Do you live in a house with a top class architectural pedigree?
If so, listen up, because the conservation body that looks after Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater has come up with a crafty way to get the windows replaced: sell the old ones off to architectural relic hunters.
Their website explains that the old windows are suffering from decay (hmmm, wonder if all that falling water is to blame – the owner’s father dubbed the place ‘rising mildew’?).
And this, architecture groupies, is where you come in:
“Naming opportunities range from $500 to $10,000 and up for each window, skylight, glass door, or set of windows, depending on the size and location.
“You will receive a commemorative piece of the old Fallingwater glass, framed along with a drawing of the house, specifying the window that you have endowed.
“Additionally, if you endow a window at $1,000 or more, you will be recognized on a donor wall in the Fallingwater Visitors Pavilion.”
$1,000 for a bit of old glass? Genius!
Here’s a nice video about the house:
I’ve just read an interesting blog post by David Lawrenson over at Letting Focus about a potentially expensive pitfall for tenants in the whole lease option idea.
• Tenant rents property in usual way
• Landlord offers option to buy within a defined period (a year or two, for example) at a price agreed today
• Tenant pays lump sum up front (£2-3k, for example) plus a premium on the rent for the privilege
• If tenant buys, he gets some of this back plus the benefit of last year’s house prices; if he doesn’t buy, he loses the money invested
Now, in theory, there’s nothing wrong with the idea – house-builders have used this ‘rent to buy’ concept as a way to sell when times are tough and it’s been great for struggling first-time buyers.
But what if the landlord is a small-scale buy-to-let investor? And what happens if said investor, for example, defaults on his mortgage payments or goes bust?
This is especially worth asking since some investment ‘gurus’ are pitching the lease option idea to struggling landlords – see this lease options article, for example.
From the tenant’s point of view, as David points out, the process may be fraught with risk.
Is he right? If any of you out there know more about this, we’d like to hear your views.
Here’s a very clever bit of extension invention in London N1 (Canonbury) – a basement conversion that makes smart use of an existing light well to create a glowing glass lantern that hovers over the new dining room.
The extension has a full-height sliding glass door opening onto a fanned staircase that leads up to the garden.
Interesting piece in The Times yesterday about a property that, at 7’7″ wide, may well be the narrowest house in London.
It’s in London SW11 and is owned by singer-songwriter Polly Paulusma – she’s supported Bob Dylan and Coldplay – and comes with an elongated reception room that measures 7’7″ x 42’2″ (Foxtons, Tel: 020 7801 1111).
Almost as narrow – 2.4m (or 7’10”) – is the Gap House, which recently won the prestigious RIBA Manser Medal, an annual prize awarded for the best one-off house or major extension designed by an architect in the UK.
It was designed by Pitman Tozer Architects to slot between two white stucco villas on Monmouth Road in Bayswater.
However, unlike Polly Paulusma’s house, this one widens out behind the villas into more regular dimensions. Still pretty skinny, though!