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Wednesday, May 14,2014

Eyesore of the Week

by Daniel Bollman, AIA
Property: 5340 S. Washington Ave., Lansing Owner: Patricia and Racine Villarreal Assessed value: $33,900 Owner says: Can’t afford taxes, plans to let it go to auction next year

As is too often true of old buildings, this home has been covered with synthetic siding. Such work is ostensibly performed as a maintenance reduction or energy-saving effort. However, when undertaken, the exterior is frequently stripped of any details that project from its elevations. Once all facades are flat and featureless, it is easier to apply the replacement siding. Unfortunately, this treatment usually leaves the building devoid of any character-defining detail. Even the casing trim around the windows has been obscured.

Several of the boarded windows are curiously adorned with a single shutter, though the telltale ghosts of their former mates still read on the faded siding. A Chinoiserie panel that once served as a railing now lies in a heap with the collapsed front-porch roof. Untended plants surround the site and cling to the building.

Even the church located immediately to the south cannot help feeling the deleterious image this abandoned structure projects to the surrounding neighborhood. After stabilizing the building, restoration efforts should begin with the removal of the invasive plants, and then focus on elements that significantly affect the building’s curb appeal. Perhaps some lost detail might be discovered under the tired cement siding.

— Daniel E. Bollman, AIA

“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 Becky McKendry at 999-5064.

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