One drawback to walking outside only once a week is that I lose track of what’s going on in my neighborhood. Today I was alarmed to see an excavator in the front yard of the little pink stucco cottage around the corner from me on Summit Street. As I approached, I could see that the house appeared to have been gutted, and there was a building permit staked in the yard.
When we moved to this neighborhood in 1980, our house (by virtue of having already been built onto) was the largest one on the block, with the possible exception of the two corner houses that face on Bayview Street, which runs along the bluff overlooking the bay. Since then our next-door neighbors on both sides have essentially doubled the size of their houses with additions, as have other neighbors down the street in both directions. Of the thirteen houses on the street, five are new construction, made possible by demolition of existing houses. Needless to say, each new house is larger than the former one.
The case of the little pink house will be no different, I’m sure. It sits on one side of a double lot, so its replacement will doubtless spread out to fill the allowable area and will almost certainly be two stories high. The existing single-story house has just two small bedrooms and one bath, a modest living/dining room, and a combined kitchen and breakfast room, plus a small screened front porch. A pull-down stair once provided access to an attic that appears to be standing height at the center. The house also boasts a daylight basement (rare in this area), but today there was water standing in it from yesterday’s rain, and it smelled dank and unusable.
Probably no one will really mourn the loss of this house. Much of its flooring has been removed, exposing rotting subfloor. Paneling in the bedrooms has likewise been removed to reveal faded and mildewed wallpaper. The breakfast room, with windows on three sides, must have been very pleasant, and what was left of the kitchen looked promising. It may well have been a cozy abode. Still, the owners’ attempts to sell or even rent it had not met with much success of late, and it had stood empty for many months.
It will be interesting to see what takes its place.