Sunday, October 05, 2014

Why I Panic

Here is the reason why I panic anytime a smaller house goes up for sale near me.

Notice the scale of these houses compared to those surrounding it. What I wasn't able to capture in the photos is that these houses run solidly all the way back on the lot. There is virtually no yard. Any light their neighbors once had shining through windows or in their back yard is gone once one of these goes up.

I suppose I should be relived that these developers have finally figured out this neighborhood is 1920 (bungalows and tudors) and they have moved on from their fake Victorians to at least the right era of design.

Again, who buys this?

Fake craftsman. Towers over the rest of the block. I wish I could have taken this photo straight on.

There are two tear down replacement houses side by side here on the right. This photo doesn't really capture their footprint. This entire block is overshadowed by these houses. They run all the way back on the lot. It makes me laugh a little because they are mere feet from each other. I suspect their windows look directly in each other.

The two tear down houses you see dwarf two smaller vintage houses that have the misfortune of being located between them. You can't hardly see the smaller engulfed houses because these new houses are pulled closer to the curb to get more footage back.

Fake craftsman in all of it's vinyl glory.

A box. Totally devoid of any style. Pure square footage.

Catch the house to the left - the little green one there. It's about the same size as the house down the block from me that I was worried about. The one on the right is just a little larger. I also love these developers' idea of "craftsman".

A side view. They build them to cover ever inch of the lot solid back to the alley.

As this one was completed, the adorable, little, vintage house next door to it put up a "for sale" sign (just off the photo to the right). The house that was torn down to put up this plain jane was an cute two story with a double dormer.

My nomination for the ugliest tear down replacement house. And what is up with that pine? It is currently for sale. Any takers?

By far one of the worst example. This picture doesn't do justice to the disproportion. If you look down this block sideways all you can see if the roof of this house and trees. The garage is equally monstrous.
Or why not just add a second floor? Tudor? What tudor?


Reuben Collins said...

I don't think I feel as strongly about teardowns as you do. There aren't many in my neighborhood (near Portland & Minnehaha Parkway), but there was one right across the alley from me. I don't mind the houses being taller. I can't really take exception to a 2 story house in pretty much any setting, but I don't love the way they fill the whole lot, and I don't love when they have an attached garage when every other house has a detached garage.

I think the real concern for me is that it's just so hit-and-miss. Some of the teardowns I actually really like, though others are terrible. In some of the pics in this post, I don't think the houses are half-bad. The first, third, and fourth pictures look pretty good to me. The seventh picture is truly terrible.

StuccoHouse said...

Reuben - I should clarify. If some of these houses were going up on empty lots (for example, in North Mpls where there are still lots left empty after the tornadoes a few years ago, or a house that had burned down, or a new development in the burbs)I'd have much less of an issue. Some of these houses would be fine (although some are hideous anywhere).

The thing that bothers me is that perfectly good small houses (just like the one featured in my earlier post) are being torn down to build a new house. A new house with vastly more square footage.

People decide they want to live in a charming neighborhood, but they don't want an old house. They want a new one that looks old. Slowly, the thing that gave that neighborhood charm is gone and in it's place a bunch of fake "old" houses that are packed in there like sardines. People like me that work hard to restore and maintain their old houses look like dopes.

I can't even drive through neighborhoods like Linden Hills, the older parts of Edina, and Uptown anymore. What has happened there is tragic.

Fargo said...

I live in Beverly (south side of Chicago), which has many beautiful older homes. I'm grateful that the teardown phenomenon has not plagued our neighborhood to the degree is has in many neighborhoods north and northwest of downtown. There's a really horrific replacement house a few blocks from ours. My husband and I call it the bunker. we are grateful that we don't have to look at it every day, because it's so ugly. No redeeming architectural value whatsoever. There are other replacement houses that aren't nearly as awful. Rehab projects are much more common near us, and we're very grateful for that.

StuccoHouse said...

Fargo - You are very lucky! There are a few neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul that have been virtually taken over by mammoth tear downs. At a point, the block flips from vintage to McMansion and then it is just a matter of time until the remaining houses go up for sale.

It totally snuck up on me in my neighborhood. I had assumed that the neighborhood wasn't trendy enough and the lots were too small. I was wrong. I suspect that is how it happens in a lot of starts to happen and before people realize it and can do anything, there is no going back. The Bunker is a perfect description for a lot of them!

Ainsley said...

The same thing is starting to happen in our neighbourhood. My husband and I live in an older neighbourhood in Winnipeg, Canada. The houses that are being torn down are not even in terrible shape.

Some of the new homes are built with respect to the style of the neighbourhood but many are not. Many are giant stucco boxes with no apparent thought put into the outside architecture. We like to call them Marshmallow houses.

I will never understand how someone could tear down a cute little bungalow to replace it with a huge stucco monstrosity.

StuccoHouse said...

Ainsley - I feel your pain. The houses in my neighborhood are relatively small, however there are parts of my city where they are tearing down $500k+ vintage houses to put up new and bigger.

I like that....Marshmallow houses.

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