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Rare Bay Area Eichler home hits the market

In the 1950s and ’60s, influential real estate developer Joseph Eichler built 11,000 homes in nine planned communities in Northern California. The former butter and egg salesman was inspired to bring sleek modern architecture, normally only accessible to moneyed homeowners, to the middle class after briefly living in a Frank Lloyd Wright home on the Peninsula. 

Eichler was seen as a visionary and even established a nondiscrimination policy in his housing tracts, which later led to him resigning from the National Association of Home Builders after they refused to adopt his inclusive approach. 

The iconic mid-century homes, which became known simply as “Eichlers,” are immediately recognizable by their glass walls, open floor plans, pitched A-frame rooflines, lofty atriums, covered carports and modernist details such as metallic closet doors and cozy in-floor heating. 

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

Finding (and posting online) Eichlers, has become a passion for a new generation of mid-century modern enthusiasts, and today the #eichler hashtag on Instagram retrieves over 40,000 photos. The New York Times once described the desire to own the frozen-in-time collectibles as “embodying the constant search for happier, better living: postwar California optimism served sunny side up on a concrete slab.”

One of the last, and smallest, Bay Area communities overseen by Eichler was the Sequoyah Hills tract in the Oakland Hills. The community is sometimes known as “the land of the lost Eichlers,” and many of the homes are in rare pristine condition after being spared some of the ugly remodeling efforts of the ’70s and ’80s on Eichler’s more well known communities. 

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

This week one of those “lost Eichlers” at 8021 Shay Drive has hit the market for $1,595,000.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

“This one is special. It’s rare to find all these features in one property,” listing agent Glennie Kramer-Baker said. “I think people will fall in love with the opportunity to live that California-cool lifestyle we all dream of.”

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom 2,121-square-foot twin gable home, built in 1965, features a landscaped atrium that leads into the open beam grand living area with a brick wood-burning fireplace, surrounded by the iconic Eichler walls of glass.

The home features an eat-in chef’s kitchen that opens to the dining and family room. “It’s unique in that beyond the modern aesthetic, it’s actually a super practical and high functioning design to live in,” Compass agent Lissa Moon LaCroix said. “That’s what I think sets Eichlers apart. People know that beyond the facade, it’s actually an incredibly thoughtful and effortless place to reside.”

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

“It’s such a stunning home that really captures the quintessential mid-century modern feel of what makes the Eichler style so coveted for lovers of this era of home,” Kramer-Baker said. “The pool with a view definitely puts it up a notch.” 

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

The kidney-shaped pool, garden and hot tub have a wide view west over the bay and the San Francisco skyline. 

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

At the peak of the company’s expansion and success, Eichler explained his formula in a rare interview with American Builder magazine: “I operate on the theory of innovation. I develop what I believe to be good, and then I offer it to my customers,” he said. “Many builders say ‘give the people what they want,’ but how can people ‘want’ innovations they have never seen or heard of?”

The home on Shay Drive is hitting the market at about $400,000 under the Redfin estimate and previously sold for $925,000 in 2005.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

8021 Shay Drive, Oakland, Calif.

BrightroomSF Photography / Compass

Find the full listing from Compass here.