An Albany Lustron! 355 South Main Ave – SOLD!

The Lustron home was a post-war effort at manufactured housing in a modern style.  All of the basic structural features – walls, ceiling, roof, framing – are made of steel.  Though they briefly captured the American imagination, fewer than 2,500 Lustrons were built between 1948 and 1950.  In the greater Capital Region, approximately 20 Lustrons still stand.

SOLD January 2014, $110,000

Times Union House of the Week 8/9/13

355 South Main Avenue is a Winchester model with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a detached garage on a slab foundation.  It features a newer kitchen (some steel cabinets remain) and a brand new bath and has just been re-carpeted.  Besides the metal walls, doors and ceilings the original features include a TV/shortwave radio console (not functioning) and a vanity in the larger bedroom.  It sits on an over-sized corner lot, one block from Whitehall Road.





There’s a great deal of information on the web about Lustrons.  For starters, check out Lustron Preservation and Lustron Connection, which has a very active Yahoo discussion board.  Also of interest is The New York State Lustron Project, which was sponsored by the Historic Albany Foundation.


Hexam Gardens, Niskayuna

Japanese Hexam Garden
There are only about 20 city blocks in the neighborhood known as Hexam Gardens, which is bordered by Troy-Schenectady Road (Rt 7), Balltown Road and St. David’s Lane.  Quiet tree-lined streets as far as the eye can see.  And some charming ranches and splits as well, mostly dating from the ’60s and ’70s.

A fellow agent asks…

“I’ve got this client…”  (Lots of conversations between real estate agents begin that way.)

The agent continued on: “She keeps asking for ‘mid-century’ and I’m showing her things and they’re not right.”

I nodded and suggested my colleague search homes that are listed in the MLS as “contemporary” or ranches and splits between 40 and 60 years old.

But if I was talking to a buyer, my suggestion would be to go with the one agent in the Capital Region who specializes in mid-century homes.  Then no explanations, no trial and error would be needed.  We’ll be speaking the same language.

Joseph Dalton • (518) 573-1093

Historic Albany’s Fall Events

The emphasis is, appropriately enough, on the historic. But there’s more than a touch of recent historic too.  Following are two events that in my datebook.

Saturday, October 5 –,mo.mo_US Tour Day 2013
Rocky-afeller and the Bulldozer: Lecture and Tour of Empire State Plaza

Historic Albany Foundation was founded in 1974 to advocate for the preservation of Albany’s historic neighborhoods threatened during the construction of Wallace K. Harrison’s massive mid-century modern Empire State Plaza, through which half a neighborhood, 1,500+ historic homes were lost. To celebrate 40 years of successful advocacy, Historic Albany pays tribute to the neighborhood that disappeared and welcomes the newest architectural ‘child’ on the preservation scene, mid-century modern.

Thursday, October 10, Albany Medical Center, History & Architecture


This members only tour will start with an overview of the history of Albany Medical College and Hospital from its origins in the mid-19th century in downtown Albany to the relocation to the present site on New Scotland Avenue.  That’s followed by a tour of select buildings including the addition by Henry Blatner and the new Patient Pavilion, which just opened in 2013.

Full schedule of events and ticket information at:

Retro Renovation Goddess of the Berkshires

Lovely feature in the new issue of Yankee Magazine about Pam Kueber, who runs the very popular website  Didn’t realize that she lives close to the Capital Region in Lenox, Mass.  Here’s her famous kitchen…

There’s many avenues to explore on Pam’s constantly updated site, which is geared toward preserving and updating in styles appropriate to the original vintage of the home. Rather than pushing a high modern style, Kueber emphasizes “Mid-Century Modest,” a delightful term she seems to have coined. Listen to her explain it all for you in this video, then review The Mid-Century Modest Manifesto.

Coming to Troy: Modern on the Hudson

As recently reported in The Troy Record and the Times Union, three new retail businesses are coming to the historic Frear Building in downtown Troy: Trojan Horse, an antique shop that’s moving and expanding from its location on River Street; the clothing manufacturer Ekologic, which uses recycled fabrics, and… a mid-century furniture shop, Modern on the Hudson!

Local mod fans will remember the proprietors of Modern on the Hudson, Judy Engel and Frank Daley.  Their previous retail venture, Vintage Vogue, started in Saratoga Springs and relocated to River Street.  While the retail portion of their business closed some 10 years ago, they’ve remained active vendors of mid-century furniture, selling wholesale to retail accounts, primarily in New York City.

In a brief recent phone conversation, Engel said that business is flourishing and the new store-front will simply mean that their inventory is on public display.  “When we started this 20 years ago,” said Engel, “nobody understood what we were doing.”  Businesses in the Frear are expected to open in October.  


Another modern auction at Stair

Time for another 20th century auction at Stair Auctioneers & Appraisers, which is at 549 Warren Street in Hudson.

“Modernism:  Furniture,Decorations and Works of Art” is on preview all this week.  The auction itself starts at 11 a.m. Saturday July 13.

Lot 77: Set of Six Modern Nickel-Plated Side Chairs
Estimate $ 800-1,200

Lot 12: Vladimir Kagan Walnut and Avocado Green Laminate and Perspex Cabinet Unit.
Enclosing shelves and cupboard doors. 87 1/2 x 84 x 20 in.
Estimate $ 1,500-2,500

Lot 15: Jean Royère (1902-1981), Blue Glass and Fruitwood Low Table.
Provenance: Sold at Drouot-Richelieu, Thierry de Maigret, Paris.
Estimate $ 3,000-5,000

The Price is Wright – according to WSJ

“There are about 20 U.S. homes for sale were designed by a man lauded by his profession as the greatest U.S. architect of all time. But such deals sometimes come with strings attached.”

That’s the pull quote from this story in the May 17, 2013 “Mansion” section of the Wall Street Journal, which always includes jaw-dropping high-end listings.  The on-line version of the story includes nice graphics and a video.

Previously on ModernHome-NY:  Almost history: A Wright house for Albany