Toledo's Alcoa aluminum house, 1 of 14

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    Washington-based architect Charles Goodman designed 23 homes for Alcoa Aluminum's "Care-free Home" demonstration project. Among them is this 2,700 square-foot gem in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg. While the home is not entirely aluminum, the purple decorative panels on the exterior, the doors both in and out, the door frames, many of the walls, and much of the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry is made of aluminum. Absent the aluminum, you still have a classic mid-century modern house. With its unusual pedigree, it's a something more.

    The long narrative about Charles Goodman in the link above contains a nutshell glimpse of the architect that deserves a little sunlight:
    "Chuck Goodman was a slight man who designed modest little houses, but he suffered the classic affliction of the modern architect: a monster ego. A flinty, irritable, blunt-speaking chain-smoker from Chicago, Goodman tended toward outbursts—against Eisenhower, perhaps, or in favor of aluminum as a building material. 'He would deliver not a lecture but a diatribe at the drop of a hat,' says Robert Lautman, 79, Goodman's photographer for more than 20 years. 'And he could be absolutely charming, too.'

    The Perrysburg home, built by Gustav H. Feldtmann, was open to visitors for a six-week period shortly after completion in 1957. It contains more than 7,500 pounds of aluminum and also features brick, steel, wood, and extensive use of glass.

    The home was purchased in 1965 by Jack and Jeanne Lever -- only the second owners. Mrs. Lever, now a widow, is moving to a retirement home and has the house on the market ($239,000). She hopes to find a buyer who respects the home and will not alter it.

    Update: [October 2, 2006] I heard from the Realtor today that the price is now $209,999.

    I contacted the realtor, Kay McArdle, and asked if I could photograph it. She contacted the owner for permission and then kindly gave me run of the place during an open house.

    Addendum: Another flickr member, Jenlef, has a nice set of shots showing her house in Hollin Hills, a subdivision in Fairfax County, Virginia where all 450 homes were designed by Charles Goodman.
    One of her other sets has some views of the exterior of her house.

    jscott.smith, MCMAdmirer, and 6 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 9 more comments

    1. Joey Harrison 95 months ago | reply

      Just funning you, dude.

    2. Joey Harrison 95 months ago | reply

      Yet more information added to my description, for anyone interested.

    3. moderns_r_us 95 months ago | reply


      Thanks for posting those picks.

      I have posted some more info about the this house on a thread mentioning your photos at Lotta Living.

      Woud you consider posting these photos directly into the thread there? Or with you permission I could post them from this host.

    4. Joey Harrison 95 months ago | reply

      Moderns: Thanks for the link. I'm not familiar with that site. Since the thread contains a link to this set right at the top of the discussion, I think that's probably good enough.

    5. Moxette 95 months ago | reply

      A really interesting house and story, Joey
      Hope she manages to find a sympathetic buyer.

    6. Joey Harrison 95 months ago | reply

      Me too. I wouldn't be surprised if some out-of-town buyer who knows all about Goodman swooped in to take advantage of this affordable gem.

    7. jscott.smith 95 months ago | reply

      There used to be a remark among historic preservationists: aluminum is for wrapping chickens, not houses. Not many of them would apply it to this. Not your average aluminum siding.

    8. Joey Harrison 95 months ago | reply

      This stuff is wrapping a rare bird.

    9. sfp237 77 months ago | reply

      Thanks for posting these great pics. We just purchased an alcoa house in June of 07 that is located in Rochester NY and we are completely in love with it!!!!!!! The place was somewhat neglected when we moved in and have done a lot of interior and exterior work. Unfortunately the kitchen and bathrooms are not original so our plans are to redo them more to period.

