Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recent Sale of a "Green Home" in Lexington's Five Fields

1 Stonewall Road, Lexington. Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

A common problem for would-be buyers and fans of modern architecture in the Boston area is the paucity of available newly built homes with a modernist sensibility. And when one is located, the price is usually quite high, generally above even higher-end colonial (or, being nice, "eclectic" style) spec homes. Or perhaps the location is somewhat compromised, maybe a subdivided lot somewhere near a highway or in a run-down neighborhood, as available building lots in the 128 belt have mostly been scooped up so that all are left are "tear-downs." If a buyer is lucky, he might stumble across a custom-built modernist home that has had only one owner that needs to relocate.

There is quite a good inventory of mid-range, older homes, even some that creep into the upper price ranges. This page is filled with listings we have marketed and sold that fit this bill. But for someone who does not or can not afford the time and energy -- or the stress of dealing with potential unknowns -- and therefore wants something newly constructed, choices are severely limited. Now, if that same buyer wants an architecturally consistent, or even simpatico neighborhood, well, good luck with that, amigo! Architecturally significant mid-century-modern neighborhoods like Five Fields, Moon Hill, Peacock Farm, Brown's Wood, and Snake Hill were all built, as the term would suggest, way back in the mid-century. Generally, all the lots were sold off and developed.

I was faced with such a dilemma when some buyer clients came to me looking for such a house, at a reasonable price (another relative term, I know). They were ostensibly open to exploring a variety of towns, but as with many people, the town of Lexington made the most sense in terms of location, schools, and town services and amenities. I showed them a few options, including a few choice specimens in some of the aforementioned neighborhoods, but those were older and needed TLC. With their extremely busy schedules, they simply did not have the time for it. So ultimately, the choice was reduced rather quickly to one house, in Five Fields.

"Five Fields? you ask. "Why, Bill, didn't you just spend a few paragraphs long-windily explaining the lack of new construction in 5F and other such MCM areas?"

Yes, dear reader, this very factor, for these buyers, was the primary selling point of this house. By the time they came to me, I was already aware of this new "green" home going up on the bend of Stonewall Road and Barberry Road. Within the past year, the lot beside it on Barberry had been subdivided to allow for this buildable lot, albeit one with strict limitations due to relative proximity to wetlands. Included in these were typical setbacks, limits to landscaping, and a rule that required it to be slab-on-grade, no basement. It was on the market for $1.35 million.

At the time of our first visit, the house was nearing the end of construction but had not yet been ready for broker previews. So I had not yet been inside. We arranged a visit and we all fell in love with the layout, the light, and the siting. Given the thrust of the marketing materials, it seems the main selling point and inspiration for the house was its super green properties and state-of-the-art, LEED-certified construction techniques, materials, and systems. This was certainly all a fantastic bonus to my clients, who were, as I say, primarily motivated by location and style. The fact that the house was highly insulated (R43), with a geothermal HVAC system, with no- VOC finishes, and a lovely, low-impact landscaping plan was all gravy. You can read many of the details here.

We negotiated the price down to $1.29 million. The neighborhoods of Five Fields and Moon Hill (read about them at my history page, here at, and other links on the right of this page) support such a value. Buyers regularly buy modest-sized houses here for $800,000+ and spend hundreds of thousands to renovate them. From the time I began real estate marketing and consulting in 2001, the demand has dramatically increased for these authentic neighborhoods with a true sense of community (common recreation land and swimming pools) and an appreciation for pioneering modern architecture. The turnover when I started over 10 years ago was snail's-pace slow. Many of the original owners were still living in houses that had been built in the 1950s. Many others had seen only one or two sets of buyers over 50 years. So when a house becomes available at a reasonable price, buyers generally pounce. And the past few years has seen a bit more become available. But still, the rarity of a sub-divided lot with a new house that fits the philosophy of the original neighborhood plan -- in fact, pushing it into the future -- was a rare opportunity indeed.

