Saturday, January 12, 2013

What nesting articles don't tell you

I'm a design fan and I (mostly) enjoy reading about great design in fabulous settings.  Often, though, there is a catch that the real estate equivalent of hagiography rarely mentions.   The most problematic lots get built last.   This time, I knew exactly why this lot was available.

I am intimately familiar with this view as I used to across the alley from this lot, on the quieter Pearl street side.

This type of modern aesthetic really appeals to me.  As does the view.  I lived in a nearby run-down Victorian sub-divided into four small apartments.  We used to dine al fresco in the backyard and enjoy a similar view.

I am surprised that the NY Times didn't even mention that these townhouses front a .very. busy arterial road, Canyon bouldevard. How were they able to photograph the homes without passing traffic?

The most appalling thing about this "journalism" is the lack of mention that they built underground in a flood plain. Take a look at the city of Boulder's flood plain map.  Ok, technically, this block--at ground level--is not in the flood plain. The homes featured in the story are on the lot shown as an aqua rectangle.  I lived on the quieter Pearl street side of this "island" in the flood plain.

But, anything underground is liable to flood.  In fact, Canyon boulevard did flood one late spring day in the early 1990s when a heavy rain coincided with snowmelt season.  We're not talking about shallow puddles.  We're talking kayaking along Canyon boulevard.  The city called that one a 50-year flood, a term of art which means that there is a 2% chance of such a flood occurring in any year.  I explained the statistics of that in The myth of the 100 year flood.

Many, many homes throughout the city flooded that day and it took weeks for the water to recede in many people's basements and ground level spaces.  The article mentioned that one of the owners moved to Boulder in the mid 1990s.  Did she know about that flood?

So they built $3M showcase homes on a busy street, adjacent to a flood plain, and then put the garages underground to maximize square footage.  I hope they have amphibious cars.

Remember Rolfing?   The Rolf Institute used to own several of the ramshackle homes on the Pearl street side of this block.

Related posts:

  • Fire is a river that runs uphill Killer views are also deathtraps for their occupants and they cost the rest of the taxpayers a mint to protect.
  • Recycling shipping containers Another high-ceilinged and high-volume home that robs their neighbors of light and air flow.  Large homes are a socially communicable disease.  Remember my favorite Jacaranda tree in the front yard of the adjacent small home?  The tree and small house were razed to create another huge house.  Now there is an entire row of these huge homes, without their stately old trees.


  1. Developers misrepresenting their wares? Par for the course, no? With regard to how they took that picture on a busy intersection, maybe it was taken at, like 4am? the light does look rather pre-dawn in the photograph! But those views are quite stunning, what a gorgeous area you live in :)
    Thank you for your comment, and yes, anything referencing Wodehouse has got to be a good thing :)

  2. Looks like we both got a photo of the Vail Ave. jacaranda before it was gone:
    It was nice to have such a pretty tree across from the Lincoln school playground.


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