Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Phoenix man scored when he bought Ralph Haver's family home for a song

[Source: Robrt L. Pela, New Times] -- At last, there's a reason to be glad for the crummy housing market here, and for the lack of awareness among Phoenicians about our local architectural history. Both of these misfortunes led Brad Jannenga to a formidable real estate score when he recently bought architect Ralph Haver's old house over on 11th Place for a measly $164,000. That's a better-than-decent price for any midcentury block home here, but the house Jannenga bought isn't just one among the thousand or so homes designed and built by Haver, a pioneer of modern tract housing in Arizona in the 1950s. This is the house that Haver built in the 1940s for his own family.

His career was just getting going, but Haver's clean lines, exposed masonry walls, and narrow casement windows were already in evidence in this now-historic prototype, which is in pretty rough shape after decades as a rental property. "That little half-wall Haver always did between the kitchen and the family room is in this house," Jannenga told me. "You could see he was trying out his designs here, messing with the triangular-shaped windows, the bigger window frames, the simple-span roofline. You can see the seeds of his work all over this place." Not all of those seeds were well-sown, as Haver hadn't yet gotten the kinks quite worked out in his signature design. The added-on third bedroom off the dining room is oddly placed, and there's a peculiar bump-out in the front fa├žade that serves no purpose; it appears to be a half-chimney on a home with no fireplace.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Todd Grossman, New Times.]