It would be encouraging to see more local builders (I gather they are more common on the West Coast) willing to break out of the "safe" traditional styles taken from plan books or web sites and take more risks, perhaps smaller, more stylish, and efficient homes like this one, which will cost relative pennies compared to mcmansions with tons of wasted space. But hey, until my money is on the line, I guess my opinion isn't worth much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Postmodern Gingerbread House

You ever get the feeling that someone is making fun of you? I get the feeling the creators of this ad have read this blog and others like it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sale/Listing updates

Please note the following updates on some of the houses listed in below posts:

Stubbins House, 149 Old Country Rd., Lincoln -- Closed and sold for $850,000. Had been listed at $799,000

7 Moon Hill Rd., Lexington -- Under contract first week. Due to close in February 2011.

19 Demar Rd., Lexington -- Under contract; due to close end of December 2010.

2 Old Conant Rd., Lincoln -- Great Deck House in Lincoln at a very good price, $769,000. Still available.

Groton Deck House - Please note that we are not listing this property. Sellers have asked that we advertise it in case we have any interested readers who would be our buyer clients. House is still available.

Buyers/lookers: I have seen a few stunning mid-century-mod homes in the area recently that are not listed with us. If you're interested in working with a buyer's agent, feel free to contact me at for more information.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lincoln Renovation

Our friend, Kathryn Corbin, was the designer on this project. I had visited the house in its "before" state and was astounded at my visit after the top-to-bottom renovation. It is a breathtaking home in Lincoln. Read more here, in New England Home Magazine

Gropius (and Breuer!) on the South Shore

This is a bit old now, but worth posting here. The rarity of modernism on the New England waterfront, except perhaps in the Wellfleet/Truro area, makes this Gropius/Breuer house in Cohasset of particular interest. Read the article here, in Dwell.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lincoln Deck House Listing

We are very happy to be back listing another modern house in Lincoln, if for no other reason than to have all our friends from Friends of Modern Architecture/Lincoln (FoMA) come and visit us.

Just up the road from Valley Pond, 2 Old Conant Road is a 1973 Deck House beautifully sited on a wooded lot not far from the juncture of Conant and Old Conant Roads. With the soaring architectural lines and abundant natural light associated with Deck House, the open floor plan flows room living to dining room to kitchen. Cozy up to the fireplace with a hot toddy and enjoy views of pines from each window. Five bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a family/rec room on walk-out lower level. Custom cabinetry; hardwood floors; skylights; gas cooktop; huge garage/barn; and an expansive deck (naturally!) However, as photographer and Deck House resident, David Travers points out, "the name derives from the tongue-and-groove cedar or Douglas Fir decking used on the ceiling/roof/floor construction that basically ties the house together, not really from the almost ever-present outdoor decks."

(Browser allowing, click any image to enlarge)

(See below for more information on Deck House and the neighborhood)

Offered for $769,000. Open house 12:30-2 pm Sunday, November 14. Contact us at for more information.

5 bedrooms

2 full baths

2583 square feet of living area

Heated by oil-fired hot water baseboard heat.

Private water and septic (Title V in hand)

80,131 s.f. lot (1.83 acres)

Gas cooktop (propane fired)

Wall ovens

Laundry room

Family room in walk-out lower level

Full deck off of the main living area, accessed by sliders

Large garage/barn with additional storage.

Recent updates: newer roof and skylights; updates air conditioning and heating.

The Neighborhood

There are two main approaches to 2 Old Conant. One is to go pass the classic Dairy Joy stand with unparalleled ice cream and fried foods (be still -- if not healthy -- my heart!) on Rt. 117 and then to take a right up Conant, passing by the pastoral Valley Pond on the left. The other option is to come in from the north, via Trapelo Road, up Laurel Hill to Conant, passing through farms, meadows, and other architectural gems along the way. There, at the juncture of Conant and Old Conant Roads, set back along a long private driveway, is 2 Old Conant.

The house is surrounded by other Deck Houses and modernist homes, within sight of the stunning International-style modernist house that Earl Flansburgh built for himself and his family. Those alt-rocker friends of mine might recognize the surname shared with Earl's son, John, of They Might Be Giants.

About Deckhouse

Acton, MA-based Deck House was recently resuscitated by local businessman, Tom Trudeau, after the recent recession brought the 60+ year-old company to bankruptcy. The roots grew -- pardon the pun - out of Acorn Structures, a trailblazing company founded in 1947 by John Bremis and the legendary Techbuilt and Snake Hill architect Carl Koch (see info here). Acorn developed a very different sort of aesthetic over the intervening decades

Meanwhile, Deck was founded in the 1950s by William Berke, a Gropius disciple out of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Those new to this site can click many of the links to the right to read about Gropius, TAC, his firm, and the various residential projects in Boston's western suburbs. Deck House remained more mid-century modernist in look and principle than Acorn.

To further quote the Boston Globe:

The two companies merged in 1995, and in 2003 Gilrane bought the merged entity through a holding company, renaming it Empyrean. The company estimates over the years it has built more than 20,000 homes, as far away as Israel and South Korea.

