Sometimes, it's love at first sight.
In late 2014, I had all but given up on finding a new home--something I'd been looking for for over a year. I had resigned myself to renovating the brick Victorian I had loved and occupied for 11 years in the city of Rochester.
In my search, here's what I was not looking for: a home in the suburbs (I had been a city boy for the 17 years I'd lived in Rochester and much of my time before that; I had none of the needs for suburbia that so often cause urban flight: good schools being the main one in Rochester); a home smaller than the one I currently owned; a Ranch (though, to be honest, I'd always had a certain ironic fascination and admiration for the style...though I never dreamed of living in one); a large yard; and a price-point above what I'd set for myself.
I also had some distinctive needs: I am a photography collector, and I needed a place that would allow me to house and show my collection. Something with significant wall space. I have books. I needed bookcases (or, at least, places to put them).
Sometimes, it's love at first sight.
On a whim, a co-worker and friend suggested one day that we visit a house for sale. It matched none of the criteria I was looking for, but appeared from the listing photographs to have a funky and interesting interior. I'm always up for visiting houses, so we went.
The moment I stepped into the Alcoa Care-Free home, I was seized with an immediate desire--more than that: an almost physical need--to own this home. I remember walking through the house, holding my breath and trying to figure out how I could accommodate all those requirements that had seemed so clear to me before walking in. After all, here was a home with lots of glass, but far less wall space for displaying my collection, with no bookcases (didn't they read in the '50s?!), a huge yard. It was smaller than the house I currently owned (and higher priced). And it was in the suburbs. But its radiance, its funkiness, its meticulous detail, the smartness and consideration of its design, and--lest I downplay it--the immaculate nature of the restoration of the interior and the landscaping by its (then) owners, Michael Linsner and Steven Plouffe, exerted an extraordinary pull on me. But how was I going to make this work?
And then I saw the basement.
Unfinished, practically the entire footprint of the house itself, with high enough ceilings to be comfortable, the basement provided me with a solution to my problem. Finishing it and turning it into a studio would give me the extra space, the bookcases, the display area, and the opportunity to control humidiy and temperature (luckily it's a dry basement...mostly!) that I needed.
So now, after 7 months of work, the Alcoa Care-Free Home, with its luminous interior, its open plan that allows each space to flow effortlessly and elegantly into one other, its magnificent terrace for entertaining, its interior courtyard, its wonderful garden, its anodized and shimmering paneling that catches the light in surprising and magical ways, its abundance of storage, is the place I call home.
To be truthful, one shouldn't feel so strongly about a house (after all, there are more important, animate things in life to love, to pursue, and to admire).
Sometimes you're powerless.
And it's love at first sight.
This website is intended for those interested in the Alcoa Care-Free Home, for those interested in mid-century architecture and design, Americana, vernacular architecture, or the merely curious. Some things to note:
All current (ie contemporary) images on the site are my own. They're not "staged," so they're a little rough around the edges...certainly not worthy of the likes of an Architectural Digest or a design magazine. That being said,
If you'd like to use, reproduce, or post anything from this site on other sites on the web (or in any other medium), please ask first. I'm (generally) happy to oblige.
The text used in the ABOUT menus, specifically relating to the history, description, specs of the house, and the biography of its architect are taken, almost verbatim, from the (succesful) application submitted by the former owners for the house's inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. That document was prepared by Robert T. Englert, an Historic Preservation Program Analyst with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation who drew from various sources (for those interested I am happy to provide them). I suspect that the former owners, Michael Linsner and Steven Plouffe, had a strong hand in the writing, too.
The documents reproduced in the PRESS page and any images associated with those documents, remain the sole copyright of the original authors/owners.
All historic images are culled, either from documents I have in hand or from the web. If there is something on the site that violates your copyright, do let me know.
Similarly, any factual errors, ommissions, or additions: please let me know or provide feedback. This is a work in progress.
Enjoy your virtual time in the ALCOA CARE-FREE HOME