Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Falling in love with Atomic Ranches

Jason and I have been talking about starting a website featuring the mid-century ranches in East Nashville for quite sometime. As my first post, let me explain why we care so much.

In January 2007, Jason and I sold our first home, a Frank Lloyd Wright replica in Madison, TN, after 3 months on the market. While we loved the house, we really wanted to live in East Nashville from the get-go. (Madison was a 2-year desperate compromise.) I'll tell you all about East Nashville another time, if you're not already familiar. Selling meant we were on a frenzied search to find a new house within 30 days. We really wanted to be near 5-points, the heart of East Nashville, perhaps in Lockland Springs, but nothing was opening up in our price range. Late one night I was desperately searching through all of the listings on RealTracs in Area 6. I came across a ranch in Eastland Acres, on the far side of Shelby Park. I was sure that it was too far from 5-points for serious consideration but I looked at the pictures anyway. Refinished dark hardwood floors, brand new kitchen with granite-tile counter tops and fresh IKEA cabinets, a glass bowl sink in the bathroom...hmm. I e-mailed the listing to Jason, who was out of town. I think the sink was what sold us. At least we knew this flipper had some sense of style and not just the Home Depot special.

Two weeks and 5 days later we were moving in. The accelerated closing helped us beat out the other 2 offers that also came that day, the 3rd day it was listed. (Special thanks to the greatest mortgage specialist ever, now turned real estate agent, Jeremy Hundley.)

We didn't know much about mid-century modern or atomic ranches. Jason had flipped through an Atomic Ranch Magazine at Borders more than once but that was about all we knew about the present movement. There are several unique 1950's features of our house that peaked our curiosity. First the skinny-plank hardwood floors caught our attention. Next it was the huge 6-panel windows that spread across the front of the living room on an angled (maybe 15ยบ?) wall. On the outside, a stone-faced triangular planter countered the angle to be square with the face of the house. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this. The third detail that tickled us was the downward-angled face of the bathroom vanity. Builders just don't take the time to design things like that these days…each drawer and cabinet door cut and precisely measured to match the angle. Suddenly we were obsessed with finding these atomic details, driving around the neighborhood looking for other houses with the 6-paneled front windows, with the angled front wall, with retro front doors...Uh oh. We needed a different front door. The brand-new 90's "contemporary" glass inlay door just wasn't going to cut it. We needed to ditch the bright blue shutters. We needed to paint the brick…not so much to make it more 1950's but to streamline it, to make is stand out from the sea of brick ranches all around and in a way, to reach out to Eichler.

Here are some before, middle and after shots. (Of course, it's outdated pictures soon.)


j*amy said...

yay! funnnn!

Kt said...

I saw a few pics of your house on facebook and thought it was cute...but knowing the background story I love it even more!

(those blue shutters had to go one way or another...ahah)

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wonderful home! I saw you guys and your house in the East Nashville section of the newspaper. I sure wish my husband and I would have known about your Frank Lloyd Wright replica in Madison. We live in Inglewood near there (in a tudor) and often drive around looking for the right ranch or mid-century style home. There are SO many good ones in Madison. Good luck in your new home! : )

justinbird said...

I love it! Really cool - are you going to post any updated pictures?