Monday, November 29, 2010
Dream Homes Remade!
Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman
I've been pretty hard on the Dream Homes on this blog and elsewhere, going so far as to say I wouldn't mind one bit if they were torn down all at once. That being said, demolition of existing housing stock is quite wasteful from an environmental standard. (If any readers know of studies like this that have been done since the housing bust led to an increase in demolitions, I'd be happy to see those.) So if we can find a way to transform some of these houses into positive contributions to our neighborhood - and without demolishing them - then I'm all for it.
That's where Alissa Luepke Pier, an (award-winning!) architect who lives in Hawthorne comes into play. She called me up and said she's been working with Urban Homeworks on some redesigns of Dream Homes and other Koenig vinyl boxes. The house shown above is at 2515 Irving Ave N, and other homes will hopefully be similarly redone. Note the porch that extends across the front, and the detailing of the windows and the woodwork, as well as the bump out given to the bay window. There's not much to be done for the side windows, and the house won't appeal to everyone, but what house does?
I was also shown redrawn floor plans, and space has been made for laundry, tools, and other home maintenance items. Property owners of these places won't be dependent on a property manager to be able to come along and mow the lawn or do other basic upkeep.
On top of wanting to avoid waste as much as possible, I'm also a big fan of transformative symbols. And how great would it be if we transformed these homes into recognizable signs of progress? I'd love to bring people into NoMi, point to houses that look like this, and be able to say, "This house was built by one of the worst predatory investors our neighborhood has seen, but look at it now!" Urban Homeworks and Alissa Luepke Pier accomplished something I didn't think was possible; they've got me excited about Dream Homes.