Empyrean began its partnership with Dwell magazine in 2005, and the homes they designed and built were more modernist than the other two lines - boxy, more angular, and visually more reminiscent of the kind of homes Gropius's contemporaries and his students turned out in the last century.

But since this article appeared. the company has risen from the ashes and has a third new line, the striking NextHouse.

For a more updated version of the classic Deck House, look no further than my most previous post at a custom-built Deck in Groton, MA.

A note on the price, we feel that this is an exceptional value, particularly given the location within Lincoln. Our last listing in Lincoln, the Stubbins-designed house on Old County Road (not to be confused with this one on Old Conant), had multiple offers immediately and is slated to close for a price considerably over the asking price of $799,000.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Exclusive Offering of a 2002 Deck House

We are happy to offer this spectacular Massachusetts Deck House to potential buyer clients. This is currently an exclusive offering on which we would act as buyer agents only. It is not currently listed with us or any other agent, but the sellers have asked us to help find a buyer for them. If interested, please contact us at for more information.

Good things come in threes: Built in 2002, this is a tri-level, three-bedroom, three-bath, three-car garage Deck House on over three acres in a pastoral New England town. Soaring ceilings with wals of insulated glass and exposed beams in the classic Deck House style. It is an eco-friendly modern home made of wood, glass with abundant natural light, situated atop a hill offering 20 miles of panoramic views and majestic sunsets. Japanese-style landscaped garden, shoji screens between the living room and dining area great for the entertaining. The lower level has its own entrance and a mud room --perfect for a home office. Private, yet conveniently located near the center of town 4600 square feet of living area.

Asking Price (US$): $949,900
Annual Property Tax $11,918
Annual Utility Cost $2,000
Home Area: 4,600 s.f.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Total Lot Size: 3.02 acres
Year Built: 2002

Some notable and/or "green" features of the house:

*Passive solar with super insulation
*Healthy indoor air quality
*Oak flooring throughout the house
*Cedar ceilings with exposed Douglas fir beams
*Mahogany windows and trim work throughout
*Mahogany stairs and handcrafted rails
*Motorized sky light and solar tubes
*Walls of glass from floor to ceiling
*Thermal high efficiency windows and doors
*Mahogany deck rails
*Central Vacuum
*Cedar exterior walls

Indoor Air Quality

Heating System Forced Air - Gas
Cooling System Conventional Forced Air - A/C
Ventilation System Part of HVAC
Whole House Filtration Other
Whole House Vacuum yes

Energy & Water

Energy System Municipal Energy
Water System Well
Wastewater System Septic System

Construction Information

Construction Type Wood Framing: 2x4, 2x6, etc.
Exerior Finish Wood
Interior Finish Other
Interior Paint Low VOC
Floor Material Wood - Solid
Roof Material Other
Window Material Other
Insulation Material Other

Garage / Carport

Garage Type Attached
Number of Cars 3
Garage Area 1023 s.f.

All information pertaining to this property provided by seller of home. Hammond Real Estate, Bill Janovitz, and John Tse not responsible for any inaccuracies. We are acting only in a buyer agent capacity regarding this house. We have no agent relationship with the seller.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

19 Demar Rd. in Lexington -- Techbuilt Classic

Designed by Carl Koch, the "Grandfather of Prefab" (Progressive Architecture, 1994), this Techbuilt classic, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath 2615 s.f. home is a fine example of the pioneering modernism that Koch applied to mid-century homebuilding as returning GIs and a surge in Boston-area technology firms created more demand for housing young families. Bill Janovitz and John Tse are thrilled to offer this property for the listing price of $639,000. It will have an open house 1-3 on Sunday 10/17/20. Please contact me with any questions or to set up a private showing:

The House

Set on a wooded 3/4 acre, the siting takes full advantage of the natural beauty of Lexington's Middle Ridge/Turning Mill neighborhood. Vast expanses of glass open up the living area in the rear to meet the large, level, and private backyard. The open floor plan offers a natural flow. From the foyer (an addition consistent with the modernist aesthetic), one is drawn down the stairs of the split entry toward the views from the windows in the main living area. You will be forgiven for being distracted by the view and failing to immediately notice the newly refinished hardwood floors. The flexible first floor layout consists of a dining area, an airy, open main area, and a cozy nook formed in part by the fireplace and exposed chimney. It is easy for one to picture him or herself curled up with a book, perhaps a rare edition of Koch's own At Home with Tomorrow. **

Adjacent to the main living area is a room currently used as a 24X25 family room and spa, also an addition to the original structure. A hot tub is in one corner. One could easily see this room as an office large enough to house a home business, a home gym, a playroom, or as it is currently used. Sliders open up the back wall to a patio.

