ReModern Movement, Is Now The Time?

3030-cabin-john-ecosteel

Chances are, if you've ever researched modern homes online, you've seen the name Gregory La Vardera.  In addition to maintaining a house plan blog (and contributing to a number of other sites and forums), he's on Houseplans.com, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and probably a thousand other services.  Frankly, he's all over the place, and he's trying to incite the kind of housing rebellion we're interested in seeing.  In a blog article dated May 14, 2009, La Vardera describes the ReModern Movement — a time when people build their own modern or green house — and provides a list of reasons for why now is the time:

  1. Builders and developers just don't build them;
  2. Builders need your work and they'll be more affordable;
  3. Lending is starting to come back and rates are reasonably low;
  4. Now is a chance moment to reshape the market;
  5. Build it now, because you will likely do well when the market returns;
  6. Become part of the self-fulling solution to turn things around.

Of course, La Vardera explains the ReModern Movement in long form, and I've summarized it here for simplicity.  But let's think this through.  Maybe he has a point.  Think back to when you last purchased or looked for a home.  If you wanted something modern, green, energy-efficient, or well-designed, did you find it?  Do you want to find it?  Shouldn't you be able to find it?

If you build it, will others follow?

From my perspective, not everything needs to be new construction.  You could also buy an existing home and greenly renovate it with modern amenities.  But new construction works, too.  And let's be honest, contemporary and green homes are few and far between.  So what do you think?  Is now the time for the ReModern Movement?

Photo credit: flickr: lavardera.  This image shows the construction progress of the green 3030 House designed by Gregory La Vardera for a home owner in Cabin John, Maryland. 


  • http://mportlandrealestate.com/ Portland Real Estate

    I think it would be a great time for that movement. It would be wonderful for the planet, and I think that it would spur a lot of ideas and innovation that might not have come around if it werent for everyone making their own home and home design.

  • http://www.postgreenhomes.com Chad Ludeman

    First of all, Greg is the man. Second of all, yes, now is the time.

    We have surpassed the 50% mark for our population living in urban areas vs. rural. People in urban locations seem to gravitate towards modern if they are given the option. The problem is most developers don’t think they can succeed by giving them the option.

    One of the funny things we have been noticing in Philly is how some developers walk through one of our modern homes and then actually go out and hire (or at least interview) modern architects. They do so after seeing how people respond to the design compared to traditional new homes in the area. They also do so because they see people buying them before they’re built.

    When it comes down to it for developers, it’s a great niche market. Green could be argued to be a niche market for now, but soon many will be jumping on the bandwagon. There are probably other architectural styles that are also not being served well in the past decades that are ripe for reinvention as well. It doesn’t just have to be modern…

    The suburbs are a different story. They will be building boring architecture for years to come most likely…

  • Brian N.

    That is very sound logic. What better way to set your property apart during a time like this, than to build green an with distinctive design!

    The more green projects that are built, the more prices will come down and the more accepted modern design will become. The REALm impact will come when all of these green features are affordable for the majority, not the minority.

  • Brian Jewett

    First off, I’d like to point out that Modern and Green are not synonymous. There are plenty of ugly neo-traditional “green” homes being built and marketed. Now is obviously a great time to build green. It’s practically the only thing besides foreclosures being sold in the last 6 months. Green is the new black, green is the new iPod, green is the new infallible white wash that can sell almost anything.

    That said, I think it’s always been a good time to sell modernism. In my experience , the market for a well designed modern home has always out paced their availability. True, maybe only 10% of home buyers will buy a truly modernist home but I’d bet that’s still more than 10 times the availability. My wife and I owned Gregory Ain’s Dunsmuir Flats for about 8 years. This was true the whole time we owned it and from what I’ve read was true when he built it in 1939. The four apartments were finished very simply with paint grade cabinets, subway tile and standard Oak floors of the time and yet they were all rented for much more than anything else in the neighborhood before the building was finished and the whole time we owned the building. We never had a unit empty for longer than it took to clean it up and always had our pick of excellent tenants. Even now as we’re getting ready to build a modern house in Vermont where modern is practically a dirty word. Our architect, who only builds modern style, says this has been true for every home he’s built.

    So I say, Ignore your mother and your real estate agent. In my experience, modernism has always been a great investment, and specially if it’s at a reasonable price range.

    • Noah James

      Hi Brian,

      I like your advice about ignoring your mother and realtor. Now I’d like to know who your architect is. Please do email me his information to jnphotography(gmail.com). Thank you.

  • Tim Roberson

    I am a developer I have 22 lots on a hill that is in a rual area, they have a nice view of a lake. All the homes in front of my plate are traditional homes. My question would people want to live in a modern community with this setting?

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      Depending on location, I definitely think an all modern community would work.

      There’s one in Dallas called Urban Reserve — all the homes are contemporary and roughly 20-30% more efficient than code built homes. Last time I checked, most of the lots in the community were sold. And I’ve heard of several of these communities across the country.

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