In the 1950’s a handful of architects were promoting an era of easy, modern living in affordable houses. Key among them was real estate mogul and developer Joseph Eichler. Though the Fullerton Forever Homes have ties to Eichler, they were not built by him, but are an excellent example of his merchandizing expertise.

A flat-roofed Forever home in Fullerton with offset carport and a painted wide brick facade
This well-kept flat-roofed Fullerton Forever home has an offset carport and corner windows complete with clerestories. While the wide flat brick facade has been painted, it still imparts a clean mid century feel the simple exterior.

Eichler’s Marketing Muscle

The homes came about thanks to Eichler’s promotion of modern living on the 1950s TV show Home. On the segment “House that Home Built,” Eichler’s architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons offered their house plans for $200 to developers in towns across America.

A Forever Home in Fullerton with a flat roof and newly renovated front facade which includes horizontal wood slats and a mid cenutry modern style green door
This flat roof Forever Home has been recently renovated. The owners revived the facade with a mix of modern materials including horizontal wood slats and corrugated metal for the garage facade. New mod-style green double doors finish off the eye-cathing look.

According to the Eichler Network, which curates information on all things Eichler, 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 and launch their own modern enclaves.

Related Reading: Post & Beam Perfection: The History of This Modern Construction Style

A Forever Home in Fullerton with a half falt and half-sloped roof is is the most striking silhouette of the 7 basic plans
This partially angled roof style is one of the most striking of the 7 original Jones & Emmons plans. This home is intact to the original facade and still boasts it’s entry atrium and open carport. Like most Eichler’s the back wall of the Fullerton Forever homes are almost entirely glass.

Fullerton Forever Homes Plans

There were seven floor plans offered from Jones and Emmons; three-and four-bedroom with two-bathrooms. The style was reminiscent of Eichler homes, as the plans had been created previously for Joseph Eichler. These houses were meant to be both affordable and cutting edge—in terms of design—and work in any climate.

Quintessentially Midcentury Modern, the homes feature plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the outside in, soaring ceilings and post-and-beam construction. Carports created space for Americans’ growing appetites for motorized vehicles. Color-coordinated “dream kitchens” with convenient built-in features were marketed to the era’s busy housewives.

forever home in fullerton with a flat roof and newly remodeled exterior which includes a bright ornage door, dark grey paint, modern landscaping an ahorizontal wood slat front patio screen
This recently renovated home shows the power of good paint and some fresh curb appeal elements. The white trim nicely accents the flat room against the new dark exterior color. Modern landscaping and a horizontal plank wall which creates a front courtyard adds vibrant texture and interest to the front of the home.

The Cities

In Fullerton, California, builders Pardee-Philips got on board, building what they then marketed as ‘Forever Homes’. There are nearly 300 of these modern Forever Home designs in the southern part of Fullerton—built sometime in the mid 1950s—and at the time they sold for just under $20,000. In a nod to Fullerton’s agricultural past, orange trees were planted in both front and back yards.

An almost pristine Fullerton Forever home with a low slung sloped roof and fun ornage door
This beautifully revived sloped roof plan from the Fullerton Forever neighborhood boasts the original facade of the same plan that is the cover feature of our Summer 2020 issue.

Builders and developers from other cities also snatched up Eichler’s offer of modernist architectural plans. Similar homes were built across America, in about 20 cities including Cleveland, Kansas City and Denver.

an original fullerton forever booklet with a welcome letter from Pardee Homes

Over the years, many of these homes have fallen into disrepair, but a handful of Mid century Modern enthusiasts including real estate experts, contractors and builders are tracking down these forgotten homes and trying to bring back the shine they had when they were built.

For more information about the city and it’s mid century history, visit fullertonheritage.org.

Looking for more Eichler History? Check out this tour of the restored Eichler x-100.  Or read about this renovated kitchen from an Eichler enclave in Northern California.

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