Robert M. Cain, Architect
Tucked into the sea of Virginia Highland (an Atlanta intown neighborhood) English cottage-style homes is an anomaly: a mid-century modern home with Eichleresque design connotations. Californian Joseph Eichler, America’s only “modernist merchant builder”, built nearly 11,000 speculative homes starting in the 1940’s. The clean lines of his homes remain fresh today and have substantially contributed to the revival of interest in mid-century design.
Steve Jobs, who grew up in an Eichler home, once stated his “appreciation for Eichler homes instilled a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market”. Interestingly, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak grew up in an Eichler home in Sunnyvale, California.
How a vaguely California mid-century modern home came to be constructed in Virginia-Highland is not known to the current owners. However, having lived in California, they recognized the form immediately and purchased the house. Our assignment: expand the kitchen and dining area into the unusable carport and enhance the interior and exterior “Eichler effect.” We responded by emphasizing the horizontality found in Eichler designs: extending “wings” to each side for privacy, adding horizontal bands of glass, removing diagonal beam brackets, employing lap siding, adding a new 5’ wide pivot door and (given the immediacy of the house to the street) adding a low horizontal wall to establish a public/private boundary. Parking for the house shifts to an apron linked via a walk.