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Photos: ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ author Eddie Huang pays $2 million for California Eichler

Eddie Huang, the renaissance man whose “Fresh Off the Boat” memoir inspired the hit TV series of the same name, has dropped $1.965 million on an Eichler home in Orange.

The off-market deal, confirmed through county records, tops the previous Southern California sales record for a home by the postwar developer by $115,000.

Architectural duo Bob Anshen and Steve Allen designed the house that was built in 1960 on a large corner lot in Fairhaven, one of the city’s three close-knit, family-oriented Eichler neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places. It has 2,028 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a central atrium and offers more living space than other high-dollar Eichlers.

Previous record-setters include a twin gable Eichler in the Fairhills enclave. Spanning just shy of 2,000 square feet, the house with five bedrooms and two bathrooms sold for $1.85 million in April. It exceeded the $1.801 million going price of another well-preserved model, a four-bedroom, 1,734-square-foot home with two bathrooms that sold in December. It’s located in the same neighborhood as Huang’s new home.

Property records show the house previously changed hands for $1.225 million in April 2020.

That family had been contemplating a move when listing agent Kelly Laule of Better Living SoCal said she got a call from the buyer’s agent, Sam Plouchart of Sotheby’s International Realty. He inquired if she had any Eichler homes about to come on the market.

“I told him, here’s the deal: I have clients that are looking for a house, but unless they can stay in their house for up to 5 months, they don’t want to sell because they want to find the right house,” she said, recalling the conversation by phone. “It was great how we were able to put this together for both of our clients.”

The house comes move-in ready for Huang, the 40-year-old restaurateur, “Huang’s World” travel show host and author now turned filmmaker behind the 2021 coming-of-age film “Boogie” about a Chinese-American basketball player. Since 2016, the home has seen significant improvements from all new baseboards and flooring to a renovated kitchen and bathrooms. There are solid doors, new skylights and ceramic film on all west-facing windows.

Dark charcoal paint covers the floor-to-ceiling cinder block fireplace in the open-plan living area, where the dining half of the room features original Philippine mahogany wall panels.

Also original are the glass walls that connect the indoor spaces to the entertainer’s backyard with tall shrubs and a wood fence for privacy.

A saltwater swimming pool and spa, an ipe deck with a fire pit and a barbecue island fill the backyard.

Other updates include a 240-volt electric vehicle charger in the garage, tankless water heaters, a 5-ton air conditioner, and a foam roof that makes a 10-degree difference in these houses.

“This house is made for the modern day,” Laule said.

But because its facade retains mid-century characteristics, the house qualifies for savings on property taxes through the Mills Act.

When asked if the price of owning an Eichler will continue to climb going forward, Laule doesn’t hesitate.

“I always felt that these houses were insanely undervalued,” she said. “These homes should have some of the highest prices in Orange County. Where else do you find stuff like this?”

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