Feb. 6 2011 12:00 AM

1115 Regent St., Lansing


Property: 1115 Regent St., Lansing

Assessed: $43,900

Owner: Ellawyne and Dewayne Birch

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Vine-covered dwellings can evoke a sense of 18th-century romanticism or spell disaster. Thinking of coaxing some vines up the side of your house? Take note — nature can take over if not maintained. Exhibit A is this delightfully diminutive house at 1115 Regent St. near the Aurelius Road and Main Street intersection just south of Interstate 496. What seems like a harmless vine is actually enveloping the structure, causing increased moisture in the walls — particularly on those areas missing siding — accelerating deterioration. Rest assured that with proper maintenance, vegetation does not cause extensive damage and can be one of the loveliest ways to celebrate your home with nature.

The best way to get that beautiful vine-covered look without compromising the exterior structure of your home is by making the vine appear to climb the wall without actually coming into contact with the building.

Use a trellis. A trellis encourages the vines to climb without attaching to the exterior of your home. A metal mesh or wire-weave trellis gives the illusion that vines are climbing the wall but, in actuality, vines are several inches from the exterior finish. You might think that a wood trellis would be good, but wood deteriorates much faster than metal. Also — a metal trellis can be far less conspicuous.

Attached at the top and the base of the wall, a trellis can be easily removed (rather than trimming away entire sections of the vine) for maintenance.

1115 Regent looks like it could collapse with a strong wind, and that is backed up with two unsafe-to-enter notices from the Code Compliance Office. The rotting and partially boarded-up frame is wrapped in untrimmed vines like a crude gift. A glimpse through the three front windows shows trash scattered throughout the living room.

— Fiona Guo

“Eyesore of the Week" is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 371-5600 ex. 17.