Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Man Cool

Now what do we have here? This house has intrigued me for years; I drove by it every day on my trips to and from work for 12 years. This is the kind of house I dreamed of as a teenager living in a perfectly respectable white frame Ontario farmhouse with its wide Gothic inspired Marysburgh gable. But this house is so California, so Sunset magazine, so cool. It asserts 'break with the past', modern and iconoclastic. Even the name we attach to the style is so hip - Contempo.
Some of the features that define Contempo are the low slope of the multi-level roofs - one accommodating an entry porch and garage overhang - the plate glass windows in a variety of shapes and levels with minimal surrounds , clerestory windows for privacy, plain doors without transoms or side-lights, the wide chimney signalling a massive fireplace in the centre of the living area, the 'pilotis' supporting the sloping garage overhang, the brick planter and landscaping with evergreens.
The split level design, no historicizing detail, little adornment, a combination of finishes - typical mid-century brick and siding- this house is in the Mid-Century Modern or Contempo style. And isn't it funny how old it looks? I love this style now - I can imagine what fun it would be to find period furnishings to complete the picture.
Think I'll go find my black turtle-neck and tights.

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