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Wednesday, August 8,2012

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz

Property: 1915 Harding Ave., Lansing

Owner: Rollin and April Williams

Assessed value: $23,200

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Enclosing a front porch to gain extra living space, as seen here at 1915 Harding Ave., is a common practice in cold-climate states. It’s easy to underestimate the value of a front porch, especially in Michigan. Truth is, a front porch is a relevant feature of a house for more than just half of the year. Consider the tradeoff of enclosing a front porch for more living space: You may gain interior square footage, but you lose the connection to the outdoors. The key to a successful enclosure is transparency: It is a subtle balance between a fully enclosed three- to four-season room and maintaining the semblance of a porch.

 Among the row of manicured lawns and well kempt homes on Harding Avenue, this property sticks out like ultra-Republican state Rep. Dave Agema in a mosque. (Google Dave Agema Muslim sometime.)

The molding white siding, hanging rain gutters and boarded window simply don’t match the character of this neighborhood just south of Mt. Hope Avenue between Pennsylvania Avenue and Aurelius Road. Apparently there were days when children played here, as evidenced by the countless plastic toys in the backyard and those strewn about the messy inside of the house. The city tagged this house — which records show was built in 1921 — unsafe to occupy, but the tag doesn’t say when it was issued.


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