March 21 2012 12:00 AM

Property: 819 N. Larch St., Lansing

Owner: Jennerin Inc.

Assessed value: $17,700

Owner says: Demolished by the end of the year

Nestled between a dirt alley driveway to the south and a vacant lot to the north, this flaking, brown-yellow house with dark red accents has nothing to distract the eye from its forlorn appearance. Venture to the front and flanked between the two plywood-sealed windows you’ll see a few red stairs leading to the boarded-up front door with a green, crusty carpet stapled to the top steps. The previous occupant must have wanted a permanent “not-so-welcome” mat that would freeze, thaw and mold with the seasons.

Pass by on Cedar Street and you’ll see the hacked-away remnants of about a dozen bushes or small trees on the south side of the house. The barrenness of the scene gives the impression that nature has decided to run away from this residence in search of prettier pastures. We’ll see what of it returns after the owners demolish it by the end of the year.

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: This house is an architectural icon of the colonial era — the saltbox — and is a clever design that is most prevalent in the northeastern U.S. Saltboxes were named after the large, asymmetrical wooden saltboxes common during colonial times. Note the long pitched roof that slopes to the rear of the house with one story in the back and two in the front, a defining feature of this style. The house is another great example of how Michigan may be considered Midwest, but its New England heritage is evident in its architecture.