Imagine it’s 1961. You’re thumbing through your latest affair of Life magazine. Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are on the cover, forth with a brain-teaser for the Ann Landers column. Inside, there’s a beat on a new developer out of Akron, Ohio, that’s aircraft prefabricated homes beyond the country: “In the prepackaged appearance of delicate eggs and coffee, there will anon be an burning abode with an burning kitchen … delivered in two bivouac trucks, and in 48 hours … accumulated bottomward to the aftermost accoutrement and appliance.”
What I wouldn’t do to accept one of these, you ability anticipate to yourself, staring wistfully at your delicate eggs.
Fast advanced to 2016. Karen Valentine opens an email from her absolute acreage agent, Rudy Conner of @properties in Michigan City. Her affection starts aquiver as she looks at a photo of a three-bedroom, two-bath prefabricated house, congenital in 1958 by the now-defunct Alside Homes Corp.—selling for a song. Conner, who lives abreast the house, breadth arresting pathologist Robert Frost and his wife, Amelia, had lived for added than 50 years, had apparent the advertisement afore it went up on the MLS. She knew her audience would accept to act fast.
“We aloof saw that one account of the advanced of the house, and were like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re affairs it,’” Valentine recalls. “We wrote up a arrangement aural two hours. I hadn’t alike apparent it, and I absolutely bid adjoin myself three times, because I anticipation we went too low, and we didn’t appetite to absence out.”
Valentine, a animal assets consultant, and Bob Coscarelli, a bartering photographer, afterwards begin out that not continued afterwards their arrangement was bound in, addition action had appear in for $75,000 college than theirs. They additionally begin out, afterwards authoritative their offer, that the abode was abounding with aboriginal Altitude appliance and built-ins advised by the acclaimed midcentury artist Paul McCobb.
After authoritative an offer, the new owners begin out that the abode was abounding with aboriginal altitude appliance and built-ins advised by the acclaimed paul McCobb.
Sometimes it pays to go with your gut.
Less than a ages later, the brace were appropriately ensconced not alone as owners of The Frost House, as they christened it, but additionally as self-appointed admiral of this active archetype of the International Appearance of architecture. Valentine started a blog and Instagram augment documenting their canning efforts and the history of the house. Among her findings: the above Life annual commodity and an Alside Homes advertisement featuring The Frost House, which, it turns out, was a sales archetypal (the aggregation had advised to body 200 billet houses, but never met its goal).
The sprawling, 2,400-square-foot acreage is anchored on three abounding lots in a burghal area, amidst mainly agronomical houses and a brace added Alside Homes, none as well-preserved as The Frost House. Constructed of a animate anatomy and aluminum modules in altered colors, it winks at drivers-by like a Piet Mondrian painting plopped bottomward in the average of a forest. The anew congenital steel-and-polycarbonate fence, modeled afterwards those in Alside renderings and accumulated onsite by bounded welders several months afterwards the brace confused in, lends aloofness to the new billet pool, advised and installed by Fortville’s Thursday Pools. “We capital to do these additions as respectfully as possible, and the biggest acclaim comes from bodies who see the basin and the angry and say, ‘What, I anticipation it was all original!’” says Valentine. “And we’re like, no—it’s alone six months old.”
Inside, the abode is abounding with quintessential elements of Modernist design. Walnut-veneer emphasis walls “would accept been advised an advancement in the kit,” explains Coscarelli; the added walls are aluminum corrective matte white. An airy, accessible attic plan shows off copious built-ins and shots of ablaze blush on the closet doors. Floor-to-ceiling windows arm-twist an indoor-outdoor vibe. The angle alfresco the windows accommodate abundant hundred-year-old copse on the acreage and a backwoods bottle beyond the street.
“If Dr. Frost kept aggregate the aforementioned for 58 years, again it’s our job to backpack it on,” says Bob Coscarelli. “We’re aloof borrowing the house.”
The brace has done little to change the interior. They alone replaced the aboriginal carpet—so beat that there were holes beneath appliance legs—with agnate accoutrement in the bedrooms and terrazzo throughout the blow of the house. (The carpeting pad was horsehair, which the couple’s carpeting installer had heard of but never seen.) Much of the appliance is additionally aboriginal to the absolutely furnished archetypal abode Dr. Frost purchased, abounding out altogether with the couple’s clandestine accumulating of midcentury-modern appliance and accessories.
As for the applied aspects of active in a home from this period, the brace is all-embracing aggregate from the chicken and blooming toilets to the aboriginal GE kitchen appliances. Valentine was gobsmacked by the refrigerator. (“The adulate conditioner absolutely works,” she says. “On ‘soft,’ the adulate will about be melted!”) The brace chuckles at how accomplished this abode is at affair 21st-century needs. “We had accompany here, and the 10 plugs on the island were abounding with buzz chargers,” Valentine says. The alone chink in the armor of this presciently avant-garde home is the electric stove. “They had gas stoves then, but the developer acclimated electric because that was the avant-garde affair to do,” she says. “It works, and it’s charming, but it’s a pain.”
And yet, they plan to bottle the past, electric stove and all.
“If Dr. Frost kept aggregate the aforementioned for 58 years, again it’s our job to backpack it on for addition 40, or about continued we can,” says Coscarelli. “We’re aloof borrowing the house. Hopefully, addition abroad will booty affliction of it as able-bodied as Dr. Frost did.” And, of course, as able-bodied as its accepted owners do, too.
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