Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Some Charlotte Houses (Broadband Needed)

  1. #1
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713

    Some Charlotte Houses (Broadband Needed)

    If it’s suburban living you’re after, then Charlotte’s for you. Here you can pick up a really fine house for what will seem to you, if you’re from Westchester or Marin, a song.

    The new subdivisions are the usual “transitional” crap, bristling with gables and aesthetic malapropisms; but the inner, originally working class streetcar suburbs from the Teens, and the upper class auto suburbs of the Twenties, set a high standard.

    This is emulated, if not always met, by new construction. That new inner-suburb construction features the replacement of nice, small houses by much bigger, architect-designed mansions aspirant.

    Here’s a random variety of big and small houses, plain and fancy, without comment:































































































































    Two of the houses date back to the Nineteenth Century. Can you identify them?

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    11,036
    nice comfortable early suburbia.

    I live in an area with a similar typology and vintage. Though, a bit denser, I would guess.

    This is the only type of suburbia I can handle. Once you get into solidly 1950/1960s platted subdivisions, I get very bored and unhappy.

    Were some of those houses new(er)? Some of the French Provincial and large Arts & Crafts look too "fresh".
    Last edited by mendelman; 27 Apr 2005 at 9:24 AM.

  3. #3
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Right, Mendelman. There's an upmarket homebuilder who has built a handsome business buying starter and mid-size houses in great neighborhoods. He then demolishes these perfectly good houses and replaces them with blockbusters of twice (or more) the square footage.

    Neo-Craftsman's all the rage in Charlotte; I've done my share. The originals arrived by train from Sears in crates.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    near the edge
    Posts
    2,008
    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Neo-Craftsman's all the rage in Charlotte; I've done my share. The originals arrived by train from Sears in crates.
    Some builders are doing it alot better then others. I hate seening nicely done craftsmen style homes setting on at grade slabs.

  5. #5
         
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    3,519
    Great pics...beautiful homes...we have some very similar structures here in St. Charles...little more dense however...the yards were what made the biggest difference between here and there...we don't have as many older buildings with large lush yards like that...
    which structures dated back to the 19th Century? If I were guessing I would say the 4th house, the 11th house or the 52nd pic (the house with the standing seam metal roof)...which ones are they???

  6. #6
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Jaxspra, you got #11; the other one is #37, moved to its present location in the 20th Century.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    at Babies R Us or Home Depot
    Posts
    1,260
    I didn't always pay attention in KU's Arch. History class. Can someone point out a 'craftman's style' house. Thanks.

  8. #8

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Really nice houses. Heck, I even like the chilly modern "tower" The neighborhoods remind me a bit of my own neighborhood (although I live in a modern cotnractor-built townhouse).

    Why are the first generation suburban houses so much nicer? Zoning, alone cannot be the reason. Even "style" per se can't explain the quality of these homes. Bigger lots for less cost? Architectural education? Cheaper prices for real materials? A more educated clientele? Cheap labor? Smaller, more handicraft scale of the building industry?

  9. #9
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    11,036
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Why are the first generation suburban houses so much nicer?...Architectural education? Cheaper prices for real materials? A more educated clientele? Cheap labor? Smaller, more handicraft scale of the building industry?
    Definitley the latter ones you mention.

    The biggest factors are probably architectural education and cost of quality labor/constructin materials

  10. #10
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    I didn't always pay attention in KU's Arch. History class. Can someone point out a 'craftman's style' house. Thanks.

    north omaha star, these are the Craftsman Houses: Numbers 1, 2, 23, 25, 40, 42 (Neo-Craftsman), 45, 47, 50 (Neo), 52.

    Craftsman Style, also known as Bungaloid, was the prevalent style in working class neighborhoods throughout the South and Midwest during the 1920's and extending into the Depression, with which it is often associated. Hence its extreme unpopularity until the current decade; for half a century it was associated with poverty, and Craftsman neighborhoods were often slums.

    Bungaloid houses featured prominently in the Sears catalogs of the Twenties. For $492 and up, you could buy a complete kit that included everything needed to build the house, from the structure, floors and wiring to the kitchen sink. Your house kit arrived on the train, from which trucks would convey it to your building lot and the army of eager workmen you had gathered to assemble it.

