Eichler Living — with building Lab

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If you’ve been seeing a lot of building Lab work here this year, it’s because Stephen Shoup and his team have been on a tear – lots of amazing projects, and the recognition that comes with doing fantastic work.

This project is, in many ways, the epitome of what Stephen is all about. A Joseph Eichler home in California’s Marin County, this structure has seen extensive work but still feels 100% authentic. We shot this house over the course of two and a half days in November and created a set of photos I’m quite proud of.


The famous Eichler breezeway. This sort of covered “pre” entry is an Eichler trademark and makes it hard to say where the house itself really begins or ends.



Nestled in against the foothills of Mt. Tamalpais, the house seems completely appropriate to its environment.



Inside, the same clean lines prevail. Just as the wood-slat fence provides warmth and color outside, the walnut paneling warms and softens the interior.


The big Nelson lamp over the dining room table becomes a pivot point, visible from many perspectives around and outside the house.



The kitchen has a feature I’d never encountered before — impossibly thin paperboard countertops. These look and feel like soapstone or ground granite, but are about 5/16ths inch thick.




The house is built around this central “core” of kitchen space, with large panels of glass on two sides and Stephen’s trademark walnut paneling on the inside.


Eichler homes are, in many ways, rear-facing. It’s typical for them to have few if any windows in front, while the back features floor-to-ceiling glass and large doors. “Bringing the outside in” is the phrase you’ll hear every time.





This project was truly a pleasure to photograph, and we were sorry to see it end. Indeed, I kept shooting for almost an extra hour after we’d wrapped on the last “official” shot — I kept finding new compositions that I knew would keep me awake later if I didn’t shoot them.

I’ll leave you with a few behind-the-scenes photos.


Alan is rarely at a loss for words, but I don’t think he quite knew what to do in this situation….


How could we not shoot some 4×5 in an Eichler?


The gear depot, morning of Day 2.


The final shot of the weekend. This was not on the list, but it was so obvious as we stood there with our post-shoot beers that I just had to do it.


I exposed 9 sheets of Ektar 100 in two days…a record for me!


We did lots of subtractive lighting on this shoot.


7 responses to “Eichler Living — with building Lab

  1. Beautiful, beautiful work and the architect’s isn’t bad either. See you in Boston.

  2. Great work Scott, gotta say the entry shot with the crotch rocket in the foreground is perfect on so many levels.

    • Craig, that’s one of my faves for sure. I love the way the rear end of the bike sort of reflects the shape of the covered breezeway. it was not really a conscious, deliberate choice…I think this was a case where my subconscious was really steering the ship.

  3. Antonio Chagin

    Excellent work Scott.

  4. I want to develop a subconscious like yours if I can start creating photos like that 🙂

    You came up in conversation today between myself and a veteran photographer here in Raleigh. I was saying how I follow your blog religiously and how much you’ve influenced my work. He mentioned that you had to have done HDR to get some of the shots you’re getting. I was saying you have pasted some windows here and there but none that I know of in true HDR. Can you answer without giving away secrets?

    Your work is amazing. HDR or not, to me your photos have a certain look and feel about them and look so authentic. I’ve been in real estate for 13 years but with only 1 year of photography. I feel that if I saw your work posted somewhere, I probably would say “That looks like Scott’s work”.

    A distant admirer who hopes to meet you or have you do a workshop seminar in Raleigh. Let me know. I know a lot of good agents in town. I’m sure I can arrange for a couple of nice homes for your workshop.
    Happy Holidays!!!!
    Sam Ogranaja

    • Sam,
      Thanks for the nice words. I think maybe your friend is not old enough to remember that photography has been around for much, much longer than Photoshop has!
      I have no secrets! I don’t do HDR, or anything remotely connected to it. I’ve been known to blend in a separate exposure for a window, but that’s a pretty rare occurrence…I can only remember doing it twice this year.
      Come to my Atlanta workshop and I’ll show you in person!