Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let the Light Shine In! New Five Fields Listing

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

New (Feb. 24) mention of this house in the Boston Globe!

For what you would expect to pay for a cape in Lexington (or for even less), you can have style and history. Yes, you erstwhile dreamers and house voyeurs can now buy this brilliant, renovated mid-century modernist house in the historic Five Fields neighborhood. This three-bedroom, two-full-bath house with an open floor plan and over an acre of land is going on the market for $578,000 with Bill Janovitz and John Tse February 17/18, with open houses tentatively scheduled for 2/19 and 2/20. CONTACT Bill or John at or for more information. If urgent, you can call Bill 781.856.0992/John 617.851.3532

The current owners have continued to improve the house, most notably with a conversion of the heating fuel from oil to gas, and the upgrade to a high-efficiency boiler and hot water storage system. A sub-par carport was taken down, perhaps allowing for possible expansion on that west side of the house, either with another carport or expansion of the living area. Of course, all such possibilities have to be checked with the town of Lexington. And as is always the case with Five Fields, Moon Hill, Peacock Farm, and other mid-century neighborhoods, there is the expectation that owners will keep improvements and expansions within the existing aesthetic of the neighborhood. The current owners also opened up the floor plan even more graciously and have upgraded electrical to some extent, adding new circuits.

The House

1445 square feet of living area on one level overlooking an acre abutting common/conservation area. Walls of glass bring the outdoors in, with stunning year-round views. The house was designed by The Architects Collaborative (TAC) principal, Richard "Dick" Morehouse and built in 1953 (according to town records).

A large, loft-like open floor plan encompasses the main living area, consisting of living room, dining room, and kitchen. As with most such houses, the construction is simple and sturdy post-and-beam, allowing for flexibility in the floor plan. In fact, both of the last two sets of owners have opened up walls. This main living area is considered the central nucleus of the design, with wings to the easy and the west sides.

In the east wing of the house, there is a full bath and two bedrooms. In the west wing, there is the third bedroom, second full bath, a laundry and storage room, and a separate entrance, perfect for guests, au pair, or an in-law stay.

The 2008 kitchen has a stainless steel gas DCS/Fisher Paykel range with an outside-venting hood, a stainless LG refrigerator, and a stainless Bosch dishwasher. The sellers will include all appliances in the sale, including a front-loading washer and dryer purchased in the last couple of years.

A fireplace in the living room features a new (2010) surround with Heath Ceramics' handmade porcelain tile, (a rare mid-century pottery still in existence today.)

Flooring includes cork tile, natural slate, and ceramic tile (in the bath rooms).

Property abuts the Hardy Stream and the Swommonland Conservation Area (22 acres co-owned by members of Five Fields who
border the property. 440 Concord holds 1 share of 13). Five Fields also owns and maintains Juniper Hill Conservation Area as well as it's common land and swimming pool.

Some improvements by current owners:

* Regraded ground around house and extended lawn
* Installed invisible electric fence for dog (covers over an acre)
* Removed oil tank (and built shed to house heating and water unit)
* New Buderus boiler and water tank
* New gas line to rear of house for heat and BBQ
* Waterproofed storage shed
* Stained and painted exterior
* Removed wall to open up living room
* Installed new entertainment center cabinets
* New electrical circuits for entertainment center, heating system and bedroom
* Finished interior of former boiler room
* Handmade porcelain tile by Heath Ceramics on Fireplace
* Tree Maintenance
* Pest Control Contract

See Lexington GIS map for information on lot, wetlands, etc.

The Neighborhood

The below is taken from our history of Five Fields, which is included in an overview of the modernist communities found in Lexington, here at this page

While the houses of Six Moon Hill were mainly built as a community to house the highly collaborative TAC partners and associates themselves (Gropius built his own famous house out in the nearby town of Lincoln), the architects also conceived of their next such development of spec houses to sell to other home buyers and chose a farm on the southwestern part of town. The old Cutler Farm was purchased by the TAC and the young firm moved forward on their conception of a development that they would control from beginning to end. This became the neighborhood known as Five Fields.

One of the original eight TAC partners, Dick Morehouse, who was a resident of Moon Hill, oversaw the project and even acted as a salesman, showing the new homes to interested buyers. As noted above, Morehouse designed 440 Concord Ave.

The project was conceptualized as 68 house sites, though the initial phase consisted of 20 houses built in 1951, 1952, and 1953, the sales of which would finance the rest of the project. The original price points of these homes—some of which now fetch close to $2 million-- ranged from about $18,000-35,000.

"For twenty years after the establishment of the neighborhood, TAC approval had to be obtained for additions. The restriction expired in the early 1970s. Today, almost all of the houses have been modified or added onto over the years, obscuring what was originally a neighborhood of houses built as variations on a few standard plans." (See link to source, below).

As one of the other original partners, Chip Harkness, explained to the Boston Globe a number of years ago, describing the goals of the TAC when they set out to build Moon Hill, “An initial goal was low-income housing. We were shooting to build homes for under $15,000. That’s quite a bit less than the $1 million one of the houses recently went for.” Like Moon Hill, form followed function in the design of the Five Fields houses, the homes were sited sympathetically into their surroundings and the existing contours of the land, and there was common land set aside and a swimming pool, a playground with playing fields, and a skating pond, for the community. This community spirit carries on today in both Moon Hill and Five Fields.

A boy jumps into the FIve Fields swimming pool, from the commemorative book, Five Fields -- Five Decades: A Community in Progress

More can be read here, at the page for Five Fields on the town of Lexington's Historic Survey site.


  1. I like this house as well as decoration, I hope this would be mine. Cork tile flooring

  2. Decoration and location of the house is good. I liked it.
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  3. So beautiful! I got a lot of decor inspiration when I buy a new house someday.

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  4. I am happy to see ur blogs I like all houses are super and made very suprise to me..Great job!

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  5. Very modern home, I love it! Since I sell real estate in Newton MA I've seen a lot of contemporary homes in the area... but nothing quite like this! Great post.