There’s a great little Paul Rudolph house on the market down in Venice. Whoops, it’s just been sold. No, wait—they need backup offers. Let’s just pray the deal falls through, because this one has an awful lot going for it, particularly location and price.
It’s set on Venice Island, just a couple of blocks from downtown, yet it’s also on good boating water, with room for a 30-foot boat and no bridges to the bay. The view is terrific—straight down the canal, which is lined with docks, boats and palm trees. The house itself was built in 1957, just before Rudolph left Sarasota to become dean of Yale Architecture School, and it seems to be in its original, very well-preserved state.
It’s a perfect size for a small house, almost 2,000 square feet, with two bedrooms, two baths, and a living room/dining room with a slightly vaulted ceiling that looks out on the view and a smallish pool/spa with a waterfall edge. The interior has a lot of glass walls, plus a grid pattern of grey 1950s bricks. Terrazzo floors and mature landscaping that has grown up over the years.
Although I must say, the realtor’s website has a sentence that disturbs me. “Some will love the challenge of owning a vintage modern with many original elements, others will want to start over with the downtown waterfront home of their dreams.” What does this mean? Tear it down? And why is owning a vintage modern home such a challenge? To me it’s an exciting privilege. Why is Helen Moore (the Michael Saunders realtor) even planting such ideas in people’s minds? Does she know that Paul Rudolph houses are coming back in style big time? In our August issue we have a big story about another Rudolph house, the Halston—yes, that Halston—Residence in New York City. It’s currently on the market for $38.5 million. This one is a paltry $599,000. Sounds like an incredible bargain to me.