A Very Open Eichler Kitchen Layout

Joseph Eichler was a builder of many Atomic Ranch (low slung country ranch house) type houses in the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles. In the Bay Area they’re primarily seen in Palo Alto and Mountain View but also elsewhere. What strikes me at first is the vast size of the brickwork facing here. It’s a huge brick island inside the house. Is the brick wall supposed to be protective, or merely grand?

Real estate redevelopers (flippers) do great work most of the time, and here’s a very nicely renovated Eichler home with open kitchen concept, circa 2018. The rest of it works for me, but for someone familiar with overhead spice cabinets, this feels “too open” — just like I think Facebook and Google open office spaces are a bit too open sometimes in their cavernous office spaces.

Those are too open for the different reason of it feeling like a stuffy library where you can’t speak and work freely within a small team, because you constantly have everyone within 200 feet in your peripheral vision and vice-versa, regardless of work headphones. (The halfway house solution: many people at FB clamp ad hoc cubicle walls to their desks!)

Anyway, back to this amazing Eichler house renovation: I bet the new owners have added cooking utensil containers, an oil & spice rack, and magnetic knife strip — unless they eat exclusively at tech company cafeterias and outside restaurants. This is a great weekend brunch kitchen though! And otherwise it’s a very zen experience, so maybe I’m just not used to having a zen kitchen space. That’s a goal for me though so this is very inspiring in a meditative way.

What do you think: thumbs up or down on this extra-open Eichler kitchen island? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!

-Ken

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