Click any picture to enlarge and view in a slide show. Photos by Lara Kimmerer unless otherwise noted.

LextopiaTechbuilt Ad

  If you’re dyed-in-the-wool, DON’T COME! If you think early Georgian or Late Cape Cod is just the berries, forget we came in. But if you and your kith enjoy plenty of room and light, believe a house should be designed to live in — not merely to exist in, like the idea of getting maximum space per buck — then let’s talk. We’d like to explain and show you our concept of a new type of lighthearted living that we deeply believe in — the Techbuilt House.

So reads the ad for the original Techbuilt House published in the local Lexington Minuteman newspaper in 1956, and we could not have said it better (though we did need to look up the word “kith” and are still not sure about it). And while the Georgian is still holding strong in these parts, we have also had a front row seat for, and in fact have played a significant part in the resurgence of the “lighthearted living” of the Mid-Century-Modern house. Here we have on offer nothing less than one of the earliest Techbuilts, a model home for the company, and a recently updated iteration at that. Enjoy all the natural light and sweeping private wooded views via walls of glass at 5 Demar Road. Designed by Techbuilt founder, Carl Koch, in the International style and guided by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House principles, the open floor plan maximizes flow while the siting takes advantage of the light and private 31,182 s.f lot.  Located in the highly desirable Turning Mill neighborhood with deeded membership in the heated Paint Rock Pool, a neighborhood gathering spot with lifeguards, swimming lessons, and social events. The new Estabrook School and Paint Mine Conservation land are a stone’s throw. The house is in turn-key condition. Three bedrooms, two full baths, including master suite.

(Under agreement). Offered at $699,000. Showing begin Friday, July 17, with public open houses Friday 4:30-6:00, Saturday 12:30-2:30 and Sunday, 1:000-3:00. Any/all offers to be reviewed 3:30 Tuesday, July 21. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to request a private showing.

Here is the full list of the current owners improvements:

5 Demar Rd Improvements/Updates Since 2007

  • New rubber membrane roof with rigid foam insulation (sloped) and new skylights – 2008
  • Master bathroom renovation (including closet, carpet) – 2010
  • Upgrade to 200 amp electrical service, replace circuit breaker panel – 2010
  • New hot water heater – 2010
  • Full insulation in walls – blown in cellulose – 2010
  • New furnace and central AC/heat pump (hybrid heating system) – 2010
  • Wood burning insert – 2010
  • French drain around side and back of house – 2012
  • Bamboo flooring in most of house – 2011-2012
  • New operational windows – 2012
  • Kitchen renovation including adding propane tank – 2012

Miscellaneous

  • Paint Rock Pool bond holder. Family membership dues for 2015: $520/year, optional
  • Heating is forced hot air, except for playroom (carport) – electric baseboard and master bath (electric radiant)
  • Exclusions:
    • Coat rack in hallway
    • Shed conveyed as-is.
    • Two peony plants 
  • Utility costs:
    • Electric: $2289 for last 12 months
    • Oil: $1425 (2014-2015); $1854 (2013-2014)
    • Propane (under $100 per year)

demar-5

The architecture and the neighborhood

Residents love the area due to its proximity to the highly desirable new Estabrook School (adjacent — many kids walk or bike, and in the process of having a new facility built on the grounds) and because it offers membership in the country-club-like Paint Rock swimming pool, which was updated in 2012. The area also borders the vast Paint Mine conservation area, with beautiful walking trails. The Lexpress bus runs through. And a quick zip takes you down backroads to Whole Foods, Staples, Super Stop & Shop, Marshall’s, and so on in Bedford, or back the other way into the center of Lexington. And it is not far from Route 128. Lexpress stops at the driveway of 4 Turning Mill, among other spots.

Here is the swimming pool from summer 2012:

The land for the Turning Mill neighborhood was purchased by the Techbuilt Corporation. There were three model homes.  The first one built was 4 Turning Mill. Most people in Lexington know the area as Turning Mill, but it started out being referred to as Middle Ridge. Though it is now a large area of eight or nine streets, it started around Turning Mill Road and Demar Road, with Techbuilt houses designed by Carl Koch, before growing further north and west and incorporating other modern designs, most notably, the Peacock Farm-style house plan designed by Walter Pierce, who along with Danforth Compton founded Lexington’s Peacock Farm neighborhood on the other side of town. This design was licensed out to other developers, as was the case here in Turning Mill. There have also been some Deck Houses built. The expanded part of the area is now referred to as “Upper Turning Mill.

Research in part via Lexington Historic Survey, which notes:

Of the 95 homes in Middle Ridge, thirty-five are prefabricated “Techbuilt” homes.

Middle Ridge was originally conceived and designed in 1955 by architect Carl Koch as a neighborhood of “Techbuilt” homes. After receiving his architectural training at Harvard under Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius, Koch taught architecture at MIT and created the first planned community of modern houses in the region at Snake Hill Road in Belmont in 1941. Prior to building in Lexington, he also designed and constructed Conantum, Concord’s first residential housing development (1951) and Kendal Common in Weston (1950). First introduced in 1953, the Techbuilt house was a low-cost, semi-factory-built modern style house which used modular construction.

TechBuilt Home Diagram
Source: Carl Koch, At Home with Tomorrow, 1958
The Techbuilt house was based on a consistent four foot wide module for all major building components such as wall, floor, and roof panels. The pieces were delivered by truck and could be erected in a few days. The Techbuilt homes, which include both one and two-story models, are characterized by simplicity of shape, pitched roofs and overhanging eaves and the extensive use of glass, especially on the wide glazed gabled ends. The exteriors of the houses are typically clad in vertical cedar siding with panels between the stories. The Techbuilt houses incorporated various structural innovations including the use of modular prefabricated stressed skin panels rather than conventional framing and the use of steel posts and wooden beams for support rather than load bearing walls. In keeping with Techbuilt philosophy, the houses are typically set into a natural and wooded landscape. In some cases the owners also purchased carports or garages.
The Techbuilt House was featured in various national publications including Better Homes and Gardens and Parents Magazine and was awarded the American Institute of Architects “Best Development House” Award. By the end of 1957, Techbuilt homes had been constructed in thirty-two states.
Ultimately, due to financial difficulties, the Techbuilt Corporation was only involved in the construction of the first two phases of Middle Ridge and these houses are found on Demar Road and the southern end of Turning Mill Road. Although many of the buildings have seen additions, collectively they are significant as one of the largest groups of this award-winning and innovative semi-prefabricated house in the Boston area.

                               An original flyer for Techbuilt advertising their potential as a vacation cottage.
More Techbuilt memories. Click to enlarge and view as a slideshow.