Vintage Goodman

Every morning that I wake up in this house I am still astonished by it.  The light pours in, the wood gleams, and I’m floating in the trees.

At dusk, the view changes. The house glows in the dark.

But this summer we are having to leave this wonderful community of Hollin Hills for new jobs in Atlanta, so we have put this dear house of ours on the market.  Wanted:  buyers who appreciate mid-century modern design, an open floor plan, a big deck looking onto the woods,  walls of windows and lots of room for kids and entertaining.  (We have thrown many parties with the adults upstairs in the dining/living room and the kids downstairs in the family room.  Everyone’s happy.) This five bedroom / three bath house is one of the largest houses that Goodman designed, and it’s on a quiet cul-de-sac.  It has been in the March 2007 issue of Wallpaper Magazine and this spring’s issue of Modernism Magazine. In my humble opinion, this is one of the very best houses in this award-winning community.

Go here to see more pics and details.


2010 Hollin Hills House + Garden Tour, May 1, Noon to Six

Hollin Hills, the award-winning mid-century modern neighborhood in Alexandria, Va., will host a House & Garden Tour May 1, 2010.  The self-guided walking tour will showcase stunning examples of mid-century modern architecture and landscape.

Created by visionary developer Robert Davenport and architect Charles Goodman in the late 1940s, with construction continuing until the early 1970s, Hollin Hills was and still is a grand departure from the usual suburban development. Its radically modern homes, sited into the contours of the land rather than onto the street, take advantage of the borrowed vistas, parks, streams, and the forest canopy that has grown up in the intervening years.

In connection with the tour, on April 28th the National Building Museum (NBM), at 2401 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC, will host a program entitled “Modernist Suburbia” where Architect John Burns, FAIA, and landscape architect Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, discuss Hollin Hills’ history, growth, and influence.  National Building Museum curator Chrysanthe Broikos will moderate the program.  Ticket information will be available at

Informational lectures on Hollin Hills architecture, landscape, and design will be held at 11 a.m. prior to the tour at Hollin Meadows Elementary School at 2310 Nordok Place.

For more information about Hollin Hills and its tour, and to purchase tickets or become a supporter, go to

Snowpocalypse 2.0 — A User Review

Like so many product upgrades recently, Snowpocalypse 2.0 is vastly overrated.  Despite great hype, the new version offers few improvements over the original while retaining many of the drawbacks.  Chief among these is content overload. While Snow2, as it’s known on the street, provides somewhat improved content flow it is still far too fast for the average user and lacks any meaningful controls.  This of course begs the question of whether the manufacturer (we’re looking at you Obama) rushed this product to market to capitalize on the interest in the Snowpocalypse brand.  One hint on this subject is Snow2’s lack of a “delete” button, despite repeated requests from users of the original product. Another complaint is that, like its predecessor, Snow2 seems primarily intended for children interested in “gaming.”  For serious business users, Snow2 offers little of value, unless they happen to be manufacturers of snow shovels.  Speaking of which, for those suffering buyer’s remorse over the purchase of a Snowpocalypse product, help may soon be on the way.  Apple–ever on the lookout for an opportunity–is rumored to be testing its answer to Snowpocalypse, the iShovel.  Early reviews give it high marks although it apparently lacks a Blu-Ray disc player and bogs down when used on Snowpocalypse content produced in the “wet” setting.  Still, if history is any lesson, iShovel may give Snowpocalypse a run for its money.  In the meantime, be on the lookout for Snowpocolypse 3.0, due out Monday. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my analog shovel.
Your humble reviewer,
David Armstrong

Preserving Nature No Matter the Price

I didn’t stay until the very end, but I heard that at last night’s civic association meeting the community voted to put the kebosh on AT&T’s overture to put a cell tower on Hollin Hills park land.  I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and truly I could have been persuaded to go either way.  But the people who spoke out against cell towers were truly moving and amazing, pointing out that the founders of the community sought to preserve the natural spaces at whatever cost, and that means for us today the possible renumeration of tens of thousands of dollars of rent from AT&T.  And apparently, the majority agreed.  In a world of scarcity, in a time of recession, when it’s easy to get greedy and forsake what we really care about, I think my community did the right thing, and I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Hollin Hills Tour Pics

If you missed the house tour, don’t miss these photos.

Also see Modern Capital Blog’s blog with pics of the tour.

House & Garden Tour

The next Hollin Hills House & Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, from noon to six p.m. We plan to showcase about a dozen homes and gardens that exemplify distinctive features of Hollin Hills style, past and present. For more details, stay tuned.

“Town Hall” meetings April 18 & 26

The Special Design Review Committee will hold two “town hall” meetings following up on the community-wide survey about the design review guidelines.  Recall that the neighborhood is going through the process of revising the guidelines as needed.  These meetings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Hollin Meadows School Cafeteria on April 18 & 26. Do try to attend both meetings. The following are the agendas for both meetings as told to us by the SDRC chair:


7:30 p.m.    Welcome/Introductions/Purpose of Meeting

7:40 p.m.    Further discussion about SDRC Survey Question 11:

In your opinion, should the Design Review Committee resolve all issues that arise through the neighbor notification process prior to issuing final approval of any build-out plan? (Circle only one)

Response    Total Percent

DRC should resolve all issues related to any
major or minor addition/renovation         50        23.58%

DRC should resolve all issues related to only
major addition/renovation              40         18.87%

DRC should not have to resolve all issues
related to major or minor addition/renovations,
only issues that are within the scope of the
Guidelines                    102         48.11%

No opinion                         5           2.36%

Total Respondents                 197

(skipped this question)                   15            7.08%

Need additional community input on whether the DRC should have to resolve all issues related to major and minor issues within the scope of the guidelines.

8:30 p.m.    Further dicussion about SDRC Survey Question 19:

The current Design Review Guidelines give general directions to homeowners for planning additions and renovations, and to the DRC for evaluating them with regard to specific design and siting issues.

In your opinion, are the current Design Review Guidelines okay as they are now or should they to be more specific in the following areas?

Need additional community input on:

•    Exterior paint colors
•    Overall size of house
•    Orientation with regard to neighbor privacy


7:30 p.m.    Welcome/Introductions/Purpose of Meeting

7:40 p.m.    Further discussion about SDRC Survey Question 22:

Should any Hollin Hills resident be allowed to attend the monthly Design Review Committee meetings to voice opinions about the additions and renovations being discussed at that meeting?

Total                 Percent

Yes                 111                 52.36%

No                   65                 30.66%

No Opinion               16                   7.55%

Total Respondents     192

(skipped this question)       20                   9.43%

Need additional community input on whether Hollin Hills residents should voice opinions at the DRC meetings or just attend to observe.

8:30 p.m.    Further discussion about SDRC Survey Question 20:

Some areas are not currently addressed by the Design Review Guidelines.  In your opinion, are Design Review Guidelines needed to provide direction in the following areas?

For each area you think should be addressed, should the Guidelines be prescriptive (specific requirements to be met), performance (more general direction and standards), or a combination of both prescriptive and performance guidelines?

Need additional community input on creating guidelines (prescriptive/directional/both) about:

•    Design of a complete replacement of an existing house
•    An addition that significantly changes the external appearance of the original house
•    Adding and additional story
•    Maximum height of a house
•    Maximum ratio of house size to property size