by Michael R. Allen
At a swinging party on Sunday, architect and rehab trend-setter Ray Simon celebrated completion of the rehabilitation of the Harry Hammerman House in Ladue. Guests enjoyed a look at the amazing realized potential that small mid-century homes offer. While the Hammerman House, a Usonian-inspired gem from 1952, is quite unique, its plight before Ray’s purchase was not. Designer, builder and occupant Hammerman passed away in 2001, and the house sat vacant until Simon’s purchase. Meanwhile, it was considered for a tear-down by an intervening owner. During this time, Ladue lost the Morton May House, the Louis Zorensky House and countless other mid-century modern houses large and small. On Graybridge Road, where the Hammerman House is located, one other modern home has fallen to the tear-down trend.
The rehab of the Harry Hammerman House breathes new life into a fine mid-century home, uses historic rehabilitation tax credits and allows a unique street to retain its character. What Ray Simon did can and should be done elsewhere across St. Louis County. The sobriety of the current housing market may help convince homeowners that conservation, retro-cool design, energy economy and modest scale are better for long-term investment than the super-sized, vinyl-clad villas that fed on the abundant east credit. St. Louis County is a treasure trove of opportunities for getting the most out of the new market!
Read more about the Harry Hammerman House here.