Local Advocate Hopes Good News for Housing Market Means Good News for Modernist Houses

August 25, 2009 (DURHAM, NC) — After the Associated Press reported last week that “the U.S. housing market is rebounding faster than expected” (News & Observer), George Smart of Durham, NC, the founder and director of Triangle Modernist Archives Inc, (TMA) is hoping some of that momentum will help preserve some of the modern houses currently on the market in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill region of North Carolina.

tmhbannerSmart is the founder and director of Triangle Modernist Archives, Inc., a non-profit entity that archives and advocates modernist residential design. It’s website, www.trianglemodernisthouses.com, includes a free “For Sale” section that spotlights modernist houses on the market solely for the purpose of helping them find new owners. TMA does not receive a percentage of the sale.

At present, the list includes 45 residences, from a 1949 house in Chapel Hill designed by Jim Webb to Dwell Magazine’s “Next House” in Hillsborough, designed by Joel Turkel and completed in 2007.

“Any Triangle modernist homeowner or real estate agent can participate,” Smart explained. “All they have to do is send an email with the house address, city, owner’s name, year built, square feet, and architect, if known; photos of the front, back, kitchen, and living room; and a link to where readers can get more information. Typically this is a real estate company website or MLS. Submissions, if approved, are generally reviewed, edited, and posted within 48 hours.”

(MLS, or the Multiple Listing Service, is a real estate service that combines listings for all available properties in an area, except For-Sale-By-Owner properties, in one directory or database.)

TriangleModernistHouses.com has helped many homeowners and realtors sell new and mid-century modern residences in the Triangle area and, in some cases, as far away as Charlotte to the west and Rocky Mount to the east, thanks to a growing data base of modernist enthusiasts who sign up for Smart’s email updates or visit the site frequently.

“Our historical content and detail is unrivaled,” Smart said, “which is why devoted modernist-oriented visitors return again and again.”

According to Raleigh realtor Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson, the website listing and tour sponsored of the dramatically modern, 3900-square-foot home overlooking Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh helped her sell that property. The house was designed by Jessica Johnson Moore.

TMH.com helped drive interest in the Johnson House overlooking Lake Boone Trial in Raleigh.
TMH.com helped drive interest in the Johnson House overlooking Lake Boone Trial in Raleigh.

“From a realtor’s standpoint, TMH absolutely drives more eyes toward, and more conversation around, the modernist houses we list,” she said. “It is extremely helpful, and George and his board are just dynamic people. I applaud them for their advocacy and thank them for their efforts.”

Smart noted that he frequently receives calls from modern home enthusiasts as far away as California and Maine who have found his website online and seek out his help in matching them with an existing home or connecting them with a local architect who can design one for them. The website also maintains information on modern architects working in the Triangle today as well as an archive of past modernists who contributed to the area’s built environment.

A Raleigh native and the son of an architect, George Smart loves to point out a little known fact: that the Triangle area “is the third largest concentration of modernist houses in America. We have more than anywhere except LA and Chicago,” he said.

He’s hoping the part of that concentration that’s currently for sale will find enthusiastic new owners as buyers return to the housing market.

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses and to view the list of homes for sale, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com and click on “For Sale.”

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc. (TMA) is a North Carolina nonprofit organization.  Established in 2007 by George Smart, the organization became a formal nonprofit in 2009.  TMA is committed to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle.  Our primary public service is managing Triangle Modernist Houses.com (TMH), an award-winning nonprofit educational archive for cataloguing, preserving, and advocating modernist residential design.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these works of art for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

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