Go east, Eichler buyers!
Eichlers -- the Mid-Century Modern tract houses peppered throughout California -- had a brief flirtation with the East Coast. Three of the iconic homes landed in the faraway land of Rockland County, NY. One of the trio is now on the market for $489,900.
Yes, you read the price correctly. Leave the Golden State and you can snag an Eichler for well under the million-dollar range that's become status quo in the West. Although the homes were intended as modest family dwellings some 50 years ago, a resurgence in popularity has hiked up the prices in California.
This 1962 home, designed by Jones & Emmons architects and built by Joseph Eichler, looks like something you'd find in the temperate climes of California. This 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom home features the trademark walls of windows, the double A-frame roof, and even the roofless interior atrium.
During the colder months, you'll find snow coming in, instead of sunshine. Which was just fine for seller Tim Santos, who lived in the home for six years.
"Honestly, a blizzard with an atrium is an unreal experience," Santos says. "It's sort of like a snow globe that comes alive in the middle of your house. I don't think there are many people in the world that can relate to that."
Aside from the winter wonderland, the owner also enjoyed "indoor-outdoor living," an open-concept layout in tune with family life, and a "mini Eichler community" established with the owners of the two other Eichlers in the neighborhood.
In the 1960s, the New York -- born Eichler had apparently hoped to have a much larger development, but those plans were frozen along with a chilly East Coast reception.
"It didn't really make much sense from a business standpoint," Joseph Eichler's grandson David Eichler says. In California, the costs of the homes were kept low thanks to local efficiencies, but they were lost when expanded to far-flung locations.
The younger Eichler, an architectural photographer, says, "The climate doesn't really suit the homes either, because they're not very efficient in terms of insulation. With all that glass, they're hard to heat."
Santos says he updated the house over the years, including adding insulation in the walls. Although the heating bills are high, he notes, they don't seem to be out of line with more traditional houses in the area. As with the West Coast Eichlers, there's radiant floor heating.
The home features an eat-in kitchen, a living room with fireplace, a family room, and a master bedroom with updated bathroom.
"It's a very unique home," listing agent Allan Erps says. "This sticks out, no question about it."
Also not in dispute: This Eichler is a unicorn on the East Coast. "These homes aren't made specifically for that climate, so they could not do more than three due to budgets," Eichler specialist Monique Lombardelli says of the East Coast outliers.
The Palo Alto -- based broker, who had some of the Eichler blueprints updated for new construction, adds, "I want to expand his designs everywhere! These three are the special ones that put him on the map for a 'national builder,' not just in California."
While a national expansion did not happen in Eichler's lifetime, renewed interest in the homes could someday lead to new Eichlers altered for East Coast living. If not, now's your chance to snap up one of the rare originals.