In San Francisco, an Eichler Townhome

Architect John Klopf, master of the Joseph Eichler home renovation in northern California, recently completed work on a novel version of the midcentury modern:

It’s a 1962 two-story townhouse, the mirror image of its twin next door.

“It’s cool even though it’s a townhouse – when you walk up the stairs to the entry through the blue door, past that is the courtyard,” he says. “The front door is actually on the back of the house, and there’s a feeling of connection to nature. You turn right to get into the house and face the kitchen.”

Tasked with updating the home and making it entertainment-friendly, Klopf worked hand-in-glove with his clients, who were heavily engaged in design and direction. “The client wanted a more sophisticated look than what was present,” he says. “The owners were friends with the guy who provided the mahogany, back in the day, and they wanted to save it and resurface some of it.”

Plaster paneling on exterior balconies had been covered in shingles, which he removed. He restored the balconies to a smooth plaster, then removed wall shingles on the rest of the house, adding vertical Kayu Batu siding. The Kayu Batu harks back to the original “thinline” Eichler siding and restores the “inside-outside” intent. It continues into the house in the dining area and the master closet, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.

“The original drawing showed decks with plaster,” he says. “We got our inspiration from the original architect’s design.”

Inside, he merged the galley kitchen with family room, opening up views to the courtyard. Upstairs, he merged two bedrooms into one, and turned a closet into a master bath. A fireplace was removed, and forced-air heat replaced with radiant floors.

All in all, he returned a classic Eichler to its original roots, while making the home cozy for the couple who live there – and amenable for their guests. “We updated it, to bring it up to a higher level of finish, so when they have parties or events they have a nice space that respects the midcentury modern concept and materials,” he says.

With more than 100 Eichlers now renovated – and 10,900 to go –  he’s just beginning to hit his stride.

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