Contributing Editor

Susan Bady has been writing about the housing industry for 25 years. She most recently served as senior editor of design for Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines, and is now a contributing editor to those publications as well as the portal Web site HousingZone.com. Bady has also written for such consumer magazines as Cabin Life and Better Homes and Gardens’ Home Plan Ideas. You can reach her at susanbady@sbcglobal.net.

A little off the beaten path—but well worth the drive—is Mason City, Iowa, home to the last standing Frank Lloyd Wright hotel. My partner and I had the pleasure of staying at the Historic Park Inn last week. The 1910 landmark is so named because of its location across the street from Mason City’s Central Park.

As a self-confessed Frank Lloyd Wright dork, you would think I already knew about the Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa—the last remaining Wright-designed hotel on the planet. But it wasn’t until I received my copy of Arts and Crafts Homes magazine that I learned about this national treasure. Originally built in 1910, the Park Inn Hotel was recently restored to all its Prairie School glory. The hotel has 27 guest rooms, one of which has been renovated in period style complete with the original claw-foot tub.

An article in the Chicago Sun-Times this past Sunday featured the Chicago bungalow, an architectural style much beloved in the Windy City. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley launched an initiative in 2000 to encourage restoration of these iconic homes, which started to become popular in the United States in the early 20th century. 

 

A new theme park just opened in Houston, and it’s not Six Flags. MainStreet America is a collection of 12 show homes, ranging from 1,800 to 6,000 square feet and representing a smorgasbord of architectural styles.

Michelle Jennings Wiebe is helping to spread the message that new homes are better than resales. Wiebe, president and principal designer of Studio M, an interior design firm in Tampa, Fla., offered tips for house hunters in a recent article.

Some of the items on her “what’s in” list include:

Did you know that Bronson Pinchot has a show on the DIY Network? That’s right, folks — Balki renovates houses!

Green building has touched nearly every new-home price point in urban areas as well as the suburbs. A recent Chicago Sun-Times article touted Avondale as “the hot new West Side neighborhood.” In Avondale, an architecturally diverse neighborhood of vintage homes, walkups and new residential construction, the single-family houses are the best value, according to the Sun-Times.

I subscribe to the print editions of several publications, including Architectural Digest. Go ahead and call me old school — I know I’m not the only one who prefers to flip through the pages of a glossy magazine when there’s a big story beckoning.

The luxury housing market is back, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Some of the properties mentioned in the WSJ report are off-the-charts expensive:  $88 million for a condo in New York City; a one-bedroom home in Los Angeles that sold for $20.1 million; a record $47 million sale in South Florida.

One of the world’s most influential architects, Barry Berkus, passed away at the end of November. While I didn’t know Barry well, I admired and respected him greatly.

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