2 with potential

awm03June 8, 2012

Every now & then I like to check in on real estate in the ol' home town. Even though I haven't lived there in 40 years, I still remember so many beautiful homes: great four squares on Main St., some cool contemporaries in the newer, posh sections, & lots of interesting bungalows from various time periods. My parents would be puzzled when I would ask if we could detour through certain neighborhoods. Even as a small child, beautiful homes -- old or modern -- captured my fancy.

Here's a 50s modern with potential:

midcentury ranch

And does anybody want to go in with me to buy this fabulous prairie-style house? Just kidding. But isn't it a beauty?

Prairie Style Four Square

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They both have potential.

I really like the cabinet style in the ranch kitchen.

It's funny that the FLW house is so modern, yet the inside had been decorated and tricked out in all sorts of "old timey" stuff that Frank would've abhorred. That house would probably need an actual change in footprint for the kitchen. He was not very generous with his kitchen spaces.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I love the ranch house. How can I not love an indoor swimming pool with a fireplace? I would just lighten it up love it. I'm with pal re the kitchen cabinets -- very nice.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:20AM
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I like that ranch's kitchen too, pal. Wouldn't change it. As for the prairie four square (?), yes, the Victoriana should go. The woodwork doesn't looks especially prairie style and appears to have been pickled to lighten it up (at least downstairs), but still provides good bones to work with. I'd remodel the kitchen & breakfast area into one long eat-in kitchen: quarter sawn oak cabs, hex tile floor, unpolished brass fixtures -- you know the look.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 9:23AM
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I enjoyed viewing both of these. A few things struck me as funny during the video tours.

The ranch house tour opened like the old Pong video game - it panned right, hit the wall, panned left, hit the wall, panned right again. It's a bit scary that they don't show any more of the guest house and tell you right out it's as is, the owner won't be fixing anything. Hmm, how bad could it be?

The FLW place:
If the house is so 'Magnificent!', then why does it need a realtor and video? Don't the really great places go by word of mouth?

The DR has 'lots of character' - it looks like a very basic room, it's the overwhelming furniture that has character.

The master BR 'plenty of seating' - are you expecting a crowd in there?

One of the bathrooms has 'lots of personality' - real estate speak for the owners have made some very odd choices in this room.

They certainly weren't wall paper shy. I recently struggled to take down a powder room amount of wall paper and it was a bear. I can't imagine how hard it will be to strip all those walls. I bet it will look great once that's done or even redone with different paper.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 9:56AM
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I'm usually a sucker for anything FLW, whether prairie, 4-square, or bungalow. But this one is so ghastly on the inside, I don't think I could get past the furnishings and the wallpaper. The outside looks like an office building.

But did really like the ranch. The elements inside really caught my attention. Maybe not all the wood paneling, but love the ceilings, fireplaces, and kitchen. Oh, and the pool wasn't bad either.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:13AM
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"Don't the really great places go by word of mouth? "
The area is rural & somewhat depressed, so I don't think there are many with the $$$ or the architectural sensitivity to be interested in this house for its own style. They're there, just not a lot of them. I have a fear whoever buys this will just see it as a nice old house & will try to cute it up with more Victorian kitsch -- and a paint job & shutters on the windows :(

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:35AM
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A number of Frank Lloyd Wright houses were built for middle class people in middle class neighborhoods. There was one in the back of Old House Journal or This Old House in Gary, Indiana that was going to be demolished if someone didn't "save" it. Not everything he built was Fallingwater, and he went through some periods of unpopularity as well. This house is a nice example of a period house that is a bit stripped down and modern for it's time (under all the doodads).

Not every commission a firm takes on is a masterpiece. Horace Trumbauer's firm, who designed Stotesbury, also designed a small lean-to vestibule on the building I live in that was a glorified mudroom. Frank Furness's oeuvre includes 2-stall garages.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I'm pretty sure the second house isn't a true FLW, just Prairie Style, a common influence throughout the Midwest (the prairie!).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:05PM
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How could something so Wright turn out to be so wrong...

Somebody should shoot the wallpaper salesman.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I didn't mean sell by W-O-M because it was a FLW.

I was just thinking about some of the stories I read, including here, about someone loving a house from afar and telling the owner if you ever sell call me first. The choice of the word 'magnificent!' is what hit me. If it truly is 'magnificent!', I guess I'm surprised there wasn't someone lurking and just dying to get their hands on it before a realtor was hired.

I found the real estate descriptions amusing, I wasn't knocking the house or questioning it's value or authenticity.

If only one of 'us' would buy it so we could have hours of pleasure helping and consulting as they made it their own. :-)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:17PM
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I don't think they could say it without some documentation, they don't even hedge with "attributed".

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:20PM
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I think the real estate agency made the mistake of calling it an FLW when it meant FLW-style. The interior doesn't have any FLW touches, and the fenestration isn't FLW, and the home isn't listed among his works. I'm betting it's just a nice example of Prairie Style (at least on the exterior) which was popular in the Midwest in its day. I remember some nice Craftsman-style bungalows in my town too. That style struck a chord as well.

I'm heading back there in a couple of weeks & hope to take lots of pictures. There have been articles in the local paper about the housing stock getting dilapidated, to the point where the town government is alarmed about it. Sorry to see these little gems go.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:50PM
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For each house, I was struck by the mismatch between the furnishings and the house. What would seem right? For the MCM, I assume MCM furnishings - but what about the awful carpets? And for the FLW I am even less sure. What would you do after removing the wall papers?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I agree, the kitchen in the MCM is really good! An indoor pool would be amazing. The BR's need some work like ripping out carpet and wallpaer, but that's not too bad.

Wow, if this is really FLW for $219K, that's amazing. The house needs a lot more work than the MCM. The bathroom window and cabinets really do look like FLW. I would leave those as is for sure.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:31PM
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