X-100 Renewal Project

Once faced with an uncertain future, the Eichler X-100, the unique steel-framed mid-century modern home built by Eichler Homes in 1956 to the design of architects Jones & Emmons, was returned to its original glory in 2017.

“I always considered it the number-one Eichler home, in fact long before we even came onto the scene,” said Marty Arbunich, director of the Eichler Network and current owner of Eichler’s experimental demonstration house in the San Mateo Highlands. “It’s a special house that deserves special treatment.”

Guided by project managers Lucile Glessner of Lucile Glessner Design and JC Miller of Vallier Design Associates, the ‘X-100 Renewal Project’ brought together more than two-dozen home-improvement professionals to restore and rehabilitate the home. Together they returned the X-100 to its original glory.

Arbunich pointed out that the one-of-a-kind Eichler was in need of considerable TLC and stewardship when he and his partners came in, adding, “We were also very concerned at the time that the house could be ruined in the wrong hands, with unnecessary remodeling and even a second-story addition, which was a common threat at the time. Our approach, of course, was much different.”

The partnership had select tenants live at the X-100 for most of the next decade before Arbunich assumed sole ownership in 2013 and vowed to get to work on the landmark home’s National Register of Historic Places nomination, as well as on its thorough restoration and rehabilitation, which had been slowed by the recession of 2008.

“I immediately got more focused on our original goals,” he recalled while assembling a team that eventually included interior designer Lucile Glessner Design (as project manager, aesthetic consultant, and furnishings procurement), landscape architect JC Miller of Vallier Design Associates (landscape and hardscape, with assist from New Forest Landscape Design), general contractor Smollen the Builder (building of fences and gates), and 20 other service companies. Click here for complete service company roster. 

Arbunich encountered a number of challenges during the two-year renewal project: matching the pool-decking aggregate in preparation for its eventual replacement, carefully preserving the original coping that ran around the backyard pool, choosing house colors and furnishings—and especially the necessary replacement of the glass-walled fencing that spanned the width of the property in the backyard.

“Our approach for the new fence was to open up the view of the Santa Cruz Mountains facing west as much as possible,” he said of a decision he made with landscape architect JC Miller and contractor Craig Smollen to reduce the number of fence posts (placing them eight feet apart instead of the original four feet) and omit the 30-foot-long horizontal top beam that was present in the original design.

Other major work the team completed on the X-100 during 2016 and 2017 included removing the garage door, thus restoring the original carport; removing metal covering over the original wood siding; adding custom gates that reflect the home’s circular motifs; reinstalling an original decorative side-yard fence and landscape themes by Doug Baylis; restoring the swimming pool and backyard decking; replacing 13 spotlights on the roof; creating a stunning Kriskadecor metal chain-link curtain for the master bedroom; and adding new paint, landscaping, fireplace, furnishings, and other improvements.

“There were difficult challenges along the way,” admitted Arbunich. “Like so many Eichler home-improvement projects, some phases of our work led to an unforeseen can of worms. In the end, we went way over budget, spending more than twice as much as our original plan. But, hey, we reached our goal—and besides, the X-100 deserves it!”

The X-100 was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. To view a gallery of photographs that tracks the numerous phases of the ‘X-100 Renewal Project, please click here.