I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

This is just wrong

Yesterday. 31 Vinebrook Road.  Lexington, MA.  Gorgeous 1930 Cape Cod house just behind the Daily Grommet office location.  Designed by famous architect E.A. Sterling.

Today. 31 Vinebrook Road, Lexington MA

A builder bought this property.  He tore it down against strong neighborhood protests.  He is building a 5,000 square foot spec house.  A house for no one, that no one wants to see built.  Words fail me.

10 Responses to “This is just wrong”

  1. kathie engstrom

    That is disgusting. Sheer greed and lack of aesthetic brain activity.

    Reply
  2. Felicia

    Yes and No…while I’m sure our aesthetics are similiar, he has the right to do that if he had the means to acquire the property….what if some avante garde architect/artist built an ugly monument to his personal taste that the majority hated for decades but that had otherwise become part of the historical record …would we protest with so much gusto?….especially if the new development were something we loved. Some things are relative….and as almost always, money talks in a capitalist democracy. I think perphaps “this is just wrong” is more accurately reflected as “I don’t like this alot and wish I had more power to influence outcomes.” I know I do!

    Reply
    • Jules Pieri

      Hi Felicia,

      When it comes to the aesthetic of what gets built, I tend to agree with you. VERY difficult to legislate and control. Issues of taste and design are too darned subjective.

      But I do hold to my judgment on the tear-down. There *are* issues of taste for sure. This same developer tore down a house right up the street a month ago and it will not be missed. It had no historical or aesthetic merits.

      But THIS one. This little gem is a different animal. I understand there was an administrative error within the town records, and the house should have been on a “go slow/protected” list and it was not. (I am not deeply informed on the technicalities so it’s possible I have this characterized wrongly.) So a broader body of authorities could have saved this house. That is the crime.

      I reacted to the pure and simple loss of a special home whose original owner’s son maintained beautifully, for everyone’s benefit, until this transaction.

      And…I am deeply questioning so many of the outcomes of our capitalist democracy on lots of levels, as is much of the US. Mortgage crisis, environment, BP, community destructions, loss of craft. So I don’t accept the “money talks” argument. People talk, and we need to do more of that these days.

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Oh, that is sad. It was such a beautiful house. I whole-heartedly agree with your last statement, Jules (“And…I am deeply questioning so many of the outcomes of our capitalist democracy on lots of levels, as is much of the US. Mortgage crisis, environment, BP, community destructions, loss of craft. So I don’t accept the “money talks” argument. People talk, and we need to do more of that these days.”

    On a separate but somewhat related note, are you familiar with the Round House in Somerville? It is stunning, and I’m hoping that someone lovingly restores it to its (near) original state, before it gets so bad that it simply gets demolished, which would be another travesty. I haven’t been by it in awhile, but I recently received another link to this old post of mine, which suggested that it still hasn’t been refurbished 😦
    http://stephanierogers.typepad.com/stephanie_rogers/2005/12/round_house.html

    Reply
    • julespieri

      Stephanie,
      The house was even more beautiful in person. Pristine and perfectly proportioned.

      I am going to make a field trip to see the Round House. I think it may become an obsession for me. As in…buy it and make it the beloved HQ for Daily Grommet. At least I can dream!

      Reply
  4. Michael Stefanakos

    WOW. That just seems criminal.
    Speechless indeed.
    M-

    Reply
    • Jules Pieri

      Yes. The house had an odd legal issue with a town right of way cutting right through it. I guess “regular” people were scared off and he had trouble selling it. But the builder had the resources (or confidence?) to deal with that.

      Reply

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