The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68954   Message #1957922
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
05-Feb-07 - 10:20 AM
Thread Name: Help: Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds) ticky-tacky?
Subject: RE: Ticky-tacky
At least those houses have a little variety in color. You can't even say that about a lot of them built in new neighborhoods around here in North Texas. Builders are obligated to stagger the house plans so they don't look so uniform, but look at the features, building materials and lot placement and they're pretty bad.

These are from a few miles south of us, and it was this shot that was able to convince the neighbors here that they should insist in larger lots in a planned development being established in our neighborhood. The lots are a bit wider, but alas, the zoning folks weren't paying attention when the developer asked if he could shorten the lots from 105' to 80'. "Sure, sure," they said. And now the new lots are too small for anything much other than just the house.

Close in neighborhood

Backing up a little

I'm in town, in a subdivision like everyone else, but I searched high and low for a house and a lot that had a little elbow room. My lot is a half acre, not that large by most standards but in this region with shoulder-to-shoulder building, it's substantial. There is a lot of undeveloped land around us that gives the impression of more space (marginal flood plain). My area.

There are embellishments on the houses that offer a sameness to otherwise varying designs. In the 1970s they put these little rock or brick things I refer to as "shoulders" on the front of each house, an affectation of some sort that lets you pigeonhole the date and the builder. I discovered last summer that there is a hot wire into each one where there was a lamp at one time. I'm going to have an electrician in this summer to take out the lines and then I'll dismantle the walls. I've approached muting the sameness of the house by creative landscaping and am pushing the boundaries of the tree placement rules (I've ignored the rule that says they have to be 10' back from the street--if you want good looking street trees they have to be closer to the street, and too many others have ignored the rule for too long for the village to come along and try to enforce it). Pulling back from my neighborhood reveals some small houses to the north, built in the 1940s in a cookie-cutter pattern (tied into a military base that is now dismantled). But though they are small and modestly priced they don't stay on the market long. Investors and young families snatch them up. They have a good layout plus hardwood floors and woodwork, and yards that are much larger than newe houses and established landscaping that makes them much less ticky tack than they might once have been considered.