Last September, Jordan reported a house theft on 43rd, between Wallingford and Burke, and we have good news: a new and improved house has replaced the missing one!
If you look at the comments from last year’s post, you can read responses from both the architect and the owner, as well as kerrizor’s promise to, upon completion of the house, leave a jar of jam at the front door. Can we have confirmation that this did, in fact, happen?
Congratulations to the owners on their beautiful, new home!
(“Before” photo from Google Street View)
It might be nicer inside, but the new house lacks a neighborly sitting front porch like the old one had, and in general has a rather closed-off street face. At least the garage door is small and unobtrusive–that’s a good design choice.
I look at this every day whenever I leave my house. It’s a lovely improvement.
I agree with fruitbat, the facade is rather flat and unwelcoming, but it’s not a town home and there was some effort to align with the look of the surrounding older houses – so yay and stuff.
We looked at this house when we were purchasing – the inside and yard were bizarre and not very functional. Looks like a very nice improvement.
There is so much I would like to say……..
Strawberry and Fig jam from local “Wallyfigs” left with a note last week, actually.
I love this house! Congratulations.
I think architects should be required to put their name on their work.
I like the boulder.
Strawberry and fig jam…mmmm…
Didn’t get any jam maybe our porch is too big:)
Stoop, barely a stoop.
Hmmm. I thought this was a ‘green’ home. Now I’m wondering why GRASS was the total landscape feature??
Sorry… but in photo, at least, the facade looks like 3 ideas without unification, the only architectural match to the neighborhood being the entryway, which looks under-sized, out of place (design-wise), and misplaced (too close to the home edge). But that, alas — at least in photo — is the only part that holds appeal for me. I imagine it’s a vast improvement indoors, from comments here.
The facade could have easily been improved to help it fit in and enhance the neighborhood. City code does not help by requiring so much setback for the garage. But I am sure the house is a huge improvement energy-wise, for the interior living space.
@kerrizor I’m calling you when I finally buy a house one of these days. 😉
Free jam for everyone!
…actually, maybe I should do something like that – I’ve been canning for years, and I /was/ the recipient of a jar of the AMAZING Wallyhood brand honey.. hmmm…
@11 – awww! I worried it might grow legs and wander off. I’ll try to remember to drop off another jar sometime soon.
Tearing down a house and replacing it is never more efficient than retrofitting existing dwellings. Not when you factor in the materials spent, used, created, discarded, and wasted. Not that all old things should be kept, but the idea of new is always better and more efficient is false.
@ 19. You are so right! Nothing should change. Ever. The status quo is always better.
Is that true Claudia (@19)? I see what you are getting at: this house required demolition and disposal of the old wood, and then a bigger house was constructed in its place using fresh materials that required carbon emissions to produce. But if the old house was very leaky, then I think the energy savings from better insulation and so forth could easily make up the difference over time. For example, I lived in an old farmhouse in Vermont for a couple of years that burned $400-600 worth of oil every month during the winter, even though we kept it at 58 degrees. It was a structure that probably needed to come down, sad as it is to say (I loved that house).
This house has pretty small windows and is fairly square; it doesn’t sound like it meets Passive House standards but I imagine it is still less leaky than the structure it replaced. I also saw it in person a few days ago and although it is bigger than one that I would pick for my family, it does fit in with the other houses on the street pretty well.
The new house is 45% more efficient than the old structure. But that misses the bigger point. The majority of folks who have commented so far prefered the old house. We need to think seriously about how to address this problem. Otherwise, people will continue to move into the neighborhood and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on remodeling or replacing homes that should be lovingly preserved in their current state. I’ve heard that in newer residential developments they have architectural review committees that have to approve any new house or work that changes the exterior. Maybe we can get something like that going here. Who’s with me?
The exterior of the previous home had a charming character, an inviting sized front porch, some landscaping of trees and shrubs that softened the house, and a balanced design and size that did not encroach on neighbors privacy, or overpower the small yard; it fit in the neighborhood. The new house seems to lack these characteristics but I fear that may be the wave of the future.
In the photo of just the vacant lot, you can see the neighbor’s fence in the back and the large Magnolia tree to the right. The owners of the new house chose to build a back yard elevated deck that is over 12 feet deep and house-wide. It extends from the house to within one foot of that fence and looks over into the neighbor’s back yard and bedroom windows. The owners might have considered building a 10-foot deep deck, with a privacy screen/sound barrier planted along the fence that would have provided privacy for them and also enabled the neighbors to continue to have theirs. Conversations can easily be heard now when their deck is in use and privacy is a thing of the past.
Although the owners only cut (not pruned) a few of the branches on the large Magnolia tree, some of them were the ones that provided partial privacy for the neighbors for at least 6 months of the year when the Magnolia tree has leaves. A concrete slab was poured and a mini basketball court was installed at the very far end of their narrow strip of property that extends behind the lots to the south. The distance from their house probably muffles the basketball noise.
It is easy for people who only see the front of a new house to judge it from just that angle. It is easy for owners to also think that since it was built to meet their needs, it is an improvement for the entire neighborhood. It is quite a different story for those whose lovely, previously private backyard retreat has sustained a major intrusion.
I hope this feedback of the new house will aid others who are thinking of remodeling or building a house of their own. With houses as close to each other as they are in our neighborhood, it is even more important to consider noise and privacy issues. Please remember to think of how your building decisions may negatively impact your immediate neighbors.
