Rebirth of Cool


Jeanne Moeschler reimagines an Eichler for a young family and further brings the outside in

“The clients had me at double-peaked Eichler and atrium!” enthuses Jeanne Moeschler. The atrium’s water feature was designed by Bernard Trainor. Photos by David Duncan Livingston.

Take a 1974 Joseph Eichler house, imbue it with elements evoking Big Sur and—true to the indoor/outdoor living that the mid-century real estate developer promoted—accentuate the relationship with the landscape, which features a pool against a backdrop of Bloodgood maple, Swan Hill olive and Chinese pistache trees. No surprise, the outcome is a residence that epitomizes California cool.

“The black beams frame the home just as the windows frame the landscape from the interior,” says Moeschler. Sofas and lounge chairs from Lawson-Fenning, upholstered in Perennials fabrics, top a Merida rug. Photos by David Duncan Livingston.

This was the scenario for interior designer Jeanne Moeschler—along with architect Guy Ayers, contractor Pete Moffat and landscape designer Bernard Trainor—in a project layered with personal significance. The clients wed in Big Sur, and the Los Altos house they now call home was the husband’s childhood abode. While the couple reveres its architecture, they recognized that the structure required updating to optimally serve their young family, which now includes preteen twins. (The living room’s brick fireplace was among the few must-keep features).

the clients’ own dining table is combined with Lawson-Fenning chairs with olive-hued leather seats, an Allied Maker blackened brass chandelier and a Jonathan Smith piece from Simon Breitbard Fine Arts gallery. Photos by David Duncan Livingston.

Pushing out and removing walls—thereby increasing the total square footage from 2,800 to 3,400—allowed for larger bedrooms, more versatile bathroom spaces and an expansive modern kitchen. The addition of glass sliding doors in the kitchen, around the atrium and in the bedrooms eases the boundaries between the inside and out. “Now you can see through the house, from one end to the other, and through to the yard,” says Moeschler. “It’s magical.”

To achieve a “moody kitchen,” Moeschler chose an ebony stain for the Rift white oak cabinets; the pendants are by Allied Maker and the seating from Sossego. Photos by David Duncan Livingston.

As for her approach to the design, “Big Sur is very much an artist’s enclave and place of inspiration,” she says, “which is why I was hyper-focused on everything having an artisan quality.” With nature also informing her choices, stone, wood, earthen tones and handmade finishes populate the interiors. The home’s redwood paneling and black beams contrast the light and bright Ann Sacks tile underfoot. In the clients’ bedroom, atop Disc Interiors nightstands, ceramic table lamps by Gregorius|Pineo are reminiscent of sea urchins while a Marc Phillips rug brings to mind undulating waves. In the guest bedroom, Moeschler describes golden-hued textiles and brass details as “sunshine moments.”

Custom-glazed tiles from Ann Sacks’ Elements collection clad the walls in the main bathroom.
Photos by David Duncan Livingston.
When the skylight is open, you get the experience of an outdoor shower,” says Moeschler. 
Photos by David Duncan Livingston.

Moeschler’s involvement in the soft goods as well as the hard materials ensured cohesiveness throughout. She likens the end result to “a warm hug. Everything is textural and refined. It feels good to the touch and lovely on the eye.” For the Menlo Park- based designer, “Big Sur isn’t just a beautiful coastal destination,” she continues. “It’s a feeling. It’s tranquil and it’s humbling. The home needed to be relaxing and comfortable—an oasis in bustling Silicon Valley.” – Anh-Minh Le

the 10-by- 12-foot prefab backyard structure, from Studio Shed, includes an office setup and sleeper sofa.  Photos by David Duncan Livingston.