MCM Rant and Plea

Home improvement Q&A, pictures and news fro Mid Century Modern Homes and Houses(NOT for Real Estate)

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post50modern
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MCM Rant and Plea

Postby post50modern » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:35 am

Ok..I just have just been talked out of purchasing a home in a small town in NC, because my partner feels it wiil not sell in the future because the house is "too different' and is the only one of its kind in the development of more traditional (boring) homes of the same well established era. So I have to explain why I want it. Below is my reasoning for wanting it and I INVITE ALL MCM fans to add to reasons that I may have left out or MUST include. I will present my case once again once I have some good responses from y'all. Only one pic, but you will get the idea..
Image
excuse typos as I wrote in a fit of passion. :-) I found a link to more pics:


Just about all walls a done in mahogany. The kitchen cabinets are solid birch with built ins galore including a hidden table the previous owner used for sewing.) all floors are parquet or carpeted and ALL tile and baths are original. Wall of windows and doors stretch across entire back of house which empties to a full length cantilivered deck. Pictures do not do it justice. All original appliances except for fridge and dishwasher. Over 3000 sq/ft of living space not including finished basement!
----------------------------

The appeal of a TRUE MCM like the one in Wilkes is that there are so few left. They will ALL become a collectors items and sought after whether they are in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Denver, Butte or Wilkesboro. They don't make them anymore. Period.

The house in Wilkes may be the ONLY one of it's kind in the whole county. Dosn't that make it pretty special?? You laugh, but this home in Wilkes will have more architectural and historical value than any home in Laurel Ridge or any other development popping up in Wilkes and Watuaga county.

The sad thing is is that most "modern" people do not give a crap about preserving ANY history let alone an old house designed in the 50's...The decade that had a remarkable influence on everything from family values to advant garde architecture. It was the decade of optimism and forward looking to the future which clearly shows in the design of most MCM homes. A feeling of weightlessness and open spaces where the outdoors became indoors and indoors became open spaces for clean living and clear minds. Ironically enough these homes perform better than most new homes in this frenzy and rush to live a wireless existence. No concrete walls or numerous sheet rock expanses to inhibit the free flowing nature of a wireless world. Just sheets of glass, open ceilings and partition divided rooms.

That is why I LOVE mid century modern. The real deal. Not a new one made to look like an old one. These homes can NEVER be replicated, not in design and not in materials used. There lies the beauty and attraction of these often overlooked and dismissed totally livable homes.
Last edited by post50modern on Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:57 am

here's a good reason why: because my jaw dropped when i saw the picture of the kitchen.

you know - we have had these discussions before about when the "significant other" doesn't get it - and the answer usually is you need a new partner. just kidding... kinda. so that's another good reason.
8-[

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Postby SoMo » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:58 am

Post50,

I think you said it well - the only thing I'd add to your arguement is that you are buying the house to enjoy and love and live in for (I'm assuming) a long time. Don't worry about the resale potential! If YOU see it's beauty and will take great care in keeping it up - and IF you chose to sell someday; I'm sure there will be like-minded people out there who will be just as interested in having a unique beauty as well.

Good luck in talking your partner into it! Let us know what happens.

Sara

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Postby post50modern » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:00 pm

Thanks!

keep em' coming. I need all the ammunition I can get. :-)

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Postby Miguel » Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:03 pm

My 2 cents:

Another good reason, is that this type of MCM architecture is appreciated the world over as being an uniquely regional American form of Modernism.
Not only there aren't many of these homes left in the US... there are not ANY homes like these in the WORLD....People in other countries would kill to get a hold of one of these homes, being the mid-century architectural gems that they are.

My opinion comes from being a citizen from the "old world"... I wouldn't be able to imagine demolishing a granite block walled home from the 16th century because is not energy efficient or because "it's different". It is part of history, and thus should be cherished. These homes are much more recent, but unique nonetheless. When they are neglected, these important pieces of American history are being lost. World heritage is being lost...

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Postby tg » Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:17 pm

My God, buy that house! I live in Raleigh and I can assure you that my wife and I were in severe competition with others like us to track down a contemporary ranch home that we could afford. As you well know, MCM homes are not a dime a dozen here in NC, and that makes the ones that are around extra special and highly desired by people who want a non-traditional home. No one can predict tastes in the future, nor can they predict whether or not a place Wilkesboro will experience unforseen, rapid growth. It's near the mountains, and lots of baby boomers are retiring there, so who knows? If you pass on a house that you really like, just because you may need/want to sell it in the future, you've settled for less and you'll always remember the MCM house you could've had while you a driving up to your run of the mill craftsman/colonial.