Flanking the living area in the other direction is a huge (20X16) eat-in kitchen with an island. From the walls of windows, watch family, pets, and/or wild turkeys gamboling (as the "wild" variety of turkeys are wont to do) in the backyard while you prepare dinner or wash the dishes at the sink (no need to actually wash, though; of course there is a dishwasher.)

A large half bathroom and laundry room complete the main living area.

Back up through the foyer, a few steps lead you to the main hallway, which in turn opens to three bedrooms and a full bath. A second full bath is included en suite for the master bedroom. All bedrooms feature the cathedral ceilings afforded by the post-and-beam construction. And one of the bedrooms opens up via sliders to use the top of the family room as a deck of sorts. In fact, the seller informs us that the construction of the below structure was designed to support a future deck (as with all such features, a buyer would be responsible for performing his/her own due diligence to verify).

The house had a new roof put on in 2009. There is a two-car garage with plenty of storage. But if you are a pack rat and still can't find enough room for your "I'll get to it someday" restoration project of broken Eames chairs, or your collections of moldy Dwell magazines, there is an additional storage shed.

(click any image to enlarge, if your browser allows)

The Neighborhood

Most people in Lexington know the area as Turning Mill, but it started out being referred to as Middle Ridge. Though it is now a large area of eight or nine streets, it started down here around Demar, with Techbuilt houses designed by Carl Koch, before growing further north and west and incorporating other modern designs, most notably, the Peacock Farm-style house plan designed by Dan Compton and Walter Pierce, who founded Lexington's Peacock Farm neighborhood on the other side of town. There have also been some Deck Houses built. The expanded part of the area is now referred to as "Upper Turning Mill."

Residents love the area due to its proximity to Estabrook Elementary school (adjacent) and because it offers membership in the Paint Rock swimming pool. It also borders the vast Paint Mine conservation area, with beautiful walking trails. The Lexpress bus runs through. And a quick zip takes you down backroads to Whole Foods, Staples, Super Stop & Shop, Marshalls, and so on in Bedford, or back the other way into the center of Lexington. And it is not far from Route 128.

The Architect

There is an understandable reluctance on the part of everyman to
build his counsel of nuts, bolts, and chromium. The industrial
revolution will help us realize our dreams if we can handle it, but we
haven't handled it too well so far. Although it is pathetic to think
we can escape the pressure of competitive business, the battle of
home-office transportation, and a compulsion to drive ourselves too
far, too fast, too much, by escaping into fantasy in the shape of an
eighteenth-century farmhouse, it is understandable that we try.

In our general progression of skills, building somehow lags far behind. Not 50 years behind, perhaps -- but not much less, at that. It goes still by hammer and handsaw -- agonizingly slow, inefficient, and more wasteful of money and people than we can any longer afford. The greatest irony of all is that it is so set about by habit, prejudice, false enthusiasm, and obsolete local constrictions that in a land of free enterprise the look of our urban landscapes is as comfortless, imitative, and repetitive, often, as any dictator could wish.

Carl Koch, preface to At Home With Tomorrow, 1958

Middle Ridge was originally "conceived and designed in 1955 by architect Koch as a neighborhood of Techbuilt homes." Koch had already had successfully designed the first modernist development in the Boston area, Belmont's Snake Hill (1941), Concord's first housing development, Conantum (1951), Weston's Kendal Common (1950).*

Koch came to the region when he attended Harvard School of Design, during "the confusing period between Beaux-Arts Eclectic and all-out Modern."*** It was a period (circa 1937) that overlapped with Gropius' time at the school, but for the most part, it seems Koch regarded his "contemporaries" the school as "leaderless or rudderless." More significant in the development of his own professional philosophy and style was a six-month tenure he spent in Sweden with Sven Markelius (1940-41), "which left him with an enduring admiration for the Scandinavian approach to life, democracy, and architecture."*** Certainly one can easily observe the themes of what is typically regarded as the Scandinavian aesthetic -- simple, clean, and functional design.

The eight-house neighborhood of Snake Hill, it seems, was an experiment in creating inexpensive housing for his own family. It is set on winding road high on a hillside off of Route 60 in Belmont.

