MCM on a Budget

I can't get enough of these houses. Located in Crestwood, the Ridgewood subdivision is home to dozens of mid-century modern gems. All simple, understated and a joy to be in. And with an average sale price of $140k to $150k, they're incredibly affordable.

This one is listed at $149,900.

And this one at $139,500.

Downsides: Tax records show that only 7 of them have basements, space that none of us seem to miss when we're renting an apartment, but most of us insist on having when we buy. (The carports typically provide as much or more storage as that 6x6 locker in the shared basement does.)

Also, while the homes feel very well-designed (apparently by Omer L. Mithun & Harold J. Nesland and available by mailorder from Better Homes & Gardens at the time) the execution by builder Burton Duenke and his crew of carpenters can only be described as lazy. I have yet to see a mitred door or window frame in any of these houses! (Perhaps a nitpicky detail but my previous life working for a design-builder left me permanently incapable of looking past them.)
Nonetheless, the space in each room is open and airy and inspiring enough that I'm willing to ignore the flaws.

One detail I've found humorous is that is none of the light switches ever seem to be the same from room to room, making me think that Mr. Duenke was prone to buy whatever switches were on sale that week and throw them all into a box for a mix & match thrill. (I'd never thought about it before but if the technique for turning on a light is different in each room of your house, how many times would you have to pause at the door to remember if you push, flip or turn for this room? And how many times would you trip over something in the dark because you pushed when you were supposed to turn but kept on going?)

Many of the homes have some unfortunate updates, although nothing a road trip to IKEA wouldn't cure.

But some appear to have kept the original cabinetry.

Others clearly had owners who knew what they were updating. (Those are bamboo floors.)


Rue de Harris Armstrong

What a fitting way to start things off with this Harris Armstrong designed home that just came on the market. The home is identical in to the one up the street that I toured close to 2 years ago with Toby.

With 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, it's listed at $230,000. View the listing here.

Vacant, the house feels more spacious than furnished and this one has the addition of a step-down room off the living room and kitchen that opens up the main floor.

If you've not been through this cul de sac in Kirkwood, it's worth a Sunday afternoon driveby. Take Manchester to Woodlawn and head south. Woodleaf Ct is the first left you can make off of Woodlawn. The 10 homes in total are all Armstrong's design. His specs for the neighborhood and correspondence with the builder are apparently on file at Wash U.