This whole notion of buying for resale value is crazy. You're going to live there now and in the future, and what is in demand today might not be tomorrow. Case in point--hardwood floors. Hot now, but not always. 10 years ago, real estate agents were suggesting wall to wall carpet on top of them.

Buy the house you want to live in. Life's too short and hectic to do anthing else. It's not like you are buying a house on top of an old landfill or next to a nuclear plan....

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Postby post50modern » Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:32 pm

wow! Insightful responses from everyone. Well I can tell you he refuses to live in a 50 year old house that "smells" like an old house with a flat roof....

he just does not get it. It is not so much that I a trying to sell him on something, but rather educate him on the merits of a mid century mod.

Please keep input coming as I have learned a thing or two based on each of your opinions. I just took it for granted that these home were everywhere in the world and not just largely an American style of architecture. Hmm...maybe I can appeal to his sense of patriotism? Uhh... probably not. :-)

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Postby MoneyPitModern » Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:16 pm


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buy it, you won't regret it

Postby BBTV » Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:32 pm


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Postby egads » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:48 pm


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Postby Connie » Sat Jul 15, 2006 4:36 am


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So....

Postby modfan » Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:43 am


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Postby MoneyPitModern » Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:55 am


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Postby Atomic Dixie » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:09 am

If you don't mind the comments of a MCM novice who's still learing about all this....

One approach might be to explain that many of these houses are just becoming eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (the criteria is an age of 50 years; thus, those built in 1956 become eligible this year). Maybe you could even plan on seeking historic register status for that house if/when it is old enough. If not the national register, a state or local preservation organization might give it a local historic landmark designation. Some state and local preservationists are becoming interested in MCM....

On this thread:
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic ... ght=#36729
I posted some links to photos and commentary on MCM homes in and around Charlotte (not all that close to Wilkesboro, I know, but still an indicator of interest in MCM homes in your section of the country). These particular homes (and other MCM architecture) were surveyed by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Historic Landmarks Commission.

Of course, if your partner wouldn't like living in a house with an official "historic building" designation, forget that particular reasoning, and just go with awesome design elements of the style, and show how some are incorporated into that house. Introduce some background stuff showing the "pedigree," you might say, of MCM houses -- the architects: Wright, Neutra, Rudolph, Twitchell, etc. -- and George Matsumoto, University of North Carolina:
http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/exhibits/matsumoto/
(You might also research to see if a noted North Carolina MCM architect designed the house; some of them are identified in the links referenced above.)

Then, a lay a few few glimpses of some of the more breathtaking examples of MCM on him -- Farnsworth, Stahl, etc.,

And finally, examples of existing 1950s modern homes -- whole neighborhoods of them -- some re-muddled, but many still showing their wonderful MCM elements as they were intended: Lortondale in Tulsa; , Arapahoe Acres in Colorado; , Memorial Bend and Glenbrook Valley in Texas, Northcrest in Georgia. (LL has links to them, or just Google them.) And for the awesome MCMs of the west coast, just sit him down in front of Lotta Livin's photo gallery.

I don't know if all this might be "overkill" and cause him to dig in his heels, so to speak, but it will illustrate that interest in MCM architecture (including residences) is growing rapidly. Just in the few months I've been a "fan," the amount of information about it on the internet has exploded. There's bound to be something in all that to convince your partner what a fantastic opportunity y'all have in that house....

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Postby Chimay » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:55 am

I think that your best bet is to get a few books to show to your partner what these homes are about and what they look like in their proper context to help him understand. Here are a few books that I'd recommend, because they include lots of beautiful color and B&W photographs (including many by Julius Shulman) that illustrate both the homes as they looked when they were built and how they've been restored today:

Modernism Rediscovered
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/3822864153/ll-20

Modernism Reborn
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789305356/ll-20

Living Modern
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0811833593/ll-20

Eichler Homes: Design for Living
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0811808467/ll-20

This should help your partner to understand. Also, try to take tours of modern homes in your area, if there are any of note open to the public.

Good luck!
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House pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N ... 387250721/

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Postby Miguel » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:39 am


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Postby roxy500 » Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:51 am

Show him this and say, "This could be US!!"

Image

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Postby Joe » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:08 am

post50modern, your partner is just ignorant. this argument was used when these homes were built. today, Modern homes, most of which were designed by architects unlike the mcmansion crap, sell quite well, even in North Carolina. get some books, educate your partner.

