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.)


Anna said...

Where have you been?!? Thanks so much for starting this blog! I found you through Lulu. Looking forward to future posts.
Anne Weiss

Anonymous said...

If you remember the Lambert Airport Expansion and have ever been to Bridgeton then, you would know that the Carrollton subdivision contained this similar housing stock. You can also find these houses in Berkley, Ferguson, and Florissant. I believe they are called California bungalows from the 1950s.