Times are Changing:
Mid-Century Modern Craze meets New Century Modern Luxury
Part 1: An Original Mid-Century Home in Carrollwood
I became involved in marketing and finding mid-century modern homes last year when I decided to purchase an old 1950s1960s block home to renovate for myself. I love the open-house concept, clean lines, angled roofs, and the melding of indoors and outdoors with lush tropical courtyards and expansive glass that was used to allow natural light into the home.
What I learned was the homes I found had potential to be spectacular, but no homes were for sale that were already renovated and had the square footage I wanted.
Most original mid-century homes were between 1,100 and 1,400 square feet. The homes could cost anywhere between $150,000 to $350,000 unrenovated, depending on location. Investors are not buying these homes to flip, and the trend is so new that homeowners who have rehabbed mid-century homes aren’t yet selling them.
Finding what I wanted became a real struggle.
First, the neighborhoods where most of the mid-century homes were located were not in areas I personally wanted to live, near the urban core of either Tampa or downtown St. Pete. You can find more inventory in Temple Terrace, a suburb of Tampa near the University of South Florida, but the majority of homes are in Pinellas, in neighborhoods like Lakewood Estates, The Pink Streets, Jungle Prada and Gulfport.
Location not the only problem
The second obstacle I ran into was that if a mid-century modern home was located in a flood zone – such as Ballast Point or Beach Park in South Tampa or near water in St. Petersburg – I could spend only 60 percent of the home’s current depreciated value on renovation. That “value” is determined by the property appraiser. By city rules, you are restricted in the amount of money that you can sink into a flood-zone home.
Most of the homes’ depreciated values were coming in low – very low, between $60,000 and $80,000. It hit me that I would not be able to do the renovations I wanted per county guidelines.
Builders were telling me that it would take somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000 to do a whole-house renovation, a figure I found reasonable given that I’ve already got one or two home renovations under my belt. Most of these houses would need new windows and doors. Kitchens would need gutting, and bathrooms would need to be completely redone. What’s more, it’s a rare homeowner who would not wish to expand a mid-century home’s square footage, because the master bedrooms and bathrooms are too small for current-day tastes.
Experience also told me that even the $60,000 and $80,000 estimates might be low. First-blush estimates are sometimes unrealistic because problems are discovered with older homes once you start the renovation. Anyone who watches HGTV knows that old plumbing, wiring, and a host of other factors can significantly increase the cost and blow your budget.
Building a home that adheres to current building codes, even if in a flood zone, will allow you to do almost anything provided the home will fit on the lot. Insurance costs on a new home can be lower, and of course modern, energy-efficient building materials are used from the get-go – and all of that can add up to big savings. I’m getting quotes as low as $400 a year for flood insurance for a 2,900-square-foot brand-new home in a flood zone. Homeowners insurance is running about $1,500 a year as well. You might have to shell out double or triple that amount on insurance costs for older, smaller homes – they’re just not built to withstand hurricanes and probably fail to meet today’s building codes in other ways as well.
This is the main reason new construction of these new-century modern homes has taken off in a big way.
I became part of the new trend
I decided that building a new home was going to be the best bang for my buck!
Once set on that course of action, I was on a mission to find a home builder who could construct a new-century modern home. It is a term coined to describe architecture reminiscent of the classic mid-century modern home, yet utilizing current materials, color palettes and architectural theory.
I met with several builders of Modern Homes in Tampa Bay Their vision was in line with what I wanted, and we shared the same passion for modern architecture: A blend of the old mid-century with new-century modern. Many of the homes resemble the famous mid-century modern architect Joseph Eichler. After World War II, Eichler built some 11,000 single family homes in California.
Many New-Century Homes are located in unlikely places, such as Historic Kenwood in St. Petersburg. Sometimes finding larger lots in the urban areas is difficult, but these designs don’t necessarily need large lots.
The design is simple and low profile, having open spaces and interiors that open up to views of landscaped courtyards. These lines really allow you to have viewpoints from the inside of the home out – something to look at while you sip a glass of wine and relax while still maintaining privacy.
The homes are visually handsome, clean, and the open spaces make the home feel larger than it really is. There’s no wasted space. No two homes he builds are exactly the same because he is appealing to a sophisticated buyer who respects quality and uniqueness. He understands why people are moving from cookie-cutter suburbs back to the cities.
As a licensed Realtor, I decided to start a new website, https://midcenturymoderntampa.com/ . Please consider it your resource if you are looking to renovate or build a modernistic home.
You may also reach me at 813-784-7744 or send me an email here
To learn more about me: http://thetamparealestateinsider.com/about/