Palm Springs may get its first Eichler home

February 7th, 2014 | by Dominique Fong | Comments

Photo courtesy of Thomas Sylvia

If all goes well with building reviews, Palm Springs could get its first-ever Eichler home, according to builder KUD Properties.

Eichler homes are iconic for their post-and-beam construction and classic, clean lines. They’re prevalent throughout the Bay Area and three communities in Southern California. Joseph Eichler’s company, Eichler Homes, built more than 11,000 homes from 1950 to 1974.

But none were ever built in the city limits of Palm Springs, according to Troy Kudlac, a principal of KUD Properties, a firm that specializes in renovating, building and selling midcentury real estate. Eichler homes were built in the San Fernando and Orange areas, but not in the desert city known for its midcentury style.

“I fell in love with the Eichler homes when I was out in Orange, and I remember being in one and going, why aren’t these  in the desert,” Kudlac said. He had previously worked on many Alexander Construction Company homes, popular in Palm Springs. But Eichler is a  more nationally recognized name, he said.

Kudlac said he has an agreement with Monique Lombardelli of Modern Homes Realty in Menlo Park to use original plans licensed from the UC Berkeley Environmental Design Archives.

Soon Palm Springs may have its first Eichler — but just one so far. No tracts have been planned. A groundbreaking is coming, though Kudlac declined to confirm a date. The builder had a pre-review meeting with the city and expects to submit plans soon. KUD Properties will build one, see how it sells, then decide if it wants to build a second or perhaps a whole neighborhood of homes. The home will be built from the ground up on a vacant lot in south Palm Springs, in the Andreas Hills neighborhood.

Features of the proposed 2,177-square-foot Eichler home, which will be the “A frame” model, include: a fireplace, pool, floor-to-ceiling windows, tongue-and-groove ceiling with exposed beams and a 424-square-foot atrium.

When first built, Eichler homes drew mixed reactions from lenders and prospective homeowners, according to the 47-minute documentary posted online. People came to either love or absolutely dislike the homes with no front windows but an open layout.

Now, the proposed Eichler home falls in line with a resurgent interest to not only preserve but buy midcentury design in Palm Springs. Part of that interest has been both fueled and expressed by the expansion of Modernism Week, which has grown from a small occasion to 10 days of lectures, architectural bus tours and other events in celebration of modernism.

Business and real estate reporter Dominique Fong can be reached at (760) 778-4661, and on Twitter @dominiquefong.

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