Every now and then, a special home comes along that makes us so happy to have our job! This one just radiates good energy, maybe because of its beautiful and peaceful lakefront setting. But the lake is not the real source of the good vibes, it’s the home’s beautiful, site-respecting design.
Designed and built by architect Don Winecoff in 1960 in the Grove Park neighborhood for his family. Winecoff was an architect for Charlotte firm Odell and Associates, and judging from his stacks of drawings stored in the basement of this home, he designed all kinds of buildings, residential and commercial.
Most impressively this house is small by current “McMansion” standards, about 1600 sq. ft., yet it doesn’t feel cramped at all. Winecoff used a number of clever techniques to create this effect, starting with the front entrance. A front courtyard (with a cool patterned concrete block wall) embraces you before you’ve actually entered the home. A wide slate tile front porch gives a generous feel to the front entrance. Inside, a normal-size hallway connecting living areas to the front bedroom also functions as an entrance foyer. But the wall of glass beside the front door transforms the space, giving it an open, spacious feel.
Stepping inside the living room, your eye immediately travels beyond the confines of the room, through the attached sunporch and to the lake view beyond. These two rooms, both vaulted, are separated by large sliding glass doors that can be opened to create one large, guest-impressing space. Winecoff cleverly arranged all the living areas – living room, sunporch, den and kitchen – so that one can go from one room to the next around in a circle with no dead ends, and so there’s also a lake view from each one. The kitchen is efficiently laid out but compact, yet feels larger because of the floor-to-ceiling opening to the breakfast bar and den with its wall of windows and lake view.
One the other side of the house, the bedrooms and bathrooms have good separation from the living areas and each other. The master bedroom is also not particularly big by today’s standards, but with huge windows, great light and another stellar lake view, who cares? Another interesting feature on this side of the house is the pocket door connecting the two bathrooms, put there as a quick way to get from the back bedrooms to the front bedroom without having to go around through the living area.
This home is listed for under 200k, and has already attracted a mad swarm of interest, the same as with the previous starter priced MCM home Modern Charlotte listed. We wish we had 20 more MCMs in this price range to offer, but they’re gettting harder and harder to find. Why aren’t there more houses like this available today? That’s a subject for a whole other blog. For now, I’ll just post the following note to the powers that be.
Dear architects, builders and developers: There are huge numbers of buyers out there who are searching endlessly for modern (as in Mid Century Modern-style modern), well-designed single family homes in a starter home price range. Stop endlessly building Neo-Craftsman bungalows. These buyers aren’t interested in crown molding or rocking chair front porches. If you really want to re-do the past, take a page from Don Winecoff’s playbook and build something with thoughtful design that embraces its setting and is affordable, too. If it was done 1960, it can be done now. For more photos and details about this home CLICK HERE.
If you love modern, this tour cannot be missed! It’s the perfect way to appreciate Charlotte’s hidden modernist gems. Also the perfect opportunity to introduce someone who doesn’t quite ‘get’ modern to the joy and livability of this style.
This year’s 8 homes run the gamut from an art-filled multilevel dwelling, to a hip, low-slung atomic 50′s ranch, to a 60′s modern mid-rise condo. All homes have one thing in common, their owners’ passion for preserving their iconic style, while bringing them into the 21st century with thoughtful updates. Whether your thing is classic modernism, clean minimalism or atomic ranch-ism, there’s something for everyone.
The 2013 Mad About Modern Home Tour is dedicated to architect Alan Ingram, who died in 2012. Ingram opened his architecture firm in Charlotte in 1960, designing Mid-Century Modern homes and industrial buildings locally and internationally.
To purchase tickets CLICK HERE. Tour proceeds go to benefit Historic Charlotte.
Would you like a FREE tour ticket? Volunteers are needed the day of the tour to staff the tour homes in half-day shifts. They will earn a free tour ticket, plus an invitation to DWR’s pre-tour reception on Thursday, May 9. For more info CLICK HERE.
