Architect’s practical little paradise in Grove Park

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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