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Mid-century modern design, locally: Alan McCullough

Dear readers,

Because I could not bring you to the Bay (sorry, no room in the car with a handsome husband, two chilluns, two dogs, and a visiting German mother-in-law sandwiched in between the suitcases and fishing rods!), I have brought the Bay to you, and with it, mid-century modern architecture *and* older, traditional cottages and farmhouses.

As we look 'round the world for inspiration, sometimes we forget to look slowly, carefully, about ourselves and our own local environs.

Hence, I present an architect who had a great impact on a certain point in a certain area of the Chesapeake Bay: Alan McCullough.

Before I present his mid-century architecture, I'd like to start with two traditional types of design you will find in this area: the cottage, and the farmhouse.

In both you find passive solar concepts:
  • a long, slanting front porch facing south for the cottage
  • kitchen to the north, with a smaller, shaded porch and outbuildings
  • carefully placed windows
  • use of deciduous trees for shade
  • casement windows and partitions
  • AFFORDABLE construction

Here are some examples of these two types of architecture that prevailed locally in the 1800s-1940s:

And more:
(now remember, many of these pictures were taken as we were driving, and when the driver is from Hamburg, that is often quite fast, so hang on for the ride!)

In the 1940s, a group of friends bought lots for about $500 on the end of a certain point on a certain area of the Chesapeake Bay, and one of those friends was Mr. McCullough, who happily happened to be an architect.

Mr. McCullough deftly sketched elements that are still important in green building and modern design today:
- harnessing the breeze to cool
- stout chimneys for warmth
- overhangs
- breezeways -- note the openings between many elements of his design! - screens for privacy yet allow air circulation

...and more...

And with this, I present...

Mid-century modern on the Bay!

If you glance to your left, this is one of the few two-storied residences Mr. McCullough created.

Many of these buildings appear to be happily overtaken by camellia bushes
which are bursting into bloom right now...

Look closely at the details, always look for the chimney stack, the overhangs, the casement windows/screens, and the ever-present open breezeway, even if later owners closed it.
Look even more closely... yes, the chairs & tables folded away for the winter yet hold all the promise of another great summer ahead.

Are those real antlers in the hall?

Honeychile, this is Virginia, yes they are.

Below is my absolute, unabashed favorite.

One day this house will be mine.

Fortunately, all of the amazing detail of the mod screens, chimneys, open breezeway and entrance are lost on the internet because of the weathered woodland so you won't covet it... because it's mine, all mine!

...and more...

This home, desperately crying for someone to hack its camellias, upon closer inspection has a central stack and hexagon shape.

Why the heck are all these architectural structures of note trying to hide their figures? It's like voluptuous starlets that have been sold the waif look.

No need to hide, ladies, sashay down the carpet and celebrate yourself!

Can you imagine what this gal looks like on the inside? I bet it's mod... real mod.

Ok if you've made it this far, let me know if you want to see more.
I have several posts that could relate to this...

In the meantime...
Enjoy some more pictures.

I adore this fish...

Check out the wind vane...

This fish tried to eat my mother-in-law but I smacked it away. Hiiiii-ya! Take that.


P.s. I have about 400 more pictures, all on architecture in the area, so if you want to see more just let me know.


"Dag that was a long walk!"

Oh giiiiiive me a hooooooome... where the buffalo roam...

Yes, maw, in the south there's buffalo *everywhere*..... really.

Oyster beds... another topic to write about...

This is what I look at when I fish. It's very, very quiet.

Yes, I took a picture of myself. Geek.

...And *this* is the hidden easter egg for Sally and Jane to see if they're reading.

Heh, heh...

J&S: Do you feel twelve again?

Every time I walk past here I crack up when I think about those bikini tops... Which could go into the third topic I'd like to write (and have plenty o' pictures for...) about: fences and their meanings.

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At 10/4/09, 10:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friend, lovely that you should write about our father, Alan McCullough, but many of the houses you photographed were not designed by him. The house you claim will be yours one day, presently owned by the Francos, was altered significantly in the seventies by then owners, so it no longer looks the way he designed it. oh well. best to you

At 10/5/09, 11:16 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

We would love to see a list of your father's homes (a lot of the pictures here were of traditional architecture of fishing, farmhouses, not just of modern)!

If you could share a list of Richmond and Chesapeake Bay homes we could even do a follow up piece on him / would you like to contribute stories?


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