Researching House in Auburn, WA

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CyclingCoach
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Researching House in Auburn, WA

Postby CyclingCoach » Fri Jan 30, 2004 7:45 am

Researching my house in Auburn, WA. Trying to find out the designer, builder or architect. Can't find anything in public records. Built 1950. Website of house at : http://home.earthlink.net/~luthahmalcontent/

Nothing fancy, just an 1800 sq. ft. house, but I am obsessed with it and want to learn more about it. Anybody who knows who may have been building similar homes in this area , etc...... Anything.

Michael
Last edited by CyclingCoach on Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Michael

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Postby L.A.kevin » Fri Jan 30, 2004 8:36 am

Hey Coach, nice house!

I noticed you have what looks like an Ikea jounalist shelf system. I have one and was wondering if you were able to use the cross braces, that is if in fact is a journalist shelf.

I really love the lighting in your place. I'm envious! Does your place have radiant slab floor heating?

About finding your architect, in your search of public records, have you searching building permits?

Kevin

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Postby Joe » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:56 am

Way to go, CyclingCoach! Joe in Oregon, here.

What wonderful original condition it must be in. Do you have radiant floor heat?

Check with your city and county building departments regarding building permit history.

That is an advanced design for 1950. More typical in the mid-late 50s. It reminds me of A. Quincy Jones' work in Crestwood Hills (1948-49), or his work for Hvistendaul in San Diego and Glendale 1950. It's more typical of California modernism than NW modernism by Paul Hayden Kirk or Pietro Bellushi.

I love the fact the sconces are still in place! Ceiling fans need to go, though. LOVE the redwood walls. Good modular design! I am shocked the natual concrete block wall have not been painted! You are luckY.

Check with Tom Holst at www.seattlemodern.com. He is a realtor and knows the area.

Please keep us updated. I am restoring a 1955 Cliff May home in Eugene.

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Jan 30, 2004 1:21 pm

nothing fancy? what a beautiful home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

seems like there is a Seattle Modernist group starting up... maybe someone there might be able to help? they just had a meeting this month - I read about them on the Dwell board. If you find them keep us posted here on their activities.

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Postby Joe » Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:58 pm

CyclingCoach: are there other homes in your neighborhood like yours?

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Postby CyclingCoach » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:08 pm

My house has forced air heat which is routed thru the slab floor. All the duct work was in before the pour. It has real funky registers(must be original) in the floor and a few wall registers.
The IKEA Journalist shelves in my house pictures use the cross braces but only 1 in 3 actually fit. Had to go to IKEA with a tape measure to get good ones. Quality control was out to lunch that day. But the price was right and I do like the design.
Have tried building dept. for info. Only a 3x5 card saying it was built. I did get a 11x14 B&W photo (mugshot) from state archives from 1951. Exterior looks exactly the same except for landscaping. Even looked at local newspapers from the period
There are a few similar houses in the neighborhood but spread out.
Hope that answers all questions so far.
Michael

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Postby Joe » Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:35 pm

I'll check my archives (old architecture and building magazines) for something. Nice find. How much square footage? Any floor plans?

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Postby CyclingCoach » Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:41 pm

Its between 1750 and 1800 sq. ft. L-shaped, 4 bedroom, 2 bath (one a master) kitchen and livingroom/dining area. With a small workshop off the carport which also has half its wall made of glass.
Michael

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Postby googieagog » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:02 am

Nothing special? Your house is great!

I too hit dead ends researching county building records for my place, also built in 1950. Try talking to old timers in the neighborhood. That's the way I found out pretty much the whole history of my house, including the architect/builder, remodelings and even the color schemes used over the years. Try knocking on doors of the scattered similar houses near yours. You may hit paydirt and find an original owner. Happy hunting.

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Or another avenue, altho kinda tedious....

Postby modfan » Mon Feb 02, 2004 8:13 am

Go to the library and look up the fiches of the old newspaper real estate sections and see if there are any ads, that might give you a clue.

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Postby CyclingCoach » Mon Feb 02, 2004 1:06 pm

Thanks for the kind words on my house everybody.

I found a floorplan in state archives. I put it on my website, bottom of page.
http://home.earthlink.net/~luthahmalcontent/

Hoping this may help narrow it down.
Michael

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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 02, 2004 1:33 pm

who's Carl Wilson (no, not the Beach Boys)? First owner? Architect? I see there was other writing on the photo. Names?

Did the state archives have any names associated with the plan or pic?

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Postby CyclingCoach » Mon Feb 02, 2004 2:17 pm

Carl Nilson 1st add to Auburn. I believe he was the original land owner. No records of the developer or builder.
Michael

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Postby nichols » Mon Feb 02, 2004 4:47 pm

What archive specifically did you look in to acquire the 'mug shot' and the plan?

I'll check the 1956 AIA directory for your town and see if anybody is listed.

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Postby CyclingCoach » Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:34 pm

The house was built in 1950-1951

The Puget Sound Regional Archives are at :
http://www.secstate.wa.gov/archives/

That's where I ordered a copy of the photo. Actually they had the negative.
Michael

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It looks very Eichleresque

Postby modfan » Tue Feb 03, 2004 7:41 am

What kind of HVAC system does it have? And are there dbl pane or sgl pane windows? Snow is an occasional occcurence (at least when my folks lived in Renton), how does that low pitch roof hold up? Are your utility bills outrageous. I know some folks with SF Bay Eichlers with the radiant heat system rant about how cold their homes can get and the big utility bills they get in the winter months.