Just in case you need extra enticement, here’s a few details about each tour home to whet your appetite:
(Tour home photos courtesy of and sole property of Cameron Triggs, Triggs Photography)
Designed by Aubrey Arant and built in 1964 for the Mitchum family. I was lucky enough to have been friends with a previous owner of this one-of-a-kind home, and I never used to miss an opportunity to get inside, hang out and soak up its retro 60′s charm. Loads of unique, drool-inducing original features, like the rosewood doorknobs on the interior doors.
Also located in the sweet little enclave of Burtonwood. Built in 1956 by Neal Arch Biggs, the owner of the Biggs Camera stores. Biggs adapted the plan for the house from one that appeared in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. And I’m proud to say, I’ve weaseled my way into this amazing atomic ranch as well, as a lucky party guest on occasion. Each time I’ve been in this house I’ve been blown away the discovery of yet another totally swank feature. Like the “almost secret” passway between the sunroom and family room. The cool 50′s vibe in this house is addictive!
2101 Cloister Dr
Designed by architect Jack Boyte and built in The Cloisters in 1956 for Hyman Polk. Boyte also designed at least two other iconic Modern residences in The Cloisters. With it’s distinctive long, sloping roof and landscape-hugging silhouette, this home bears his signature touches as well. I know the inside is going to be a treat, and thanks to the 2013 Modern Home Tour I won’t have to wrangle any invitations out of any friends so that I can see it.
2015 Cloister Dr
60′s tri-level, also in The Cloisters. With all that great flagstone on the front, you know the inside going to be sweet as well. This neighborhood is home to some of Charlotte’s best modern architecture. When I die and go to Modernist heaven, my neighborhood will be just like the Cloisters, built around a beautiful pond with Mid-Century Modern houses like this one around every bend.
6810 Folger Dr
Located in Lansdowne. First of all, let me thank previous owner Ron Crider for painting the front door chartreuse (his “signature” color). And the current owners for keeping it. We need more lively, in-your-face front doors, and homeowners with the imagination to put them out there. These current owners obviously have the good taste required to properly appreciate a Mid-Century Modern tri-level like this one. A complementary pair of sunglasses is in the mail to all unimaginative neighbors. And you, my friend, don’t have be an invitation wrangler to weasel your way in and see what’s inside, all you need is a 2013 Modern Home Tour ticket. By the way, while you’re here on this tour stop, explore a bit in Lansdowne and discover the numerous other MCM houses in this family-friendly neighborhood.
1300 Reece Rd
Penthouse condo located in The Kimberlee, a 60′s modern mid-rise co-op building behind Park Rd Shopping Center. I feel a bit guilty about telling you about this one. Because only a special few have discovered this building and its retro charms. For years it has flown under just about all of Charlotte’s radar and without being stumbled upon by the movers and shakers who would strip it of its MCM character and flip it into something bland and characterless. And to this day, it residents enjoy its great location, city views and uncorrupted modernist vibe. Sometimes life really IS fair!
3524 Seward Pl
Designed by architect Charles Connelly and built in 1953 for the Sinnicks family. One of the few original remaining concrete block houses in Charlotte that somehow didn’t torn down and replaced by, well, it’s just too horrible to say. But somehow this unique home dodged that bullet and acquired an owner who appreciated it enough to make wonderful things happen inside those unassuming concrete blocks. It’s been given new life with a complete renovation, but the charming original black and white bathroom tile was preserved. An official “Thank you!” from all us vintage bath tile lovers. Your complementary can of Scrubbing Bubbles is in the mail!
