Last week, Sullivan County realtor David Knudsen posted a delightful rant on his blog, Sullivan County Real Estate, in which he aired a pet peeve about realtors in the Catskills. Knudsen calls it the "incorrect use of architectural style monikers in listings." In other words, he hates seeing houses labeled "mid-century" when they could fit right in on the Brady Bunch:
I see agents apply the "mid century" label to anything built between 1950 and 1980, even if there isn't a bit of mid-century style DNA in the house. It's particularly misapplied to 70's era "vacation" houses. The 1970's was a prolific decade for vacation home building in the Catskills, with a lot of, to put it charitably, fanciful designs[,] including asymetric A frames, octagon shaped houses and myriad variations on the "vacation chalet". I even occasionally encounter houses with conversation pits, where one can envision the Brady Bunch curling up around the fireplace, roasting marshmallows. (Or Mike Brady schtupping the neighbor if this had been a couple of decades later and the show was produced by Aaron Sorkin.)
As 'distinctive' as this style may be, with its paneled walls and harvest gold appliances, it isn't really mid-century. We probably need to come up with a new style moniker for it, like "Catskills kitsch" or maybe just "Brady", as in "This is a classic Brady house."
Knudsen reserves similar ire for the misapplication of the terms "farmhouse," "colonial," and "cottage." That last one, he says, "seems to be applied to anything small and old:"
But "shack" and "cottage" are not synonyms. To rise to the level of "cottage", a house should have at least some essence of geraniums and petunias about it.
Photo of a 33-year-old harvest gold fridge by Flickr user liberalmind1012.