    A Craftsman house with bells and whistles:



    And a bit more plain vanilla:





    Craftsman houses invariably featured a prominent front porch to suit the lifestyle of its working class clientele. The columns that supported a Bungaloid house could be
    skinny:



    or fat:



    Either way, these columns weren't aristocratic classical columns with entasis and fancy detailing; they were instead assembled from straight boards by your craftsman. He would sometimes improvise contributions of his own, as in the case of the fat-columned example above.

    Other hallmarks of the style were broad overhangs, fairly modest roof pitches, and the exposed ends of rafters. Clearly the influence on these houses was Japanese, via the Art Nouveau architects, Greene and Greene --and especially Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie House. The name "Bungaloid" derives from the mandatory porch, as in the case of a right pukka Indian bungalow.

  11. #11
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Really nice houses. Heck, I even like the chilly modern "tower" The neighborhoods remind me a bit of my own neighborhood (although I live in a modern cotnractor-built townhouse).
    Yeah, me too. I sometimes go out of my way to drive by and ogle this house; it looks even better in the flesh. Oddly enough, it was selected along with the yellow Victorian as one of Charlotte's most beautiful houses by Charlotte Magazine. I heartily concur; I bet almost everyone who sees it feels he has to hate it. It's one of an extremely small number of modern houses in Charlotte.

    Once gain I lament that the modern house never caught on; along with flashy monuments, it might ultimately be Modernism's only positive contribution.

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Why are the first generation suburban houses so much nicer? Zoning, alone cannot be the reason. Even "style" per se can't explain the quality of these homes. Bigger lots for less cost? Architectural education? Cheaper prices for real materials? A more educated clientele? Cheap labor? Smaller, more handicraft scale of the building industry?
    Architectural education: architects used to be taught styles other than Modernism, so they were able to practice them competently.

    A more educated clientele: more educated than the rubes who buy the misshapen monsters in the subdivisions, but you'd be surprised how good the taste is of the people who live in these classy inner suburbs. When they ask for an addition to one of their snazzy Twenties houses, it's done full tilt with copper flashing and downspouts, real slate, fine woodwork, cast stone balustrades, the works. Check the photos; several show brand new, gleaming red copper flashing.

    Cheap labor: people who knew how to do something always commanded an OK wage; there were more such people then, but the supply is increasing these days. You'd be surprised at the skill of some of these guys working on the inner suburb Charlotte houses.

    Small scale building industry: the best work is still done by small operations. I know a guy who does such primo work he hardly needs detail drawings; the work always comes out just the way it would have in the Twenties. He cares. But he also charges! The nice thing is people in these houses are willing to pay; they're surrounded by so much good example.

    Can't blame zoning for this one. Given the premise of a house sitting in the middle of alot (the suburban condition), nothing has changed since the Twenties.

  12. #12

    One thing has changed

    I think one thing that has changed is the relationship to the car. If you look at these houses the most prominent feature is the front door, or porch. Even though people were driving to these houses in the 30's, there was probably only one car and there was still the notion that the garage was to the side or in the back. My parents house is from the 1930s and they never use their front door. I notice many people enter their houses through the back door.

    I think house layouts, like stores and public buildings from the 1950s on, have dispensed with the ceremony and organize themselves around the auto. That creates some ugly houses and some ugly commercial streets. I cringe when I see new neighborhoods with garage after garage as the prime element one sees from the street. I think there are some towns where it is impossible to get to a store w/o walking through a parking lot. That's my $.02, but I acknowledge it's also about architectural education and valueing square footage over quality.

  13. #13
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Quote Originally posted by Eyes on the Street
    I think one thing that has changed is the relationship to the car. If you look at these houses the most prominent feature is the front door, or porch. Even though people were driving to these houses in the 30's, there was probably only one car and there was still the notion that the garage was to the side or in the back. My parents house is from the 1930s and they never use their front door. I notice many people enter their houses through the back door.

    I think house layouts, like stores and public buildings from the 1950s on, have dispensed with the ceremony and organize themselves around the auto. That creates some ugly houses and some ugly commercial streets. I cringe when I see new neighborhoods with garage after garage as the prime element one sees from the street. I think there are some towns where it is impossible to get to a store w/o walking through a parking lot. That's my $.02, but I acknowledge it's also about architectural education and valueing square footage over quality.
    An encouraging sign in these older inner-Charlotte suburbs is the re-emergence of the carriage drive, which restores the front door as primary access. Many homeowners leave their Range Rovers and Jaguars sitting out front in the carriageway. This turns out to be quite decorative, yields a feeling of habitation and activity, and enhances the experience of entering the house through once again the grand foyer.