    10. Joey Harrison 77 months ago | reply

      Your place is fabulous. You've got so much period-appropriate fixtures and appointments. That flooring in the living room is wild. Is it a rug? And I love the painting over the couch, and the triple hanging lamp next to it. I see you have a large plaster nun. I've got some small plaster statues from catholic churches and I've always wanted one of these big ones. Your kitchen may not be original, but that multi-color buffet is terrific. Did you have that made? I like your molded laminate chair in the bedroom too. Is that an Eames chair? Speaking of which, I just googled Eames chair and found this interesting TV clip of Charles and Rae (channeling Mary Todd Lincoln) Eames introducing their line of chairs to the Today (?) show. Anyhow, thanks so much for commenting and providing the link to your photos. I doubt the place could have a more sympathetic owner. Best wishes to you.

    11. Moxette 77 months ago | reply

      Isn't it just! I had a look too, sfp237, and it's wonderful. I like the eclectic mix of furniture and knick-knacks. It can be boring when everything is all in one style but you've made an interesting interior.

      I particularly like a square painting (amongst a wall full of paintings), which looks very abstract but has a little dog at the bottom.

    12. sfp237 77 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the comments. We replaced all of the carpeted areas of the house with flor tiles(, they are 19 by 19 tiles that very easy to install. When we moved in the triple hanging light and the telephone table were not there. We found them in the basement and are grateful that they weren't thrown out over time. Another interesting thing that has been passed down is the original sales brochure that showed unique wall mounted toilets, stackable washer and dryer, etc. It even contains a listing of all the Alcoa models that were built accross the country. Some day I will have to scan that in and post it.

      The statue is of Saint Theresa and I somehow ended up with it as it was passed down in my family. I wasn't sure about it in the beginning but it has grown on me.

      The multi-colored buffet is original and I believe is present in every Alcoa house. We were very happy that it wasn't painted!!!!!!

      The black chair in the bedroom is an Eames lcw chair and believe it or not it is very comfortable. The painting with the dog is our artist friends rendition of our dog Woody.

      I think all of the Alcoa houses that were built are exactly the same dimensions but it was nice to see the slight differences in the Toledo house with its fireplace and closed in courtyard off the bedrooms. A previous owner has enclosed our carport which we were very grateful for given our northeast winters.

    13. Joey Harrison 77 months ago | reply

      Yes, please do scan that list of all the Alcoa houses. Perhaps we could get a flickr group going with pictures of each. Meanwhile, why don't you post your own photos here. You'll get lots of comments, I'm sure, and maybe you'll scare up some folks with personal memories of your place.

    14. moderns_r_us 77 months ago | reply

      I would love to see that list of locations too!

    15. sfp237 77 months ago | reply

      Joey...I posted some pics here and have scanned in the sales brochure. I am not as talented of a photographer as you but I hope they are acceptable. Still have to take some of the kitchen and bathrooms.

    16. e5095 65 months ago | reply

      Wonderful photos - thanks for posting these! We live in a Goodman house in Reston built in '65 called Hickory Cluster and as I found out more and more about Charles Goodman, I came to find out he had designed all the houses I liked in the DC area!

    17. Joey Harrison 64 months ago | reply

      e5095: Somehow I missed your comment. I checked your stream and couldn't find any photos of your house. If you post any, please add a link here. I'd love to see your place.

    18. e5095 63 months ago | reply

      Hi, I have one set with lots of boring shots of our house - mostly interior I think:

      But you get the idea - it's called Hickory Cluster and is actually three blocks of townhouses built in '65 in Reston, VA. What's not shown in the photos is that all these homes are air-conditioned via a system using lakewater pumped through a cooling tower and then piped around to all the houses near the lake. So in summer there's no disruptive sounds of compressors anywhere in the neighborhood because the coolant is just this piped cold water! How progressive is that for 1965! Nothing but songbirds to be heard (oh ok and the occasional jumbo jet on final approach to Dulles).

    19. Joey Harrison 63 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the link. This is my first good look at another side of Charles Goodman. Your place looks both modern and very comfortable.

    20. e5095 63 months ago | reply

      Thanks Joey! Goodman homes are modern and comfy, aren't they? We love ours and very happy to have found it - well wooded/sited and fantastic neighborhood in a well planned community. If you make it to DC, also check out Hollin Hills in Arlington, VA.

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