March 25, 2016
We are really excited about the restoration of the X100, the experimental steel frame Eichler in San Mateo. The project and National Register nomination were described recently in this CA Modernist blog post : http://www.eichlernetwork.com/blog/dave-weinstein/eichler%E2%80%99s-x-100-aims-national-register
Work on the garden restoration begins with demolition of the pool deck in the coming weeks. We are hoping to keep as much of the original material as possible to preserve the garden’s historic integrity, so the first step will be to carefully remove, clean, and number the pool coping pieces. The pool will likely be the most challenging part of the project; it has been updated twice during its nearly sixty year existence, with mixed results, but fortunately the basic form of the pool remains unchanged and the coping is original and intact. The nonstandard construction of the pool – very much in keeping the experimental spirit of the X100 project presents some technical and preservation challenges.
It started out as a kit pool from Delair, an innovative postwar company that marketed in-ground vinyl lined backyard pools to Baby Boom households. The X100 pool is an Esther Williams model, named for the move star and swimming icon whose extravagant water ballet movies were a fixture of mid-twentieth century pop culture. These vinyl lined in-ground kits were touted as an affordable alternative to concrete and plaster in-ground pools. If you look closely at the photos of the early X100 pool and also the image of Ms. Williams poolside in her garden you will see that there is no water line tile visible. The pool liner was attached directly under the coping.
This approach was not a commercial or technical success until it later morphed into the above ground ”doughboy” style pools that can still be found today. We won’t be returning to the vinyl liner, but we will maintain the size and figure eight layout designed by Doug and Maggie Baylis in 1957. We will post updates as progress is made.