The numbers alone are staggering:
California’s Klopf Architecture has remodeled 200 midcentury modern homes in recent years. But those designed by Joseph Eichler formed the lion’s share. The firm has successfully updated 138 of them.
It’s a mission for the architects there.
“We are Eichler experts, but we also work on other kinds of homes – we want to be thought of when people think of modernist work of any kind,” says architect John Klopf, the firm’s founder. “A lot of people like our approach – it resonates with its warm modernism and natural materials and easy connections to the outdoors.”
Their most recent remodel is in Palo Alto, Calif., a 1950s four-bedroom with two original baths. The drawback for this 1,800-square-foot home and its 400-square-foot garage?
The rooms were tiny.
So Klopf and project architect Klara Kevane expanded it – by a total of 72 feet, combining two bathrooms into a master, and growing a bedroom. “We bumped out the front bedroom wings toward the front yard to align it with the garage,” Kevane says. “It was four bedrooms originally, and the bump-out gave us a nicer master bathroom.”
There were problems at the other end too, with a dining area/family room, a galley kitchen in its middle. On the other side was a living room. “All the spaces were small,” Klopf says. “By moving the kitchen to the front and changing the orientation of the living space, it feels much bigger and much more connected.”
And lighter too. “There are two skylights in the kitchen to flood it with light now,” he says. “We added skylights over the vanities in the bath. The master bath has frosted glass wall. Light comes straight down the wall, with no shadows – it washes right down.”
So here’s an architecture firm that’s found its niche – in the treasure trove of Eichlers across California. There were, by most estimates 11,000 built there between 1949 and 1966.
Which leaves John Klopf a lot of inventory yet to be explored – and a lot of light to bring to the fore.
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