The Next Wave of Desert Eichlers

  • Exterior View

    Exterior View

  • Original Eichler in Hillsborough, CA

    Original Eichler in Hillsborough, CA

  • Open Kitchen

    Open Kitchen

"What would Eichler do?" is an apropos mantra for real estate developer Troy Kudlac.

Joseph Eichler, the genius real estate developer of the affordable housing subdivisions of Mid-Century Modern design built in California during the1950s -- 1970s. Kudlac is the developer who has dipped into the Eichler archives to build the homes anew.

His brand-new Desert Eichler 2 in Palm Springs is on the market for $1,290,000, and is close to getting an offer. ( Desert Eichler 1, also in Palm Springs, was finished a year ago and sold in a day.)

Kudlac was able to revive the Mid-Century Modern designs by licensing plans from Monique Lombardelli. The designs were originally drawn up by architect Claude Oakland, and they've since been updated to meet modern building codes.

"We are the first to do this," Kudlac says. The last original homes were built by the developer over 40 years ago.

Kudlac isn't stopping now. Desert Eichler 2 is part of a new Eichler community, built on land that's "probably one of the last locations of connected lots in Palm Springs," he notes.

He's got Desert Eichler 3 about to hit the market, and plans to start construction on three more, which will make up an all-new Eichler neighborhood of eight homes.

Many modern homes built today pay homage to Eichler homes, which emphasized indoor-outdoor flow, a small footprint, and walls of glass.

Many neighborhoods of the Mid-Century Modern originals are still intact, and sit in sought-after communities such as Palo Alto in the north and Orange to the south. The market for the limited stock of Eichlers is hot, hot, hot.

"We have been renovating Mid-Century Modern homes for quite a while," Kudlac says. "We decided that we were going to build new, but we didn't want to build anything new -- we wanted to build something unique and special, and something that mattered, that had authenticity to it. We started researching Eichlers, because we fell in love with them."

We certainly see lots to love in this newly built, 2,177-square-foot A-frame. The four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home includes the iconic interior atrium, but the floor plan has been modernized to drop the wall between the kitchen and living space, opening up the interior. Sliding doors have also been added to the bedrooms, for easy access to the pool.

The decor mixes old with new, including vintage decor staged by the developer's wife, Amy Kudlac, who sourced many of her finds through The Hunt in Los Angeles.

"They're very good. I think the spirit is there," Lombardelli says of Kudlac's finished product. "If you can emulate that spirit, that is a great reproduction."

For the design tweaks he's made to the original plans, Kudlac says he tries to channel Eichler. "He was a businessman. He refined his models over the 20 years he built. I'm just trying to do justice to him by looking at it in the same way."