Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Leaving Oak Hills::Bookending Oak Lane

I collected a few more houses on the way out of Oak Hills. First up is this late 50s home at 1695 Oak Lane. The front of the home folds into the slope of the hill while the roofline remains unobtrusive. The four-square windows viewable in the center are a typical design feature of the period. The home also takes advantage of concealing landscaping to further integrate the home to the land.

A little east of Oak Lane and north of 1695, you can find Uncle Bud's park. This private park is surrounded by both mid-century, contemporary, and traditonal style homes. Notice this late 60s home is again built into the natural slope of the land. At times sloping lots are leveled or filled to build some pre-fab notion of what a house should look like. Mid-century design dictates that whenever possible, a home should be build to take advantage of the natural land instead of forcing an abode onto a landscape.

Another trend of Mid-Century design was the incorporation of Eastern influences, particularly Japanese ideals. Windows like shoji screens, abstract geometric shapes, all trace their roots to Oriental motifs. This photo is a close up the home's deck railings. Note the shape of the wood work and how it echos Japanese design elements.

I had to include this home which is on the southern end of Oak Lane. What had been a perfectly respectable mid-century home is currently undergoing a process that I like to call "rustification." I've coined this term to mean the current trend towards a rustic looking home, even going to the extreme of remodeling a home to fit the fad. This is not only unadvisable, as the home will look dated in about five minutes, but it's a crime against mid-century modern design.

Look at those ridiculous columns. As if anyone would believe for an instant that they were integral to the home. I'm sure that when you walk into the house you'll see the same yellow Tuscan faux finish on the walls that everyone else in an Ivory Home has, complemented by the aged bronze fixtures. Maybe they'll go super-orig and opt for rod iron. The lamps will have a tapestry look with bead fringe. Their furniture is already on order from The Timberlodge Collection. The living room will be full of super-grande-over-stuffed couches that look silly in the people-sized mid-century roooms. Don't worry, the entry, the kitchen, and the bathrooms will all have slate floors. They'll put tumbled nuetral travertine in the master bath and carpet the whole house in an oatmeal berber. How pedestrian and ludicrous.

One of the last homes on Oak Lane is this mid 60s home which appears deceptively simple. That strange tent looking thing beyond the primary roof line is actually a pitched ceiling with massive windows which open to the incredible western view to the rear of the home. I suspect that the cathedral windows are an addition, though I could be wrong. You can see straight through the house's windows to the sun setting behind the Oquirrah Mountains.The home bends along the lot like a curved wing. As strangely simple as this home seems from the street, it is a beautiful example of modern design. The roof is balanced on the small supports lending the home a modicum of grace. The siding blends with the land so that the view is unspoiled. In fact, the home's principal feature is the view surrounding. The Provo Temple's spire is in the left of the house offering dramatic views of the grounds during the day and the spectacular glow at night. This home revels in its hillside location and is perfectly suited to offer its residents sumptuous views.


Rachel said...

o.k.--so i lived in the now-being-"rusticated" house! it used to belong to otella devey and jon and i lived in her basement after we had been married for about 9 months. she was in her early 80s and started dating a 90 year old while we were living there. she ended up marrying him--they were the newlyweds of the home after that. the walk-out basement is spectacular. the new owners are john and peggy hughes. he's the editor in chief of the deseret news....used to be an editor for the christian science monitor (isn't that what it's called?) they did another rustification on willow lane. very interesting. this house COULD use some updating, but i agree, it doesn't go along with the character AT ALL!

Donovan Design said...

Off topic, but perhaps not. I have a question:

Do you know who actually coined the term, "mid century modern and when the term came into popular use?

I remember that in the early 1990's, the term was not in use. Rather the closest thing you could get to describing the style was "International Style".

I was the senior designer for Donald Deskey (who designed Radio City Music Hall) and in 1990 I started a lighting design business. At a loss to describe my updated, "art deco styling", I simply called it that. Later, people started calling my style, "Mid Century Modern" and I didn't know if the term was new or not.

Anyway, thank you, Best Regards and keep up the good work,

Art Donovan

Petit Elefant said...

Omigosh! The home that's being renovated looks an awful lot like my grandparents home they built overlooking the valley on oak lane in the 1950's. Now I have to go drive by and see if it is. Oh, that would be so sad, it was such a beautiful home!