Even though they are not “contemporary” to anyone who is living in the 21st century, the name contemporary most often represents the mid-century modern house style that can be found in small pockets throughout Metrowest. In my opinion, they look best when they come with commanding views such as when sited on hilltops or near the water.
Perhaps the most famous of all contemporary homes is the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and his famous “Falling Waters” house in western Pennsylvania. There are no homes designed by him in Metrowest, but there are quite a few that show inspiration from his use of native materials, combining inside and outside spaces into one and design simplicity.
Builders and buyers liked the clean lines and contemporary styling and the great use of space associated with these multi-level homes, and built them here primarily in the 1960’s and 1970’s although they are still built today. There is no exact defining set of elements, almost all of these homes are architect-designed and can range from minimalist to deconstructionist to Bauhaus to A-Frame styles
Some of the common characteristics are: garage placement on the front of the home to cut building costs: shallow, pitched roofs that often extend from a higher level down over the lower level: simple, linear rooms that are cost effective to build and often attempt to “bring nature inside”; windows that are very large and sometimes trapezoidal following the roof pitch in gables; and exterior finishes that are a mix of natural materials like wood, brick, or rock combined with Texture-111 and cedar board-and-batten vertical siding.
Because split-levels, raised ranches and multi-levels are sometimes considered less desirable than many other house styles, realtors often label those three styles as a “contemporary”. So a word to the wise, if you find a contemporary on the listing services or one of the real estate portals and it’s living area is less than 2000 square feet, it probably has some kind of feature that with a little hyperbole could be considered to make it a contemporary, but it’s usually a split.
Contemporary homes appeal to a limited buyer pool in Metrowest (unlike colonials) so because of this their market value is usually lower than similarly sized more traditional house styles. Also because the pool of buyers is smaller their time on market is usually longer. However, if you like them (and I do), there is a diverse assortment of terrific contemporaries available in the Metrowest market.
For some great examples of Contemporary Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link