Other Cool Things

Destroying Something Rare & Special


In 2012, The fabulous Kelly of Old House Dreams featured a stunning Moderne-Style house in Austin, Texas, and listed at $1.5M. The house looks petite in this image…


…but this image more accurately conveys the scale of the house which was 3100 square feet.


The main facade again. The house sold and was…


…expanded. A extra floor was added, and a new wing (right). This seemed sensitively done, so I was encouraged. Until I saw what was done to the F A B U L O U S interior. Be prepared to weep.


The living room was OMG incredible. Note the curved edge of the ceiling and attendant moulding, the distinctive tiled ceiling (almost certainly original), and the amazing light fixture. Note also the wood, selectively installed.


Well, what WAS distinctive is now commonplace.


The original opposite view.


And today. Again, everything FABULOUS has been thrown into the dumpster, including the original amazing ceiling fixture. In its place is a “replica”. Note that all the original wood in the room (floor, doors, base) has been thrown away. WHY? The lovely French doors to the rear garden have been replaced with an absurd non-working fireplace. WHY? The opening on the left, to the original solarium, was hugely enlarged. WHY? It now dwarfs the distinctive circular cutouts to each side. WHY? WHY? WHY?


You can see here how clunky the “replica” ceiling fixture is.


A spectacular feature of the living room was a round mahogany door which…


…raised UP into the ceiling at the touch of a button. Note also the door to the right, and how it was part of this carefully, artfully composed composition.


Today. Do you like this???????? The mahogany door has been stained black! Now its looks like something from the 1980s rather than 1939. The lovely door to the right has been inexplicably replaced with an arched opening, which now visually COMPETES with the round door rather than COMPLEMENTING it. WHY? WHY? WHY?


One stepped down from the living room into a solarium. A solarium? HOW FABULOUS IS THIS? I mean, wouldn’t you kill for a solarium? The tiled rectangle was, I presume, a water feature. Turning around…


…was this incredibleness. Under the window was a sweeping built-in planter. I LOVE THIS ROOM! But this treasure…


…was totally destroyed. The water feature was thrown away. WHY? All the original windows and glass blocks were thrown away. WHY? The terrazzo floor was replaced with a hyper-manic marble floor. WHY? And, most egregiously, an oh-so-special SOLARIUM was turned into a…friggin’ dining room. WHY? WHY? WHY?


The entry had a beautiful WOOD floor, a WOOD door, and a WOOD base. And the ceiling…


…was OMG amazing! It looked like silver leaf and had a stunning light fixture running the length. OMG!!!!!!!! And all this incredibleness?


Destroyed. WHY? The lovely wood floor has been replaced with another hyper-manic marble floor. WHY? The silver ceiling? Now white. Yawn. Even the stunning light fixture was thrown away.


The new owners who did this stated that they loved the house. “We didn’t want to mess with it.”

Huh???????? They messed with every inch. They willfully took every distinctive original feature and threw it away or neutralized it. Was WAS unique is now common. What WAS artful is now pedestrian.

I cannot express enough the pain I feel at seeing such desecration. It is like…


…taking a famous painting and deciding to change the scene, colors, and size. “Oh yea! That’s better!”





20 Responses to Destroying Something Rare & Special

  1. I get it. I don’t like the old features but the house has lost all character now. By the way, a solarium, because of the water and heat coming through the windows is like a sauna.

    • Great find with the links to house listings before the reno and rentbynight after!

      One thing that stands out to me is the mural in the garage (in the before) was maintained and is now in the media room. Not sure how they managed that, but glad they didn’t paint over it white, which I would have suspected.

      I didn’t care for the aqua paint in the original, but I care even less for the hospital white it is now. It’s so cold. I do like the pool though and could overlook the fake fireplace and the crime of painting the gumwood door for a week ignoring the coldness and lack of a heart beat inside the house, to be able to just go back in time in the pool.

  2. Heartwrenching to see such incredible historical relics trashed forevermore. It should be a high crime to destroy museums of art this way. A true death and another great loss for all.

  3. Hi All…I think that the problem here is that everyone has their own ideas in their own personal universe. Purists, like me, like to keep to the original, celebrate the original idea. Unfortunately, since we are all unique individuals, one person’s conservation of original intentions is the next person’s wilder idea!

    • Thank you Mary Ann,

      I am all for people decorating their home to suit.

      I am not for people tearing out significant historic features and tossing them in a dumpster so they can manifest some current trend.

      I am outraged when somebody buys a fabulous old house, BECAUSE of its fabulous features, and even says we didn’t want to mess with it but then does just the opposite, and with no seeming understanding of what has now been forever lost; with no understanding of their role in destroying the very qualities which had attracted them to the house, qualities which they have now selfishly denied every subsequent homeowner.

  4. It’s a physical hurt. Some architect wanted his touch on it, and in the process, ruined a great place…just to have his name on it. We come across that often these days…desecrate, just to get their name on it….I would think they would be ashamed and embarrassed, but they are proud of ‘what they did’. There is no accounting for the taste, or lack of taste, of some people. Deep sigh.

  5. LOL I see it’s a rental now for $5,000 a night. Someone saw this as a money-making venture obviously, and not something to preserve, despite what they said initially.

  6. I love how you speak your mind! Bravo. I am curious do you ever get any backlash after bashing someone’s choices?
    That cove in the living room was awesome I don’t see why they would take it out?!
    My friend in town sold her house for top dollar. A folk Victorian. I see the new owners for a week have been taking stuff out. I hope its just carpeting and some badly replaced moulding from living room. Everything else was perfect! I had a dream last night that they knocked down all the walls for an open concept!! I may have to stop and introduce myself. Lol

  7. Seeing stuff like this makes me sick! Absolute sacrilege, not only destroying a home of historical value and sheer beauty but also doing it in horrid bad taste! Things like this make me wish I was rich enough to buy up all of these homes and save them from similar fates. Everything about this home was a work of art.

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