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The rebirth of Eichler homes
January 16, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

A local Realtor with a passion for mid-century modern design has inked a deal with Ned Eichler to once again build his father's iconic homes.

Joseph Eichler built entire neighborhoods for more than two decades, the largest in the San Mateo Highlands, with his glass-walled, open-beam construction and open floor plan homes.

Eichler Homes, Inc. built its last home in 1973, however, the year before Joseph Eichler died.

Now, Ned Eichler wants to see the homes reborn and is consulting Monique Lombardelli, who recently formed the Eichler Homes Development Corporation after filming the documentary "People in Glass Houses: The Legacy of Joseph Eichler” with the help of Ned.

Eichler and his company built about 11,000 homes, mostly in the Bay Area, in the 1950s and '60s and Ned worked alongside his father, working in the sales office among other duties.

"If I were younger and in better health, I would do this myself,” Ned Eichler, 82, told the Daily Journal. He is impressed with Lombardelli's energy.

"When I worked in the sales office, I would have hired her,” he said.

Lombardelli's goal is to bring back the company how Joseph Eichler left it, with the same marketing, the same principles of form and function and affordability and up to today's codes. Eichler's concept was to bring the outside in and he achieved it with lots of glass and skylights, often looking into gardens.

"I noticed a huge market of buyers wanting an Eichler and minimal inventory,” Lombardelli said.

She plans to start small and has an eye on a three-acre lot in Portola Valley to build the first homes.

She is also hiring a team of architects to bring the Eichler back to life and the ultimate goal, she said, is to build an entire neighborhood with new Eichlers.

She also considers herself a purist, with an intent to keep to the original home designs as possible.

"Monique may be more of a purist than I am,” Ned Eichler told the Daily Journal.

He intends to inspect plans for every home, review the construction and the design.

"I'm going to help her make it work,” he said.

Eichler now lives in Tiburon but not in one of his father's famous homes.

He recounted numerous arguments with his famous father over items such as heat and air conditioning. His father was somewhat inflexible, however.

"Purity is not necessary,” he said. "I'm going to be more flexible and not insist on things.”

Lombardelli's passion for the home grew as she filmed her documentary, which recently won the CreaTiVe Business Award at the San Jose Film Festival.

Through her research, she discovered that many Eichlers still have their original owners and that they barely ever go on the market.

It's a home that families will live in until they die, she said.


To learn more visit www.moniquelombardelli.com


Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.


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