2121 Valencia Ter
Located near Southpark in Town & Country, this one-level ranch has one of those wonderfully practical floorplans that only a modernist would be clever enough to design. It’s L-shaped, with the living areas in one leg of the L and the bedrooms in the other. The inside of the L is lined with windows, giving the living room and all the bedrooms expansive views of a backyard oasis complete with pool. I know this because I weaseled my way into this one as well during an estate sale. And wow, the house was quite the time capsule, complete with the owner’s big ol’ ancient Buick parked askew in the carport. But the sale also stands out in my mind because when the Asian-style iron gate opened at 7 a.m., a friend in line with me slipped in ahead and snagged a Nelson-ish bench for himself that I’d had my eye on (Estate sale law: no matter how good the friend, every man/woman for his or her self!). And while I was grabbing armloads of other stuff to make up for that wrenching loss, I noticed the house was something special. I’ve heard the current owners have done an amazing reno. Can’t wait to see it without a houseful of people fighting over boomerang ashtrays!
By now, a number of news articles and blogs have appeared on the subject of the current low inventory of homes for sale in the Charlotte area. In case you’ve been living under a rock (hopefully a 60′s modern rock), here’s a recap: The Charlotte housing market is now turning from a buyer’s market into a seller’s market. in some areas, particularly in “hot” neighborhoods such as Dilworth and Myer’s Park. And even in some neighborhoods you might not think of as “hot”, such as some of Charlotte’s more modest neighborhoods.
The reason for low inventory? Buyers who bought homes at the peak of the housing bubble cannot afford to sell them because of overall depreciation in the market, so they’re forced to sit on them longer, thus there are fewer houses in the for sale pool. Adding to this, many homeowners who have owned their homes for long periods are reluctant to sell, thinking that if they wait until the economy is more solid and mortgages are easier to get, their home will sell more easily and they can ask a higher price for it.
But even though it’s now harder for buyers to get mortgages, there are still plenty of buyers who can get them, especially in the starter home price range. Due to low inventory there are less homes on the market to choose from, so houses are suddenly selling much faster and prices are starting to inch up. In fact, starter homes are “hot” in almost all areas of Charlotte. And these strong sales are starting to stimulate sales in higher price ranges as well.
But how does low inventory affect sales of Charlotte’s Mid-Century Modern homes in particular? Not only are these homes harder to find due to low inventory overall, there’s an additional factor that affects these houses when they hit the market: the rediscovery of the style by younger buyers.
Ten years ago, Modern homes were like the red-headed stepchild of real estate. Very few realtors understood them or even wanted to show them, and it was normal to see these homes listed without exterior photos or marketed as “tear downs”. The MCM style had a devoted following, but it was small and not enough to raise the value of these houses. This was the era when a great MCM home could be snapped up for a song. Then Hollywood and the young and the hip discovered mid-century modern and the style began being featured in TV ads and movies. The new trendiness of the style is a great thing for homes that previously would have been candidates for tear down or horrendous make-overs. But not so great if you’re hoping to snap up a MCM house with a low-ball offer.
If you’re in the market for a MCM-style home in Charlotte, it’s important to understand that the inventory of these homes is more limited than ever, and there is now competition to get them. It’s now normal for a Charlotte Mid-Century Modern to get scores of showings as soon as it hits the market. and it’s possible you could be bidding against other buyers. These properties are hot, and low-ball offers will likely be rejected in favor of the next buyer in line. To score the home of your dreams, a good buyer’s agent is essential. Modern Charlotte can help you get the jump on the competition, because we’re focused on the MCM market and we continually get leads on these homes. We have been at the forefront of marketing this style of home in Charlotte since 2006 – it’s not just the latest hot new fad for us – we’re committed to this market.
If you’re the owner of a MCM home in Charlotte, now is a better-than-ever time to sell. There are numerous buyers looking for your home, even if you have never updated a thing and still have your original avocado appliances and orange shag carpet. Buyers are seeking out these particular homes like never before; they love original features and don’t want updates that aren’t in harmony with original style of the home. No Craftsman-style facades or crown moldings. Modern Charlotte is linked in to the tastes and desires of this new and emerging pool of buyers and we know how to market to them. And we can give you all the help you need to market your special modern home to its fullest potential.
