Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome to Magic City Modern

We had a perfectly gorgeous Mediterranean Revival bungalow, ca. 1925. All gleaming hardwoods, tile roof, 8' butler's pantry and four sets of French doors opening onto the terrace. It was our third wonderful home from the 1920s, and we felt we had found our era when it came to architecture. But while we loved our urban homes, we realized we really wanted more space, trees, and privacy for us and the dogs. So I started the search.

What I learned was that it was difficult to find that type of 1920's neighborhood architecture in a more rural setting. I found a lot of plantation-, farmhouse- and cottage-inspired homes, but they seemed to just miss out on what they even pretended to be. There were also a lot of modest 1960s-'70s ranch homes, but there was nothing inspired about them. And the newer neighborhoods of many gables? I was enough of an architecture fan to know I could never be happy in one of those.

And then, there it was. In a glossy real estate magazine in June of 2007. "Frank Lloyd Wright would be proud" it said. Well, I was a fan of Wright (I'd been to Fallingwater twice, and to some Usonian homes), and this didn't look like Wright to me. It looked more like something that had been transported from California and dropped into the woods in central Alabama. I was intrigued.

O'Hill east

Not a bungalow. Definitely not from the 1920s. Something altogether different. But it was in the middle of three acres of trees, glorious trees. And it had a driveway that wound through said trees. (That was something I always wanted, a driveway that winds through the trees). So I called. "It's under contract," he said, "due to close the end of the week." (sigh). Well, it was a little far out, and maybe it was too much of a change, anyway . . . Back to the drawing board.

After a week or two of a continued fruitless search (the current leading candidate was next door to a water tower) I noticed that the cool house was still on the MLS. I had my realtor call. Miracle of miracles, the previous deal had fallen through. We got out there the next day.


Did I say wow? Wow.

O'hill DR

All glass and wood, protypical mid-century modern. The house brought the outside in through the windows of glass. And just in case you missed that, there is a garden right in the middle of the house, complete with zen stepping stones through the center. Of course 90% of our furniture wouldn't work in the house, but somehow I just didn't care. Oh, and it didn't hurt that the husband also thought the place was pretty darn cool. Somehow, in the course of about 20 minutes, I had transformed from Bungalow Gal to Mid-Century Maven. The adventure had begun.