Vernacular Modern Time Capsule

palimpsestFebruary 12, 2013

For sale through Prudential Fox Roach, a house designed by David Rowland 1964-65 and lived in until now by the original owners.

It has been emptied out pretty much, and the Realtor's stretchy camera was both unnecessary and distorts the large rooms, but the volumes of the rooms are nice.

It has a sliding door in the backsplash; move over Mick deGiulio

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Wow, that is fantastic. What is the blue on the ground in the sun room (lanai)? The kitchen looks great and the glass is stunning. I like the bathroom cabinet too. The arches are great, a little unexpected, to me anyway.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:46AM
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Looking at this brings back a mixed bag of memories for me, pleasant memories my mother and what a savvy business woman she was but also of what a poor judge of character. She once sold a family more than 150 acres of land (property adjacent to our home). The man had more money than he needed, and had married a very young, pretty, formerly Swedish student who had worked on and maybe had earned her master's with FLWright at Falling Waters-West.
She designed and they built a house very similar to this house but much larger, with a large library, a formal living room, a large music room, with a grand piano in the center and on either side of the music room the whole property could be viewed, including the lakes and pools. They had TV rooms and play rooms for the children (and rarely did the TVs work). Their large kitchen was fully equipped with dishwashers (yes,1940s and 1950s) and air conditioning that rarely worked, but they had a full house of children wanting to play with their indulged children and they learned quickly that in the south mosquitoes and snakes are attracted to the large expanses of water on either side, and the constant opening and closing of doors and the coming's and going's of the children led to frequent air conditioner freeze-up. The large arched windows which were the full length of approximately 300-ft long house, looked onto the pool on one side and onto the lake on the other, and property was fully equipped with fishing/boating lake, tennis court, 2 swimming pools, small living quarters for the domestic help and a play area including play houses and merry-go-rounds, etc., for the children. I think she learned soon that her domestic help would not acquiesce to indentured servitude, and in fact, she was so abusive of others, no one would work for her.
Thank you for sharing that. It brought back great memories of the nice man and children and my mother, but some pretty acid memories of the lady of that house which property was adjacent to our home. It was indeed beautiful, just as is your depicted house.
I like wondering what the home owners are in each instance when a house is quite elegant or grandiose for its time, and I wonder if these owners were anything like the lady of my long-ago past.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:51AM
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I don't think the people who built in the area at this time had much of a sense of entitlement. They would have been pioneering more than anything else. You can see in the upper photo that the block is slightly cleaner looking and one house had restored windows. The house in the OP was probably getting ready to break ground around this time.

Here is the block three to seven years prior to the completion of the house:

As a lot of houses in the sixties the design may be a bit diminished by the relative lack of materials choices and some cheap finishes like some of the interior doors.

The blue covered area is a lap pool.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Seven years After the house was complete the end of the block still looked like this:

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:50AM
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I like certain details like how the windows are set in embrasures large enough to "contain" the window treatments.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I'm impressed that they designed and built this house themselves without the professional involvement of an architect, designer or engineer; hence, vernacular.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:21AM
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I thought vernacular meant it worked in respose to its environment, not that it was done without the use of professionals.
It is beautiful. The windows and use of light amaze me! So much nicer than the house built a few years later that I grew up in:(

This post was edited by roarah on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 10:38

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:34AM
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You know, I've always said that I don't mind if the furnishings of a home aren't in keeping with its architectural style, but in this case, there's quite a jarring disconnect. There's much to like about this house, though, particularly the amount of natural light in the rooms, excellent for an urban dwelling. On the other hand, I'm not seeing any vents. Does this house have central heat and air?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Of course they didn't. I am using the definition on the sense that while the house is modern, there are attributes based upon local materials and traditions since it was placed in a neighborhood of 18th century houses.

I'm impressed that you pop up to criticize the imprecise use of terminology on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:34AM
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I especially like the banquette next to the fireplace.

And the sun room.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Vernacular architecture is a category of architecture based on localized needs and construction materials, and reflecting local traditions. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural, technological, and historical context in which it exists. It usually means, by definition "owner built".

The part of the definition that I am Not using is the literal meaning of "owner built" --although the owners did custom build it as designed by an architect to meet their needs and the needs of the site and the local environment. They didn't do it with their own hands--that I know of.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I agree that the furniture looks really "off" in this house. I have the feeling it's mostly been "stripped" and the remaining furniture is either for practical use, or to show the general scale of the rooms. It looks like the leftovers that the homeowners or their kids did not want, for the most part.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Thank you for the true definition. I always thought it was just indigenous to an area. I love learning new things!
I do not find most of the furnishings to be jarring and I thought it worked well in its environment. It reminds me of many of my college professors' homes, I call it acedemic sophistication:). I admit to not liking the bed room with the twin beds pushed together. That room does feel off to me but it might also be the photography.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:16AM
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And it can be yours for $1.2 million

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:17AM
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I don't find the furniture to be jarring either. I love the spaciousness. I love the stained glass window and the banquette, what a wonderful place to read!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:23AM
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I'll take it. And I think realtors should be ethically barred from using both stretchy cameras and photoshop.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:42AM
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I love the house!--thanks for posting this, Pal.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:25PM
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The stained glass is a wonderful surprise. I'd love to get my hands on that place.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:00PM
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The architect referenced the radius arch of the 18th-century fanlight, the cambered arch of the dormers, privy passages, and of later buildings nearby, and the 'colonnade' of repeated openings of the shambles of the nearby Headhouse.

$1.2M is probably pretty reasonable for this house. It is probably considered a house that "needs to be updated" because of the original kitchen and baths. :-/

Same street and time when house was being built:

The Headhouse, restored right before the house was built

This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 14:06

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Thank you Palimpsest,

When you post I learn, almost without exception. This house seems to me like a successful blending of styles - primarily modern but with the arched embrasures (a new word for me), which I would guess are a different style, but make the house welcoming from outside.

I hope the new owners don't change much except the furnishings. Like other posters, I like it very much as is.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Fori is not pleased

Maybe it's because I'm a product of the public school systems, but I don't like it.

Is that a lap pool in the sunroom? I kinda like that.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Gorgeous, especially the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:55PM
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It's hard to believe that's what that Society Hill/Headhouse Square block of Delancey looked like back then. What a difference a few/several decades make!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:14PM
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"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -neither more nor less."
Don't play Humpty Dumpty, and I will not have to play Alice.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Not understanding the issue with the definition:

1 a : using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language
b : of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country
c : of, relating to, or being the normal spoken form of a language

2: applied to a plant or animal in the common native speech as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification

3: of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group; especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place

Am I missing something?

Here is a link that might be useful: Definition of vernacular

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:10AM
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By the classic definition if an architect is involved and the house is not constructed by the occupants or nonprofessionals, the house cannot be vernacular.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Good grief. I'm reminded of the matter of "outsider art." Nice untrained man from the countryside paints whimsical figures on barnboard = outsider art. Kid who attended art school and was classically trained paints whimsical figures on barnboard = contrived poseur.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:07PM
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I can't relate to it. I don't know if it's the style of the home itself, the furnishings, or that it seems to lack a feeling of warmth. It's a personal 'thing', but I don't care for large, almost vacant(lack of furniture)spaces. If there were more furniture or larger pieces of furniture, it might be more appealing IMO. If the owners love it, that's all that really matters anyway. I do like the 'atrium like' area w/walkway and greenery~is the blue area a covered lap pool?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:10PM
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I think the house has mostly been stripped of it's contents. I am not sure but it might show better without furnishings in this case. But it's hard to see how big some of the rooms are without some furnishings for scale.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:44PM
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