A lovely Ezra Stoller shot of a Snake Hill home

In 1947, he designed the Acorn House (later merged with Deck House). His aim was to create well-designed and stylish housing for a good value (i.e. inexpensively) for middle classes by producing a modular construction system, manufactured in a factory controlled environment, which could be transported to a building site and assembled in a few days. However, the Acorn house was met with "resistance from local governments" and building code problems. **** More on Acorn history, by Lloyd Alter here.

(By the way, it seems Mr Alter's piece on the demise of Acorn/Deck/Empyrean (sourced liberally from the Boston Globe article linked at bottom) might have been, well not premature, but new life has been given to the first two brands, with a newly resuscitated Deck/Acorn.)

Far more successful were the Techbuilt houses, which, while certainly progressive architecturally, were more in line with prevailing trends and tastes. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, over 3000 of these houses were built, utilizing six different models. At least three were built in New Canaan, Ct., that other hotbed of Northeastern modernism, but it seems as though Lexington and Concord have the highest concentration and the highest amount of Techbuilt homes still preserved today.

Sources include:

*Lexington's Historic Survey of neighborhoods and housing stock

**Modernism 101

***McCallum, Ian (1959), Architecture U. S. A., New York: Reinhold Pub. Corp., pp. 170–174 via Hathi Trust



Boston Globe, "Prefab Pioneer Folds" Ted Seifer, December 24 2008

Ezra Stoller Shots

Thanks for architect, Tim Techler (his link is included on the right), for pointing us toward the site, which includes some invaluable shots of Moon Hill taken by Ezra Stoller.

More on Ezra Stoller.

Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Moon Hill Rd. -- The Mann House

The spirit of exploration and invention, led by philosophy, can be present in an office. Ideas are welcomed from wherever they come. Architectural music is orchestral rather than solo. Every member is involved.

-- Sally Harkness, on the "collaborative" part of The Architects Collaborative (TAC) firm

Sally Harkness was the principal TAC partner behind the design of 7 Moon Hill Road, the Mann House. The original owners were Harold and Muriel Mann.

The house is currently being offered for sale for $995,000 via Hammond Real Estate, with listing agents, Bill Janovitz and John Tse. The first available viewing time is Sunday, October 10, open house 1-3 pm.

One of Moon Hill's finest examples of TAC-designed pioneering modernist homes, the Mann House has renovated and expanded over the years. The open floor plan flows through the living room, family room, kitchen, and dining room. Hardwood floors have been recently refinished. The main hallway leads to five bedrooms, including two suites. A vast sunroom with spa hot tub squares off the floor plan; two-car heated garage with workshop and storage areas, designed by TAC partner, Dick Morehouse. There is approximately 3487 s.f. of living area. Walls of thermal windows overlook the professionally landscaped grounds (7 Moon Hill Road was known informally as "the Garden House.") A rare offering of a special home.

Depending on your browser, all images should enlarge when clicked.

Some of the Notable Features of 7 Moon Hill Road

Living Room/Family Room

-Recently refinished hardwood floors
-Open floor plan includes large dining area
-Family room/television area, also could work as dining room
-The flexible floor plan is great for entertaining -- large parties and smaller, more intimate dinners alike
-Custom built-in book shelves and other original architectural features
-Glass doors to enclosed three-season porch
-Tree-top views through abundant windows
-Thermal walls of glass with thermal blinds


-Updated in the 1990s
-Subzero Refrigerator installed 2000 (+/-)
-Bosch Dishwasher
-Granite tile
-Custom cabinets
-Large space divided by island
-Abundant cabinets
-Separate entrance from side of house
-Double wall ovens

Master Bedroom

-Walk-in closet
-Built-in dressers
-Second closet
-Built-in desk
-Large shower stall in en suite bath

Guest/Au Pair/In-law/Teen Suite

-En suite full bath
-Walk-in closet
-Separate entrance, glass doors to three-season sunroom/patio
-Direct access to attached greenhouse

Additional Three Bedrooms

-Various built-in desks, dressers, custom closets

Entry Level

-Gracious entry foyer with marble tile, built-in bench and shelves, and large closet
-lexible room with fireplace -- could be a playroom, den, rec room, library, or its current use as a home office. Walls of windows allow plentiful natural light
-Laundry room
-Half bath with marble tile
-Utility room


-Five zones of radiant and hot water baseboard heat
-Wall-unit air conditioning (two mini-splits and two traditional wall-installed units)
-Water main located in garage
-Propane heat in garage