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Postby CyclingCoach » Tue Feb 03, 2004 12:46 pm

Michael

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Postby mlagirl80 » Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:19 pm

wow!! that place is HOT!!! what an amazing find... :clap: well done!.... i used to live in ithaca, ny (upstate) and the city building department had a file of "mugshots" exactly like yours, don't remember if they had negatives also, probably somewhere, they actually would let you look through them unsupervised, arranged by street and address in file drawers, they were taken around '47 and '48, there must have been some idea wave by cities in the country to take pictures of homes to document them around that time so it's possible that other cities did the same... i used to do research for friends who were buying property and wondered what the house used to look like, or what used to be on that lot back at that time... it was cool to look at the houses my other friends and i lived in also... it was pretty amazing and couldn't believe somebody actually had come up with such a grand idea!!... you're lucky to have one of your place... keep digging!... you'll find more... knocking on doors is a great idea googieagog!

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Postby Alaska Lisa » Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:49 pm


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Possible Closure?

Postby CyclingCoach » Wed Mar 24, 2004 8:45 pm

I am meeting with the former mayor of Auburn next week and hope to get more info on my house. I'm running out of leads and really hope this pans out.
Michael

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Postby CyclingCoach » Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:38 pm

Michael

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Postby CyclingCoach » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:46 am

Last edited by CyclingCoach on Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Michael

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Postby morbank » Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:35 pm

I really don't know much about the history of MCM homes or architects, but wouldn't a duct system in slab be a rare occurence....especially in 1951? Didn't Eichler not even do that until the late 60s or early 70s? Maybe it was more popular than I thought. If it was a rare occurence then maybe you could find a few architects/builders who were using that technique specifically in the 1950s...

....BTW, how are the interest rates in your area? It's such a lovely house; no chance in owning both and renting it out? I wish I did that with our first house we bought in 98 and sold in 01---now it's worth triple!!! he he (but not really that funny)

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Underslab Ductwork

Postby moderns-r-us » Mon Dec 13, 2004 7:51 pm

Ductwork in the slab was not that uncommon as slab on grade construction gained considerable popularity after the WWII. This was especially true in climates less mild than Eichler territory. Eichler probably began doing underslab ductwok at that point so that he could add air conditioning

The local Kansas City modern builder, Don Drummond used underslab ductwork starting in the early 50s.

Unfortunately he began using a product called Sonoduct made by the makers of sonotubes in the mid-fifties (Think of the spiral rolled cardboard tubes used for concrete forms).

This product has proved to be problematic for several reasons.

The product absorbs moisture from the ground and then adds humidity to a house with tons of uninsulated glass. This may cause extreme condensation problems.

Over time the cardboard ductwork has disolved causing slabs to crack, or worse, callapse.

In some cases the ductwok collapsed during the pouring of the slab permanantly closing the ductwok either partially or completely.

If termites get in this product you will never get rid of them.
Imagine using pesticides in your ductwork.

I was recently contacted by a owner with the worst problem that I have heard of yet with these ducts. A well meaning plumber was hired to snake an underslab sewer line and somehow cracked the pipe. This has caused the line to leak raw waste under the slab which then soaked into the adjacent pourous ductwork. You can imagine the nightmare that this has caused.

In Drummond's defense, he was using a product that was thought to be of high quality and was highly promoted in the trade Journals.

Today underslab ductwork is often done with a special PVC pipe. When I do this I make sure that the pipe has a constant reverse pitch so that it will drain back to a dry sump in the mechanical room if any water makes it into the ducts.

Today, I personally would not use PVC for myself as I have concerns about PVC relative to air quality.

I would like to say that in many cases underslab ductwork has been used with great success. I was just pointing out the specific drawbacks of this particular product in case somebody runs into problems of their own.
Last edited by moderns-r-us on Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Wa Wa

Postby SDR » Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:49 pm

Michael -- enjoyed the photos of your house when I first saw them. Hope you find the right buyer -- it's a special place.

You'll let us see your new one when you're ready, won't you?

Regards SDR

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ducts, pipes, cables

Postby SDR » Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:04 pm

Let's see -- office buildings are sometimes built with raised, removable square floor modules, supported on corner pylons above the slab, so that services are accessible where needed. Could a house be built around such a system? Would it be cost-effective? What sizes are available?

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Postby CyclingCoach » Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:28 pm

I'll post pics of the new home probably next spring. It needs some TLC as it has been subject to some bad updates. I'm excited to get started. The house is a Northwest post and beam and has some great views.
I did get spoiled with the completeness of our current home. Trying to find light fixtures and bathroom vanities for the new one has been trying.
I'm not looking to spend a fortune or build a palace, just want something clean and simple. We'll see.
Glad there are others who share my love of older Modern homes. Most of my relatives and friends think its Brady Bunch. Though now people are noticing the style and some of my furniture in TV commercials. Go figure.
Michael

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Postby moderns-r-us » Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:54 am

CyclingCoach:

Loved your home before. Still love it today.

I realizied after posting yesterday that my slightly off topic rant might be considered by some as some sort of critique of your house or its HVAC system. That was not my intent. I only wanted to alert. others to the potential pitfalls of this particular duct system that was commonly used during the period.

I look forward to you posting new pictures of your new home and good luck with the improvements. :D


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