Fullerton Forever home exterior with orange door and gray siding
Homeowners Keven and Alana Stirdivants left most of the home’s footprint intact.

Taking on the renovation of a mid century home is always a challenge. In Fullerton, California, there’s added pressure when the homes are a beloved local symbol of a bygone era. Fullerton’s Forever Homes are a series of quintessentially modern mid century tract houses. They were constructed thanks to the influence of iconic developer and real estate mogul Joseph Eichler.

Mid Century Modern living room with leather sofa and orange door
This front sitting room was once an open air carport in the home’s original design. Keven and Alana Stirdivant turned it into a front sitting room, painted the whole room white, and now it’s a light and bright gathering space.

Mid Century Love

When new owners Keven and Alana Stirdivant found termites and had a significant kitchen design disaster, they started to wonder what they’d gotten into. “There was definitely some fear. We were really thinking, ‘Should we still do this?’” admits Keven, who along with his wife, Alana, purchased the home with a full renovation in mind.

Mid Mod living room with skateboard wall art, orange accents and house plants
Tones of gray and olive anchor the living room with a mix of vintage and reproduction furniture, while orange accents brighten the space.

The Stirdivants are both mildly obsessed with Mid Century Modern homes, design and architecture. So much so, they started a real estate company that specializes in buying and selling mid mod homes.

Having gotten their feet wet with purchases for clients, they wanted to do something a bit more hands-on. So, they set about finding an iconic 1950s home that needed thoughtful work. When they saw this home, they knew it was perfect.

Vintage homeowner manual of Forever House
Alana and Keven actually got their hands on one of the original homeowner’s manuals, detailing information and maintenance requirements for these midcentury homes, which sold for just under $20,000 at the time. The manual is a vintage keepsake given to the couple by the home’s original owner.

Fullerton’s Forever Homes

The Stirdivants’ house is one of Fullerton’s Forever Homes. These homes have ties to Eichler, though local builder Pardee-Phillips built them. That partnership came about thanks to Eichler’s promotion of modern living on the then-popular 1950s TV show Home. This is where he offered plans that architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons had drawn up to developers in small towns across America.

Homeowners Keven and Alana share a family moment near their orange door.
One of the couple’s four children, baby Seven, at the Forever Home with Keven and Alana. The front door color (used both inside and out) is “Balcony Sunset” by Marquee. The tangerine hue was used as a pop of color throughout the home.

According to the Eichler Network, the regular “‘House That Home Built’ segment tried to persuade America that glass-walled, low-gabled, modern homes would work anywhere in the country, not just sunny California.”

Many builders jumped at the chance to pick up the Jones-Emmons plans for a couple hundred dollars and launch their own modern enclaves. As a result, there are nearly 300 of these modern Forever Home designs in the southern part of Fullerton. At the time, they sold for just under $20,000.

Fullerton Forever Home living room with an artful line of skateboard decks by Chocolate Skateboards
An artful line of skateboard decks by Chocolate Skateboards lines the wall in the main living room. It’s a fitting décor choice for homeowner Keven, a former skateboarder.

A Major Setback

The Stirdivants bought the three bedroom, two bathroom home almost on the spot. One of the most pressing projects was dealing with the termites they found in wood paneling in a former carport that the previous owners enclosed. “They’d created more square footage but left the exterior finishes. With the stucco on the walls, it didn’t feel like part of the house,” explains Alana.

Keynote Renovations worked with the couple and started with redoing the walls on the old carport and removing its dusty stucco and a support post to make the space feel like part of the home. Removing another wall between the dining room and kitchen opened the space up, and the washer and dryer were relocated from the master bath to a hallway closet (a former pantry in the home’s original plans). The couple’s biggest splurge was on polished concrete floors across nearly all 1730 square feet of the home.

Master bedroom with bird art and neutral tones
Originally the Stirdivants talked about enlarging the master bedroom into a master suite by taking space from the dining room, but then decided against it, choosing to keep to the home’s original plans.

Forever Farewell

While they brought plenty of passion to this project, ultimately, they wanted to see if buyers would respond to their careful modernization of the home. It went on the market as soon as it was complete, selling almost immediately—for about $75,000 more than the highest previous price for a renovated Forever Home. “Even though we had an offer that was about $20,000 higher, we opted to sell it to this really nice couple who sent us a heartfelt letter about how much they loved the house. We just really wanted them to have it because they were such sweet people.”

Mid century credenza with circle mirror and house plants
Skylights reflect light off the polished concrete floor (which was one of the couple’s big-ticket items in the renovation). The vintage credenza brings warm wood tones into the home.
Fullerton Forever Home patio with trees, wall-to-ceiling windows and patio furniture
The outdoor seating area functions as an extension of the living room for that quintessential mid mod indoor-outdoor living.

Want to see more of this home? Read on here to see the kitchen and bathroom renovation.

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