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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Matilda Street has no curb appeal

I apologize to all residents on Matilda Street, but Matilda Street wins the award for the ugliest street in the Grove, except for maybe these two houses, which are in a cul de sac off of Madilda. This is what Matilda used to look like.

And there are one or two more nice places on Matilda, but basically it's all row after row of prefabricated looking townhomes. You know the type -- the one that is all garage exposed to the street -- no character, no beauty. UGLY. I took a walk from Bird Avenue to Grand Avenue and this is what I saw. I don't even know what this ugly thing is below.

This is what the Grove is going to become if we don't start fighting the demolition of the quaint older places or at least start regulating the architecture of what is built. Greedy developers build this crap and I guess people with no taste buy them. I just can't imagine house hunting in the Grove and choosing this junk over other beautiful houses available -- some new, some old, but with character. Gifford Lane may end up like this if we let it.

While I feel that Coral Gables is way over built now, I don't think this would happen there, they have some sort of review board there. I don't think this would happen in the Art Deco District of South Beach either.
Here anything goes.

The houses in the neighborhoods should fit in. Can you see this crap in New Orleans or Boston's Back Bay? They would not allow it.

I felt like approaching the homeowners who I saw out in front of their houses and ask them "why?" But I didn't wanna cause a fight, so I just kept moving. The terrace and awning above is a nice touch, and they actually went out of their way here to block the ugly garage and add some character. The green on the house and the foliage really
enhance it.

Look at this. No curb appeal and nothing nice about it. That "for sale" sign is gonna be there for quite awhile I am guessing, unless some fool with a seeing eye dog is in the market.

The builders of these places have no imagination. I bet they were at the bottom of their classes in design and architecture. I can do it myself: Slap in a two car garage and build around it. Put the bedrooms above the garage and squeeze in the living room on the bottom floor, and usually squeeze in a kitchen/dining area on the second floor.

Use inferior materials -- formica and such, unless the buyer wants an upgrade. Use all white for the interiors, even the kitchens. Just slap it together fast and put a for sale sign up. That's the technique.

But the funny thing is that people actually buy this ugliness. "Build it and they will come," never rang so true. I don't even wanna know what this thing is above. Did they run out of room? Why is the second floor hanging out like that on the side?

I could walk around and take some pictures of classier townhouses, but you have seen them and know the difference. They have bricks, they have larger windows, they have couryards and the garages are not the main feature.

Some of the good ones look like French villages, some have deep darker paint colors and are embellished with classier framework. Some are designed so well that you actually miss them as you walk by, they blend in. Many can be seen on Virginia Street near Shipping and near Bird; and of course on and around Ruth and Jackson.

But poor Matilda Street is the ugliest street in the Grove. Looks like they just slapped it together with no thought.

Let the comments begin . . .

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Archi-next said...

They should flunk all those wannabee architects.

Having gone through a major remodeling myself (9 months) which included heavy redesign of the house, I can truly say that most architects are really mediocre and they are being given permission to be mediocre by owners with no sense of style.

We interviewed 3 architects and they all came down with, essentially, the same drawing. One had a little tiny bit of a difference here, another there but, essentially, they were all the same.

What we did is go around the Gables and the Grove and took pictures of all the details we thought made a difference on homes we found beautiful, then saw about incorporating them in the house.

Sadly, most people will never have the time, money or endurance to do that. Pity. Beautiful homes make such a difference.

Having said that, I really find a lot of the "quaint" older homes delapidated, falling apart and plain ugly. Age does not equal beauty automatically. So, all in all, I am for tearing down old (and new) ugly homes and spending time really thinking about the design of the upcoming ones.

February 03, 2008 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the lack of imagination coming from architects as well as buyers. for the most part, many of the "look alike" ugly townhomes in the Grove (and elsewhere) didn't even use architects, per se - - the developers just used went ahead and did what had been done before.

having said all that, two points - one photo of the modernesque white collection on Matilda and Bird - - that has been there in the Grove for at least 20 years, in fact, it was built shortly after Lemontree Village. Also, as far as the one with the 2 stories where the top story looks a bit off whack....that was, once upon a time, a typical grove duplex and the owner added the second story. nuff said.