  14. #14

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Quote Originally posted by Eyes on the Street
    I think one thing that has changed is the relationship to the car. If you look at these houses the most prominent feature is the front door, or porch. Even though people were driving to these houses in the 30's, there was probably only one car and there was still the notion that the garage was to the side or in the back. My parents house is from the 1930s and they never use their front door. I notice many people enter their houses through the back door.

    I think house layouts, like stores and public buildings from the 1950s on, have dispensed with the ceremony and organize themselves around the auto. That creates some ugly houses and some ugly commercial streets. I cringe when I see new neighborhoods with garage after garage as the prime element one sees from the street. I think there are some towns where it is impossible to get to a store w/o walking through a parking lot. That's my $.02, but I acknowledge it's also about architectural education and valueing square footage over quality.
    I think you are bringing up a very good point-the prominence of the garage.

    One particularly awful local example (Northern California) is located in our poshest Gated Community. There is a rather nice wooden Georgian house which actually has good proportions and detailing (the issue of whether a Georgian house is a match for Northern California is another issue). The house is completely ruined because the owner not only tacked a large two or three car garage onto the harmonious, balanced, symetrical "box" that is the glory of Georgian architecture, he then, in order to ge absolutely the most square footage possible for his family of two or three (just guessing here ) adds a second story box above the garage wing. It looks AWFUL!

    ablarc: You can see similar emphasis on quality infill and remodelling in older inner suburbs like the North Berkeley Hills and much of Marin County.

    Off-topic:
    Now, the huge "burn zone" in the Oakland Hills (the 1990 Oakland Fire) saw a lot of gaudy, obnoxious houses (I got my insurance settlement, how much space can I cram onto my tiny hillside lot!!!!!!)? (There are a few absolute gems of modern houses, too, but a lot of gaudy developeresque McMansions

  15. #15
         
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    3,519
    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Jaxspra, you got #11; the other one is #37, moved to its present location in the 20th Century.
    Uh-oh, I am slippin!! I almost thought #37.There is a house here that looks VERY similar to #37 and I know it is a new home, I ws figuring that too was a replica. There is another house in a ciy I used to work for that looks exactly like that one and it too is a newer home. Without being able to see it in person its hard to tell. Again, what great pictures, I love them!!

  16. #16

    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    1,548
    Very nice pics. Just like Mendelman, the type of area you show is my preference for suburban living, only a little more dense.

    I never would have guessed that Craftsman homes would be popular in Charlotte; I usually associate them with the West Coast and the Midwest, and not the South.

  17. #17
          ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Jaxspra, I see where you're coming from on House 52 (standing seam, two-level porch); those slender columns look a lot like they're cast iron, as in a forward-looking house from about 1850, influenced by Labrouste (think Old Louisiana Capitol).

    In the 1940's there was a brief revival of interest in extremely slender columns; that's when this house made its appearance. The one just before it (#51) is another example.

    In this post, the large, fanciful houses in historical-revival styles are all from Myers Park, a largish suburb laid out in the Twenties by the Olmsted Brothers.

    The smaller, working class houses, including the Craftsman examples, plus the yellow Victorian and the white Modernist tower are from the streetcar suburb of Plaza-Midwood. Though the square footage of these houses is much smaller, their selling price per square foot is about the same (or sometimes even more) than that of the obviously upper middle class residences. This is because Plaza-Midwood's a bohemian-friendly neighborhood; and this fact, plus the small houses, perfectly fits the needs of gay, two-income couples. This has bid the house prices hereabouts into territory that in Charlotte is regarded as the Stratosphere.
    Last edited by ablarc; 28 Apr 2005 at 12:20 PM.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 7
    Last post: 01 Sep 2008, 9:50 AM
  2. Charlotte, NC
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 35
    Last post: 06 Feb 2007, 9:14 AM
  3. Replies: 8
    Last post: 28 Jan 2006, 2:30 AM
  4. Replies: 11
    Last post: 07 Jul 2005, 8:32 PM
  5. houses built around houses
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 06 Jan 2004, 11:07 AM