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Wednesday, April 30,2014

Eyecandy of the Week

by Andy Balaskovitz
Property: 134 Regent St., Lansing

Owner: David and Carrie Muylle

Architect Daniel E. Bollman says: While its exterior is plainly attractive, the subtle details make this unassuming home notable. The painted siding is synthetic and low maintenance, but it lacks the telltale tackiness of vinyl or aluminum. A traditional blue porch ceiling is capped with a standing seam metal roof. Galvanized half-round eaves troughs terminate not at downspouts but with chains that guide the rain — splashless — to grade.

The traditional, public exterior is contrasted by the private interior, which echoes the innovative nature of the development. Copper tubing is fabricated into a guardrail that overlooks the two-story entry space. There, the second-floor ceiling is finished with textured metal, calling to mind a vernacular corrugated tin roof.

Some minor exterior modifications have made the original house more functional, without detracting from its neighbors. In fact, this building is one part of a larger effort that emphasizes the collective development and considers the impact each house has on the overall project site.

Editor’s note: On Saturday, owner Dave Muylle and the Allen Neighborhood Center host an open house of this property from 2 to 6 p.m.

Dave Muylle is not one to seek the spotlight when he rehabilitates Lansing’s eyesore homes. But he deserves it.

In the backyard of two properties he has already redeveloped as rental homes, and two doors down from his own house, Muylle is at it again on Lansing’s East Side.

A before-and-after shot of 134 Regent doesn’t do Muylle’s work justice. As they say, it’s on the inside that counts. Over the course of five years, Muylle invested about $20,000 a year to completely gut and redesign the inside of this house originally built in 1905. Starting with essentially an empty box of a house, Muylle’s vision for a new floor plan took over. Upon entering, the sightlines through the house make it seem bigger than the 1,024-square-foot floor plan. A second-story loft visible from the entryway and the abundance of windows gives the house a beach-cottage feel.

“This house was a perfect candidate for tearing down,” Muylle said, adding that it needed a new foundation. He also reframed the roof to accommodate the loft design. Muylle said he has rehabilitated a dozen houses on the East Side. “The goal is to always work within the footprint of the house, which is what we did here. It’s just a little house, but there are tricks you can perform that will make it live large.”

When entering the front door, the eye is drawn to the second-floor railing, which is adorned with a wheel from a 1934 Model A Ford. “My brother found it at an estate sale in Tennessee,” Muylle said. “It tells a story.”

Muylle bought the foreclosed house in 2008 and has worked on it off and on ever since. He has a renter lined up, and he says eventually he may consider selling it. But that’s not the immediate plan.

“This is not for short-term profits. This is not a flip,” he said. “It’s more taking the long view and having a unique product in five to 10 years.”

“Eye Candy of the Week” is our look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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