February 03, 2008 12:46 PM  
Anonymous dreaming said...

you are quite correct in your aesthetic judgments about these ugly houses, in my opinion.

however, it's a little late, isn't it? these things are everywhere, lining almost every street.

the interiors are usually quite nice. why can't the exteriors be made nicer?

also, why does every new townhouse in the grove have to have an ugly fence around it? it's not going to keep intruders out, is it? i know it's a cultural thing. the latinos like this. however, it is truly ugly and not a little ridiculous. every house looks like a prison camp.

February 03, 2008 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Carlos Miller said...

This is not just about the Grove and this not just modern architecture, this is about modern-day America.

We are a cookie-cutter culture. The new houses that are popping up in Miami today look the same as the ones popping up in Seattle.

The shopping malls are the same everywhere. Even the ones that are supposed to be unique are the same, such as Riverwalk in San Antonio and Bayside in Miami and that new one in Orlando, Downtown Disney or whatever it's called.

This is all about the corporatization of America, something Grove residents have been seeing with much frequency lately, especially over the Home Depot situation.

And the only way to stop it is to boycott it. But it's going to take more than just a few Grove residents. It's going to have to involve Americans from all over.

February 03, 2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can thank your commissioner, Marc Sarnoff, for this mess. As president of the Village of the Center Grove, he told the Planning Advisory Board that the residents of the Center Grove did not want or need the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD), an ordinance and addendum to the building code put together by the number one town planning firm in the world, DPZ, that would have set appropriate guidelines for all new development in the neighborhood and would have prevented the Kendall-like mini Mac-Mansion mess we have now.

It's so sad. We had a chance to prevent this, Sarnoff and his ignorant supporters blew it.

February 03, 2008 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing is uglier than Lofts of Mayfair on Virginia. It simply is not attractive and looks like a warehouse. It should definitely not be in the Grove!

February 03, 2008 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually lived in the house that has the added second story about 25 years ago. Before the wall, there sat a beautiful ficus tree on the corner and a healthy Kumkaut tree out the back door.
Someone once told me that in the Grove, it doesn't matter how bad the architecture is as long as the trees grow back and cover it up. This has worked in the south and north Grove, but the center grove is so paved in concrete that there is nowhere to plant a tree. Pull up some of that concrete and start planting!!
It makes me very sad to ride through the center Grove. There is little left to remind me of the Grove of yesteryear. I avoid it like the slums of Kendall.

February 04, 2008 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could of course be pointed out that this is exactly the kind of thing Miami21 would prevent but MNU doesn't want their freedom to have god awful buildings breached.

February 04, 2008 3:38 PM  
Blogger wtanders said...

Matilda St. is not that bad, but it's center Grove, and many streets in the center look like this, with mostly new construction, and minor amount of older homes sprinkled in between.

Also, why pick on Matilda? There are many streets that look the same - like is Mary any better?

Look, people are selling old homes, the developer moves in, with the cheapest plans to maximize square footage - this is all old news..... no one likes it, but we all love the grove.

Honestly, where would you rather live on Matilda or some where in SW Dade - I would take a house on Matilda any day. Location, location, location.

So I agree let's get out there and plant some trees!

But, do not pick on only Matilda.


February 04, 2008 4:19 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

Mary and Virginia still have some character. Matilda is a total mess and beyond hope.

February 04, 2008 4:22 PM  
Anonymous June said...

Thanks for bringing attention to our community's destruction by greedy and well connected developers/builders. Have you seen the number of ugly houses GREC Homes has built in the Grove they are connected to the Sedanos Supermarket, for the past few years they have been building ugly out of place monsters, damaging the character and ambiance of almost every residential street Coconut Grove. The photos tells the whole story very clearly.

February 04, 2008 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to preserve the character of Coconut Grove is to go for more historic districts. That does not means you can’t add on to your property or even, in some cases, tear it down. But what it does mean, is that you need to have it reviewed. What you are doing with historic preservation ordinances more than anything is protecting yourself against your neighbor.

February 05, 2008 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do historic districts mean you still get to park your car on the sidewalk? 'Cause that's what I think of when I think of Center Grove.

February 07, 2008 12:13 AM  

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