Eyesore of the week

By Sam Inglot

Eyesore 5/30/12

Property: 1701 Bailey St., Lansing

Owner: CRN Management, LLC

Assessed value: $11,900

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

This house in the Baker-Donora Neighborhood screams, “Not welcome.” It’s plain to see that the owner wants no one near as soon as you look at it. As if the three broken porch steps aren’t enough of a deterrent, a large piece of the beige-colored wood siding serves as a barricade to the porch entrance: It resembles a blank billboard as it blocks access to the main door, which is also boarded up with siding. The north end of the house features an overgrown and trash-strewn gravel parking spot. Here you’ll see that the back entrance is no better than the front, as you’d have to climb under the branches of an unkempt tree and hop over an old tire to reach the raised porch entrance and its broken screen door. The small bits of yard that surround the house are speckled with trash and the plant life is in serious need of taming.

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Reduce your footprint by living close together and looking up, not out. Early Lansing residents understood this by building small gable front houses, like 1701 Bailey. The Midwestern row house, set on narrow lots with gable ends turned towards the street, leaves enough space that the houses are still detached yet close enough to speak hello to your neighbor without strain. At a mere 1,200 square feet or less total — and 650 or less for the first floor alone — these two-story houses step lightly on the earth. Buy one. Renovate it. Live in it.