[email protected]: IT: the deck, the opened-up living space that acts like a bullhorn amphitheater for inside and outside conversations, rearranged foliage, intrusive sight lines, etc., is the gift from hell that keeps on giving wherever it happens. I can imagine so many considerate outcomes, alternatives that I wish were the new trend instead of Me Here Now.
@23 and @24, Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! This is why no one should be issued a building permit until they take their plans to every neighbor. The building code just doesn’t go far enough. What can be done to address this problem?
A couple of years ago, there was a megahouse built in the next block from my home. My nextdoor neighbor’s lovely view of the Cascades is now completely obliterated by this monster. When he asked the owner about it, they apparently never even thought this might be a problem. What? How could you not??
@26. OMG! The same thing totally happened to me too. Our neighbors painted their house blue. I hate blue! It reminds me of a bad experience I had in Cub Scouts. But did they even bother to ask? No! I used to think that Wallingfordites were considerate of other peoples’ feelings. I’m now having second thoughts.
Are you people for real? Are you neighbours of mine? That you have to hide behind a cloak of secrecy to be hurtful and mean? I see a family who want to live in the neighbourhood, have made a real effort to build a house that fits the original footprint, style and feel of the area. I also see other people who have nothing better to do than think up ridiculously stupid things to say. I am ashamed!
@28 Mary: My comment in 24. was not aimed at the house in this story. (I guess I am finally used to lots of comments being hurtful and mean on most blogs and I should have spoken to that aspect as well.) I was hoping for a larger, long-overdue discussion of how some simple courtesy and putting one’s self in your neighbor’s situation could do a lot for the good of the Wallingford order. Having lived through a nearby Me Here Now construction over a decade ago I can tell you that the hurts and shocks (and cash out of pocket for remedies) last a long long time.
Mary, when you put forth a story like this one, you’ve got to expect these comments. It’s the one opportunity most people have to make their feelings known. I see by the way you spell “neighbourhood” that perhaps you are Canadian (or English or…?) and not used to this sort of commentary in your native land. I’m wondering if the person who posted this story did so on purpose knowing that it would garner this sort of response. When you look at all the lovely homes in Wallingford and then you see this house, surely you understand what all the kerfuffle’s about?
I agree with you whole-heartedly. I’ve been quietly seething while reading these comments for the past week.
Thanks for writing what I’ve been thinking. Wallyhood is a great community resource, but I have come to see that it can also be a forum by which we can alienate, criticize and divide neighbors.
@30, As the original author of the post, I can honestly say that “no” it wasn’t written on purpose to garner negativity. The idea was to follow up on an original post from last September (House Thief!) and show the new home (which, I admire).
@30, Lisa are you the same person with the constructive addition to the conversation in comment #14? I take offense by your suggestion that only somebody that’s not of this “native land” would be surprised by this sort of commentary.
I hate to call you out specifically, but this isn’t the first time that these type of unhelpful pot-shots are taken at content posted on this site. You can pretty much guarantee that there will be negative (unhelpful) postings regarding any new building/business that’s going on in the ‘hood… to the point where I actively try to avoid reading any comments for fear of despising residents I pass on the street who may be posting to this site.
This obviously isn’t an issue restricted to this web-site. I find comments on the Seattle Times equally horrible for example, but wallyhood comments seem so much more personal to me… knowing that we rub shoulders on a daily basis while going about our days in our cozy neighborhood streets.
Yep, “anon”, that’s me. And why should you take offense? Canadians (or any other place where they spell “neighborhood” with a “u”) are known to be more polite and nice and perhaps less verbally confrontational than Americans as a whole, so you should take it as a compliment. And don’t worry about calling me out specifically. I don’t take offense. After all, I did post part of my name, as opposed to “anon” (my neighbors know who I am). But if you feel uncomfortable “rubbing shoulders” every day on our streets here in Wallingford with people that you don’t agree with and “…despise…”, perhaps you know of another neighborhood where every single resident is in perfect agreement and have achieved a perfect harmony? Sounds like the village of Stepford! There seem to be enough comments pro and con to satisfy everyone on both sides. My personal opinion on the design of this house was “blech”; others deem it an admirable feat of design and welcome addition to their neighborhood. I was an architecture student at one time and when I see something like this which surely cost a significant amount of money, I’m sad for the lost opportunity to design something more attractive and unique. Wallingford has some fab architecture, both vintage and contemporary and this particular house, at least to me, didn’t seem to have any curb appeal. But, you can’t please everyone, as is evidenced by this healthy discourse. And it sounds like you get pretty riled up by these posts and the ones in the S.T., as you say you actively try to avoid reading them. Seems like you could save yourself a lot of distress by just avoiding them altogether. And that has nothing to do with your being a native or not. You’re apparently a Wallingfordian now and we come in all colors, sizes, shapes and opinions.
It’s a big, square box with no aesthetic appeal whatsoever & nothing to recommend it architecturally. There are no plantings in the front to soften this harsh exterior & it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the neighborhood at all. And it’s too close for comfort to the adjoining houses. It must be fun for the neighbors to be so close now that they can hear everything the residents do or say. Maybe they don’t appreciate having privacy, but I’ll bet the folks on either side & in the back would like to have some cushion (trees, hedges, etc.) to muffle noise & allow privacy.
This whole thing goes from the sublime to the ridiculous – am I English or Canadian because I spell neighbourhood with a u? Are Canadians nicer? Is it a big square box? GET LIVES!!!! Dancer… perhaps the owners have spent all of the money they have on the home, and next year they will have some nicer “plantings in the front to soften this harsh exterior… etc” I think this blog should be shut down because you are all out of control.