Comment of the Day: Ode to a Doomed Alabama Place Bungalow, with Caveats

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ODE TO A DOOMED ALABAMA PLACE BUNGALOW, WITH CAVEATS “Poor, poor 2205 Branard. I know the standard Swamplottian response is ‘if you’re so sad to see it go, buy it.‘ I know that it was built in 1939, and wasn’t necessarily meant to last past 1989. I know that it may have structural problems, need electrical updates, and have a tiny kitchen. I know all those things, yet I can’t look at this adorable brick house, this poor condemned soul with its neck on the chopping block, and not get a lump in my throat. What did this house do to deserve such a fate? Did it not bow down to the ballroom-sized bathroom trend? Did it refuse to tart itself up in stucco to suit the Tuscan-craving masses? Did it commit the crime of having only (gasp!) 8′ tall ceilings?! Perhaps it was simply the offense of having a pleasing ratio of height, fenestration, and visual interest that doesn’t say ‘screw you, street, I don’t care what I look like outside, because I have granite countertops, slate backsplashes and crown moulding!‘ Does this make me a house-hugger? Probably. Will this earn me a thorough flaming from other commenters? Definitely. [Pours some out for fallen soldier 2205 Branard]” [Jennifer Mathis, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: No, Virginia]

16 Comment

  • I spent about a year looking for the perfect fit for myself. I ended up buying a nice 1930 brick house that is technically in Eastwood cause it’s what I could afford, and even if I can’t save other old houses, I can preserve this one, and try to give it some splendor.

    I imagine just the opposite though for this house, as perfect as the brick and landscaping have been maintained, I’m sure the kitchen still has the 1930s tile counters and the grout is probably blacker than the darkest night. I’m sure the sink is cracked and has been JB welded, but still leaks. The original hardwood floors are probably still there, but warped and slowly rotting, or transforming into dust. Someone probably fitted a water heater in the attic that burst and now there’s black mold everywhere.

  • Clap… clap… clap, clap… clap, clap, clap… clap clap clap clap clap clap (applause)

  • My house is circa 1936 and still in excellent condition. Sure they didn’t believe in giant closets, and the bathrooms are a little small compared to the modern era, and my porcelain bathtub is a royal pain to keep clean. But compared to stucco monstrosities built 10 years ago, no molding facades, a stable foundation, and 75+ years of reliable service that survived numerous hurricanes absolutely trumps the crap build quality people endure now with building materials definitely not suited for the climate, thrown together as cheaply/quickly as possible. That era valued quality, not planned obsolescence.

  • Looks like the interior had been gut remodeled at some point, on the ultra cheap.

  • @ #1 toasty, you must have missed the interior photos.

    This is not your Great Aunt Olivia’s family home inside.

  • I have question, Why do people in Houston not build the new homes on pier and beam instead of slab? It seems that the slabs always crack and are a plumbing nightmare when they do. On the other hand I grew up in a pier and beam 1930 ish house that is still standing and in decent shape. there must be a good answer but I can’t seem to find out

  • @ benny:

    cost….it all boils down to cost. slab is considerably cheaper and doesn’t take the skills a pier and beam take to construct. And when the skills for a certain trade diminish, the cost for that trade goes up.

  • Benny, I believe the slabs that have problems are quite old, before post-tension and fiber reinforced cement. The new slabs are quite strong, in fact on larger homes you can’t see but there are steel reinforced concrete beams crisscrossing the entire foundation.

  • Pier and beam is no panacea, Benny. I’ve seen plenty of them that required leveling over the years.

  • I own a 1930s home and frequently wish I had much bigger closets. I also ponder, and wonder if anyone else does, that the people who owned and lived in the house in the 1930s and ’40s went to work and had “off” days just as I have now. They didn’t need massive closets! Do I? Perhaps living a little bit more on that 1930s-40s level of consumerism is a much more meaningful path to being “green” any any LEED certified building to hold 3 cars and 5 bedrooms for 2 people. But I bet those are some nice big closets.

  • All pier and beams require leveling at some point; and it’s likely that moisture or termites will require repair of some of those beams at some point, too. The tradeoff, though, is that plumbing is much easier to fix on an old pier and beam, and you don’t run into the cracked slab expenses.

  • Thanks for the answers guys, I have always wondered this. Im in energy business and as y’all can usually tell from my comments Im not to knowledgable in real estate. I really enjoy visiting this sight each day to learn what is going on in our city and the latest trends. Have a good day all. Ben

  • problems with pier/beam are easily overcome with proper maintenance. calling out an exterminator at regular intervals, rather than when you see pests in the house. It’s monumentally cheaper to have a house with pier/beam leveled than a slab.

    besides, a little rock/rolling is expected with older houses, as the moisture and temp of the soil changes around the house.

  • Jacob, I’ve wondered that very thing and I think the answer is that people didn’t have as much casual wear. You see people dressed up all the time in pictures of the period: men might wear a suit and women a dress just for everyday life. You just didn’t need a lot of jeans and sport shirts, let alone t-shirts.

  • The thing is, I think most of these kinds of demos aren’t driven by an owner who wants to live in the location but not in that particular house, but rather more likely the result of a spec builder looking to maximize the lot’s resale potential.

    The house, regardless of its qualities, or lack thereof, is just in the way.

  • If more people would share my opinions, then this kind of thing wouldn’t happen. I can’t believe others have different aesthetic tastes.