Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Under destruction

Back on April 8, I noted that a neighboring property was for sale. The sign made no bones about its potential – the sign didn't say "Home for Sale," but "Lot for Sale."

Considering the McMonsters that have sprung up on the same block, I didn't hold out much hope that someone would buy the little frame bungalow to live in it.

Yesterday my suspicions were confirmed:
Ah, yes, the ubiquitous pre-scrape construction fencing. The rule here at least is that you have to preserve existing trees, so the fencing goes up to "protect" them (though who knows if they will survive the root damage).

Would you like to know what it sold for? $340,000. The rule I've heard is that spec builders won't buy unless they can triple their money. You do the math.

It is still possible that the result won't be a hideous behemoth duplex; there is one new house in the neighborhood that was just built by an architect for himself and his family that is modest in size, attractive and uses green materials. Check it out at Denver-Modern.

I'll keep an eye on this one and report back on its "progress."

P.S. I was tempted not to post today because I was so pleased with yesterday's dragonfly pictures. (I felt the same after posting the bee swarm at night – click the second photo to see it full-screen.) But life does go on.


  1. It's happened here in Boulder too. We live in a historic district, but "non-contributing structures" are vulnerable to pop-ups, scrape-offs and gut-outs. A cute little white ranch house 2 doors away has been gutted. There will be a new exension in the back. And the entire slightly sloping backyard has been trenched out to create a walk-out basement. They've killed trees, uprooted bushes and destroyed the lawn. It won't be finished for a few months.

  2. Yes, that's depressing. Happening all over California, too.

  3. Claire, does the new construction have to conform in any way to the neighborhood architecture? We have a few newer homes that at least tried to incorporate some Craftsman or Prairie elements, but most of them are these ugly boxes that look like they came from some generic Home Depot kit.

  4. Kathi, what amazes me is that it's still going on after years. You'd think city planners would have wised up to how much they detract from neighborhood character.

  5. What a shame! I hate the "tear down" philosophy. Unfortunately 'new' is not always better.

  6. Seems like too often the city planners must be more interested in tax revenue or something other than neighborhood.

    My husband grew up in a lovely Beaver Cleaver type neighborhood in a suburb of L.A. Big yards, reasonably-sized family homes, trees, really pretty. Now it's huge McMansions lot line to lot line. The house he grew up in was a modest 3BD 2BA ranch with huge pretty yard, now it's a big ugly place surrounded by concrete.

    Did you notice you pushed my button? Now, my 'burbs house is a tract house and not an old beauty, but no neighborhoods were destroyed to build it. When we bought our country house, we remodeled the inside and left the outside intact--no mcmansion!

  7. Do any of you know if the torn-down structure's components are being repurposed? I'm looking for old hardwood flooring, mullioned windows, moldings, and older fixtures and fittings.


  8. New is definitely not always better. A big house isn't necessarily bad, and probably whatever they build on that lot will be pretty fancy inside, but it likely will not match the prevailing architecture and feel of the neighborhood. And that's unfortunate. It takes away rather than adds.

    Dani, it looks like a lot of the stuff has been stripped from this house. I doubt you'd find anything useful in it.