Eyesore of the week

By Gabi Moore

Property: 728 Princeton Ave., Lansing

Owner: Joyce Evans

Taxpayer: Joyce Evans Assessed: $49,300

Owner says: Unable to be reached for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell Seyburn says: The house at 728 Princeton St. is a kit-home — possibly Sears and Roebuck — from the early 20th century that features a classic urban porch. These kithomes, precursors of today's modular homes, were well designed and built of superior materials. A few restorations to the facade including replacement of windows and correction of the sagging but well-proportioned porch could restore this house to its original beauty.

Boarded-up windows, a red tag and a gutter hanging off the sagging roof gives the impression that this home has been neglected. The lawn is overgrown, particularly in front of the house, and weeds have sprouted up in front of the porch in a patch of land that could have once been attractive landscaping.

Perhaps with a new paint job and some serious landscaping and restoration, this house could be the highlight of the street. For now, it remains a sad-looking house unfit for living and unfortunate to look at.

Improvement 1: Take note of the beautiful leaded glass windows
of the second story. Use replicas or find similar windows at an
architectural salvage company to replace the other windows on the

Improvement 2.: Replace prefabricated concrete steps with wood steps. Replace metal railing with wood railing.

Improvement 3: Correct sagging porch by replacing roof and columns. Columns should be replaced with supports of similar mass and proportion.

are an outside room of the house where residents congregate and
interact with passing pedestrians. Porches promote community and as
such, are an invaluable feature of Lansing neighborhoods. Thus,
attention to porch design is as important as another room of the house.
A correctly designed porch enhances the beauty of the house while a
poorly designed porch takes away from it. The most common error in
residential porch design is the use of supports that do not have the
correct mass or proportion. This error is often due to the convenience
of function over form. Although a porch roof doesn't require a great
amount of material to support it in function, it does require it in
form. Too thin supports make the porch appear spindly, compromising
the overall proportions and the beauty of the house.


Do use properly sized columns that are proportionate to the
overall structure and visually support the roof correctly. While it is
possible to use stock columns, it is best to invest in custom columns
that are correctly proportionate to the overall structure.

compromise the proportions of the overall structure by replacing
columns of the correct mass and proportion with undersized supports.
Inferior supports are cheap and cheapen the value of the house.