This Eichler is definitely one with its landscape. The front yard’s blooming red and white plumerias, dwarf bananas, palms, liriope and ferns are all about six years old. In the back, the existing giant bird of paradise plants are 30 feet tall, and the homeowners have added pocket plantings of bamboo palms, bromeliads and cycads to soften the expanse of concrete decking.

Patrick Quiroz came to modernism through middle school. Though he lived in a “regular” postwar house, he walked through Joseph Eichler’s Fairmeadows tract to get to his junior high school in Orange, Calif. He remembers that the families of friends who lived there seemed to all be artistic—writers, photographers, musicians, college professors, eccentrics. “It was a different set of people who were attracted to these houses than the typical tract-home family,” he says.

Today he lives with partner Steve Baringer in a four-bedroom, two-bath Eichler in Orange’s Fairhills neighborhood. The home is rumored to have been the sales office for the tract, and Quiroz was told the atypical den off the kitchen once displayed architectural models for the various floor plans.

“These Eichlers are well sited. A lot of them don’t get full sun into the house,” Quiroz comments in explaining that their house isn’t blazing hot even in the summer. “In the Fairmeadows tract there are a few models that have dramatic sloping roofs; you can tell they thought those out according to where the sun was. Some have morning light instead of setting sun [exposure], which would have been way too hot.”

In the house for 10 years, the pair only had to do cosmetic upgrades to eliminate the rental carpet and vinyl flooring. Damage from the carpet tack strips in the living room means Quiroz won’t be leaving the cement slab exposed permanently; he’s thinking of flagstone, slate or pebble-and-epoxy flooring. One area where they’ve invested lots of time is in landscaping the property, with the resulting yard looking like a slice of Hawaii with its palms, hibiscus, bromeliads and giant bird-of-paradise plants lining the pool.

Needless to say, Quiroz never regretted leaving that postwar house behind! What kind of treasures does this Fairmeadows Eichler hold? Tune in to part 2 to find out!