-Original house designed by Sally Harkness, noted partner of The Architects Collaborative (TAC). Additions and expansions also designed by TAC partners
-Windows replaced with insulated glass approximately 10 years ago on all living areas
-Original built-in desks, bureaus, and bookshelves throughout
-Most likely cork-tile floor under carpets in hall/bedrooms
-Master bedroom extended circa 1980s, designed by Norman Fletcher
-Hallway display case
-Motion-sensor exterior lighting

Three-Season Sunroom/Enclosed Patio
-Walls of glass sliding doors with screens
-Year-round hot tub/spa
-Six skylights
-Custom-built free-standing flower boxes.


-Rubber roof replaced about 1995, updated around 2000 (all dates approximate)
-Vertical siding
-Perimeter drains installed around rear and sides of house and in front of garage (street side)
-Greenhouse attached, with direct access to bathroom. 7 Moon Hill Rd. was informally known thoughtout Six Moon Hill neighborhood as “The Garden House.”
-Professionally landscaped

Two-Car Garage

-Designed by Dick Morehouse
-Heated, propane
-Workshop area with sink and bench, in rear
-Separate storage room

Here is a shot of the original house, prior to expansions, renovations, and other changes. The viewer will note that the original bookcases seen in this shot are still featured in the current iteration of the house.

More archival Moon Hill shots here.

About Moon Hill and TAC

There are two ways to go -- towards competition or towards collaboration. A contest can be stimulation, but as a way of life competition is wasteful. Time and energy are dissipated in overlapping efforts. The efficiency of collaboration lies in interaction directed towards the solution of a problem. A world that believes only in survival through competition must always be at war. And if the winner is preoccupied with winning, he may find himself on a mountain he never would have chosen to climb. In architecture, rivalry may lead to irrational design; it may put aside a direct solution in favor of a more sensational one.

To fight for conviction is another matter, and this fits in with collaboration. The essence of collaboration is the strength of the individual. When collaboration is operating as it should, a good idea will be carried by conviction, recognized by others without loss of their own prestige.

-- Sally Harkness

In 1947, one young group of forward-thinking architects, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), founded by Bauhaus pioneer, Walter Gropius -- who had fled Germany and joined Harvard University Graduate School of Design -- purchased 20 acres of land on the east-central side of Lexington and formed a non-profit corporation for the community they named Six Moon Hill.

According to personal interviews with some of the partners and residents conducted by Aram Demirjian, the land had been owned since 1908 by a retired automobile dealer, described as "a stubborn and slightly intimidating man... suspicious of TAC's motives for their desire to purchase his land," which was a wooded hill and on the east side of town, and thus convenient to the TAC office in Harvard Square. Ultimately a deal was struck with the former auto dealer, who had held on to six 1920s-era Moon cars in a barn on the property. Appropriately, the development was named Six Moon Hill.

Laid out on a cul-de-sac, they set aside common land to leave as open space, including an area with a swimming pool. They built about 26 houses in the International modernist style: walls of glass, open floor plans, flat or slant roofs, simple and inexpensive materials, austere lines, nestled thoughtfully into the landscape. Though they at first might have seemed out of place—European modernist statements plopped down in the middle of wooded Lexington and adjacent to farms—they actually reflected the old clich├ęs regarding New England Yankee frugality, sensibility, and working with materials at hand. As an article in the Boston Globe pointed out not too long ago, the houses of Moon Hill “remain remarkably unpretentious and livable.” And, when one stops to think about it, what would have been more out of place than Grecian columns on a farmhouse in the middle of a New England field when those originally started appearing? The Moon Hill houses were as unassuming, if not more so, than the good old white-clapboarded colonials dotting the town. Unlike reproductions of that familiar style, the modernist architects saw no need to busy up the facades of their homes with fake shutters, mullioned windows, cupolas and the like. And the use of rubber, tar and gravel, and other new building materials and techniques did away with the need for steeply gabled roofs to dump away the snow, rain and other byproducts of the New England climate.

More photos and information about TAC, Moon Hill, Five Fields, Peacock Farm and more, found here at our Modernism in Massachusetts site.

Six Moon Hill on Wikipedia

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Pictures from the Hugh Stubbins-designed "Boggs House"

These excellent shots were taken by photographer, David Travers. (Click to enlarge, as with any image on this site).

The house had multiple offers the first weekend listed and is currently under agreement.