Listing on March 5! Classic 60′s Mid-century Modern ranch in Robinson Woods. Finally, the perfect setting for your favorite Eames lounger and your Saarinen kitchen set. Features an impressive modern entrance foyer, walls of windows and a ton of mid-century details to complement your favorite furnishings. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen open to the family room, plus a formal dining room. The best location in the neighborhood, sited at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac with loads of privacy and a large wooded lot. Back covered patio is the perfect spot to relax, host barbecues and enjoy this stylish domain.
And if you’re one of those complicated types who like a quiet, natural setting but also like to be near everything – and who issn’t? – the location in Robinson Woods is primo. Haven’t heard of Robinson Woods? It’s a small neighborhood with just 5 streets and no through traffic. A quiet little niche off of Sardis Rd near the intersection of Randolph. In addition to being 2 miles from Cotswold Shopping Center and 3 miles from Southpark Mall, Robinson Woods is also 15 minutes from uptown Charlotte.
Most homes were built in the 60′s, and many were custom-designed. A high percentage are Mid-century Modern designs similar to Modern Charlotte’s upcoming listing. The lots tend to be large and wooded, averaging about a half acre. Residents of Robinson Woods are close-knit, and can frequently be seen strolling the neighborhood streets and stopping to chat with neighbors.
Robinson Woods also has a true ace in its pocket: Providence Day School, a private school for grades K-12 that sits adjacent to the neighborhood on Sardis Rd. Robinson Woods students can easily walk to the school by using the walkway that connects the neighborhood to the school grounds.
Leave the brightness and bustle of Southpark Mall and drive a stone’s throw down Sharonview Road, and suddenly you feel like you’ve been teleported to the Smokies. Due to a convergence of ancient stream beds, the landscape in this area is much hillier than the rest of Charlotte, with sweeping wooded hillside views, cozy valleys and trickling streams. When you reach the entrance to Mountainbrook, you know you’ve come to a special place. With its curving, meandering streets, the neighborhood is designed in harmony with the unusual geography. And the setting obviously inspired local architects, because around every bend is a one-of-a-kind home, including a number of mid-century modern gems.
Five miles south of uptown Charlotte, Mountainbrook is bordered by Sharonview Road to the north and Carmel Road to the east, with its two main entrances off of Sharonview. The streets are quaintly named to reflect the hilly geography: Johnny Cake Ln, Mill Pond Rd, School House Rd and Knob Hill Ct to name a few. The majority of homes were built between the mid-1950′s and the early 1980′s, with peak construction in the 60′s and 70′s. Most homes were custom-built for families in the days when a family usually had way more than two kids and tend to have at least 4 bedrooms. Currently there are 13 homes listed for sale In Mountainbrook, with asking prices ranging from $199,900 to $450,000. Since August 1, 2012, 32 homes have sold within a mile of Mountainbrook’s center, with an average sales price of $552,943.84.
Mountainbrook’s lots are large and wooded, tending to be about a half acre. And many have steep slopes; traditional flat, grassy yards are rare in the neighborhood. But the trade-off for the lack of level yard space are the beautiful wooded views seen from almost every home. And you won’t hear any Mountainbrook families complaining about their hilly yards, because for outdoor fun they head to the Mountainbrook Club, a true old-fashioned neighborhood club with a large pool, tennis courts and other amenities.
And when they’re not hanging out at the pool, many Mountainbrook residents can be seen strolling and jogging the quiet, meandering streets and enjoying the interesting architecture that pops up around every bend. Mountainbrook houses tend to be sited at angles to the street and in other non-traditional ways, sometimes even perched on pole-and-beams. And they reveal themselves gradually, through naturally landscaped yards chock full of azaleas and rhododendrons.
But as we all know, nature is nice, but a big dose of location, location, location is what truly makes a perfect neighborhood. Southpark Mall, Phillips Place, Piedmont Row, Whole Foods plus the whole smorgasbord of Charlotte’s best shopping and dining are just blocks away from Mountainbrook’s entrance gates. A world of convenient and exciting destinations awaits Mountainbrook residents when they emerge from their “mountain” retreats.
Want to know more stats about Mountainbrook and other Charlotte metro neighborhoods? CLICK HERE