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California Eichler house gets budget-friendly remodel with high-end looks

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Klopf Architecture is responsible for this budget-friendly remodel of a mid-century modern home, located in Foster City, a city located in San Mateo County, California. This home is an original Joseph Eichler home, a mid-century real estate developer who constructed affordable, modern houses to the masses, which began in 1949. 

To remodel and update an Eichler home to today’s standards can be a daunting and costly project if one is not careful. For this project, the owners, who had previously gone through several renovations, were determined to stick to an established budget right from the start. The architects were tasked with modernizing their Eichler, giving it a premium aesthetic with a sensible budget.

Project Team:  Architects: John Klopf, Angela Todorova, Sherry Tan | Contractor:  Keycon Construction | Structural Engineer:  Sezen & Moon

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The owners challenged the architects to create a design that had a high-end feel and nicely done while adhering to their budget. This meant that not all of the initial project scope could be constructed. 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’s pricing phase of the project.

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The goals that did survive through to the end of this budget-friendly remodel 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.

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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.

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The homeowners 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.

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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. 

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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.

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The homeowners 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 owners 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. 

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What We Love: This budget-friendly remodel provides a beautiful new home with reconfigured living spaces to meet the lifestyle needs of the homeowners. Integrating IKEA fixtures and cabinetry, the kitchen and bathrooms are stylish yet in keeping with the budget. Overall, the architects did a fabulous job of creating a more livable and modernized dwelling for the owners that is both stylish and affordable.

Tell Us: What do you think of the overall design details of this home? Please share with us your thoughts in the Comments below, we love reading your feedback!

Note: Have a look at a couple of our favorite home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, Klopf Architecture: Renovation of a mid-century modern Eichler home in California and Eichler home remodel in California features radiant spaces.

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Photos:  Sabrina Huang

One Kindesign has received this project from our submissions page. If you have a project you would like to submit, please visit our submit your work page for consideration! 

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Michele McCarthy
1 month ago

Where were the area rugs sourced from?