Art, Inspiration and General Musings

April 7, 2010

I Like Eich(ler)!

{Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour postcard designed by tour co-coordinator Dane Henas}
I don't know about you guys, but I am a total voyeur - self-professed, no charges or anything. At any rate, when I learned about the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour coming up on June 26th, I just about lost my shit. I mean, to get a one-day pass to tour some of Sacramento's finest mid-century modern (MCM) homes and commercial structures - hello, dream come true! The tour will include roughly eleven residences and other points of interest by the likes of Jones + Emmons for Eichler Homes, Carter Sparks, George Muraki, Perich Bros. Construction, George W. Hackett, Dean Unger, Sooky Lee, Grant Caywood, William Koblik, and Rickey + Brooks. Anyone else drooling?
Tickets for the tour are $20, and are currently available online as well as at Parkside Pharmacy, Capital Nursery and Blomberg Windows. See this post for further details...and continue reading for an interview with co-coordinator Gretchen Steinberg.

{Circa 1955 Eichler Home for the Koutchis family, designed by Jones + Emmons}

Tell us a little about your history with MCM design. I was raised mostly by my grandparents in Southern California - in Beaumont, Riverside County near Palm Springs (MCM mecca!) in the '60s and '70s. They went to Palm Desert every weekend and I believe MCM design was imprinted on me at an early age. My grandfather built a wonderful MCM office building on the main street in Beaumont. I think it's just part of my personal visual lexicon.

How did your fascination with Eichler Homes start? My fascination with Eichler Homes started once I moved to the Bay Area and became aware of them. And when I discovered that there were Eichler Homes in Sacramento through my friend and Sacramento Modern colleague/tour co-coordinator Dane Henas, my ears perked up.

You bought an Eichler back in '08 - what's it like living in one? I wish I knew! We actually live up the street in a home designed by local architect and designer team Rickey + Brooks. My kids keep begging me to move into our Eichler home, which we may eventually do when we retire. Right now we have lovely tenants who seem to be enjoying the home.

Are there any historical preservation societies ensuring these homes are protected? Funny you should mention that because we recently formed a non-profit association - Sacramento Modern - to promote, preserve and protect mid-century modern art, architecture, and design in the Sacramento region. There have been instances where Eichler neighborhoods have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Case in point. Our newly formed non-profit will be addressing ways to protect and encourage preservation of our region's extensive and diverse MCM heritage. Hopefully we will be able to discourage destruction of these treasures through education and research - instilling a sense of civic pride and identifying alternatives.

{Circa 1957-58 Frame family home designed by Carter Sparks}

What are the main architectural differences between an Eichler & a Carter Sparks home? Joseph Eichler employed several architects to design the homes he built throughout CA (and a couple exist in NY). Our particular neighborhood in Sacramento was designed by Jones + Emmons but virtually similar designs were also used in other Eichler neighborhoods in 1955 in the Bay Area. Carter Sparks' designs for Streng Homes take into consideration our specific region's weather. Dave Weinstein of the Eichler Network has written a great article talking about some of the other differences. Carter Sparks also designed custom homes - we will have at least two on this year's tour.

How did the tour come about? I met both of the tour co-coordinators online! Dane Henas and I have been friends through a social networking/review site for about three years. Dane always expressed an interest in trying to get together other like-minded MCM fans. In November 2009, I was contacted through Facebook by Kris Lannin Liang, who had started the group "Mid-Century Sacramento." Kris and I first met in-person at Mahoroba Bakery; she asked if I ever had given thought to putting together a home tour. I suggested we ask Dane to participate and here we are. Just us three.

We divided up tasks according to our personal skill sets. Dane has done all of the awesome graphic design work: the logo, tickets, postcards, and upcoming poster and guidebook, including a map. Kris has incredible organizational skills and has been spending countless hours collaborating and partnering with other local agencies, groups, and places as well as managing submissions to the car show, the displays at the airport, ticket sales and volunteers. I have been maintaining our blog, our presence on Twitter, coordinating homes and points of interest for the tour, conducting historical research, collecting images, and putting up a historical display at the airport. We could use some help! Just yesterday we sent a call for volunteers on Facebook.


The Beso Team said...
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Unknown said...

Oh I drool I drool!! I love those mid century homes too! I am also in love with ranch style homes as well. I have no idea why. Maybe watching too many Disney movies when I was a kid. lol. Look how gorgeous the lines are! So simple & lovely! I would love to peek inside the home too. Thanks for this!

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