional layout of the master bathroom was changed to include a large, curbless shower.
Installing a complete IKEA kitchen including cabinets, countertops, appliances, light fixtures, and furnishings was key to staying within budget. Bath fixtures in this house are also exclusively IKEA. Klopf Architecture has designed many homes using IKEA products, which are quite compatible offering an affordable, contemporary take on Eichler homes. The clients saved additional money from the simplicity and availability of IKEA products and by orchestrating the orders and purchases themselves. Following each construction meeting, the clients would make a run to IKEA and purchase items, pick up needed spare parts, and bring them back right away to stay ahead of the contractor’s schedule and minimize the chance of delays and bottlenecks.
Klopf balanced material selections by retaining some of the original woodwork and simply refinishing the mahogany paneling. They were able to retain the original windows and sliding doors which were still in good shape, avoiding some of the most costly replacement expenses. Additionally interior doors were simply refinished and the exterior siding cleaned up and repainted. Formerly dark interiors are now illuminated with new slimmer semi-recessed lighting eliminating the need for costly roof work.
Attention to design details allowed the Klopf team to ensure the house ended up with a high quality feel. Key visual elements were strictly aligned and Klopf worked with the clients to select a unified materials palette throughout the spaces so the house flows seamlessly together. Aligning the tile layout with the trusses and keeping it level with the concrete slab outside allowed them to achieve a level of quality that may otherwise be missed.
The clients were able to keep their budget on track by determining clear goals and making critical decisions upfront, choosing materials and furnishings wisely, working with the right design and construction teams in place and to a large part, their willingness to participate throughout the process. In the end the clients were much happier with their reconfigured Eichler home and Klopf Architecture managed to keep their remodeling costs to about $325/sf – a good amount below the average Bay Area Eichler remodel.