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Postby CapitalMod » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:16 am

Buy the house. Sell the partner. :wink:

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Postby Chimay » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:52 am

I don't understand your partner's point, because I'm not sure why homes like this wouldn't be appreciated in North Carolina as much as anywhere else. There are plenty of modern homes in that state - both mid-century and new. In fact, the first Dwell Home was buit there, and a company called Wieler Homes is developing a whole neighborhood of houses in Chatham County designed by the famed architect Ralph Rapson, based on variations on his Greenbelt Home (Case Study #4):

Image
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House pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N ... 387250721/

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Postby post50modern » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:33 pm

I want to thank you all for your replies. Every one of you had a compelling reason to go for it! I should qualify things by saying my partner is not against modern design. He is against living in an old home of modern design. We have tossed the idea around of building a new home as we have some property in the Blue Ridge Mountains with cool views, private location..blah..blah...blah..and have butted heads about how our modern home should look.

I like flat roofs. He likes a pitched roof. I like celestory windows he doesn't. I like a one level home, he likes a multi-level home. The list goes on.

All that being said and after reading all of your posts we have decided to build new but with a modern aesthetic. Trust me..I'll do well with it. :-) The home below is one that we ACTUALLY BOTH LOVE! Imagine that...

We have started a dialogue with the architect, Joel Sherman and if all goes well we will have our own "Steel Tree House" adapted to our land lot (if we don't wring each other's necks before it is completed.:D. It's not an "in the flesh MCM" but I think it screams of MCM influence. It is located in Lake Tahoe and built on a steep mountain lot very similar to ours.
Image
Image
Image
Image

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I was wondering

Postby modfan » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:52 pm

How does a flat roof work in a snowy place like Lake Tahoe (or any other severe/snowy weather location)?
Is there studier than normal framing, unique roof covering, heating elements in the roof?

BTW that is a cool house in the pic.

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Postby post50modern » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:07 pm

The house is constructed with steel girders which allow for a more than usual heavy load on the roof. The roof is not completely flat but has such a low pitch it looks flat. Below is a quote from a writer who showcased the home in Architectural Record. You can view the complete article here:


"Due to the harsh winters, another major consideration during the design process was the roof. The majority of the surrounding residences use a steep-pitched roof to achieve the rustic cabin sensibility and to ease the problem of snow loads. Sherman, however, opted for a Modern, flat alternative. Stal Tre Hus's roof can resolve the required 300-pound-per-square-foot snow load and, as Sherman points out, “the snow ends up creating great insulation."

The home satisfies both of our wants with regard to design. I am STILL keeping my eye on the MCM that this post was about. I love it!

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Postby MoneyPitModern » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:58 pm

Very cool house design, and it looks like a good compromise between partners. Are you sure you can't find a good owner for the older MCM house you were thinking of buying?

An interesting footnote on flat roofs and snow. When I bought my 1955 steel and brick house with its flat roof, the purchase was on an '"as-is" basis, so I hired a very experienced structural engineer to check it out. I told him I was concerned about the flat roof retaining snow and overloading the structure, and he said not to worry.

According to his experience, at least in windy northern Illinois, the snow blows across a flat roof, and off the structure. He said that most roof failures in this climate result from intersecting gables on a steeply pitched roof, allowing snow to blow over to the leeward side of the roof and accumulate in deep drifts in the valleys.

As my house survived the late 1970s Chicago blizzards, with the resulting extraordinary snow accumulations, he's probably right. I had 37,000 pounds of stone ballast removed when reroofing, so the structural strength required to support that weight was freed up to handle snow, too.

Given the milder NC winters, you shouldn't have to worry too much.

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Postby SDR » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:57 pm

What a great-looking house ! I think you two will be OK after all. . .

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Postby bitzala » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:23 pm


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Postby moderns-r-us » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:43 am


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price of new construction...

Postby post50modern » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:55 am


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Postby CapitalMod » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:29 am

Nice choices. There are a bunch of similiar designs down the road from me. They are built on a slope that descends into Rock Creek Park so they, like yours, bring the outside in.

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Postby SoMo » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:18 am

What a wonderful compromise! I had just logged on specifically to check your thread to see if you'd convinced your partner on the MCM. Looks like you are still getting those wonderful clean lines, flat roofs and gorgeous views you were hoping for.
I'm like you; I'd be keeping my eye on that MCM too - if only to see that it lands in proper hands.
Good luck to you.


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