Hammond Wood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, has 58 Goodman-designed homes built between 1949 and 1951. According to the Maryland Historical Trust website, “Hammond Wood conveys Charles Goodman’s innovation in suburban planning in the greater Washington region in the post-WWII era, telling the story of how pioneering architectural and construction teams redefined the monotonous suburban cultural landscape into overwhelmingly naturalistic enclaves . Hammond Wood conveys the best of Goodman’s architectural legacy.”
Excellent homes for sale in the DC area
“Homes in Hammond Wood have always been very affordable for what they are,” said architect Michael Cook, who knew of this home from having lived in the neighborhood in the early 2000s.
Cook and his partners, Sidney and Derek Kowalczyk, sent a letter to the owners expressing their interest in purchasing. Cook had renovated four other Goodman homes in the conglomeration surrounding this home, assuring the owners that he was careful to preserve the “soul of the home” and not just fix and flip as some developers do.
The house wasn’t in the best condition when they bought it. The biggest challenge was that the basement windows were buried in mud, trapping moisture and rotting the window frames and support columns.
“We had no idea they were all lazy,” Cook said. “The whole house collapsed.”
To fix the problem, they raised the structure, added new window frames and support columns, attached them to the foundation, and added the glass back.
Another problem was the rebuilding of the retaining wall outside. Now it’s three meters underground. The wall, which cost around $20,000 to repair, was painted with a design that adds visual interest to it.
With the mud removed, the lower level is now a light-filled space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a family room opening onto a patio with an outdoor fireplace. The main level has a living-dining area, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.
When designing homes, Goodman always took topography into account. The houses are angled for maximum sun exposure and privacy. trees were preserved. The grading was minimal. In this case the house is hidden between massive oak trees.
“It’s part of this collection of seven Goodman houses, all set around a descending ravine that really shows the genius of Charles Goodman,” Cook said. “For me, it creates a built environment that really resembles the California hills.”
Starter homes like this are often threatened with demolition. The land is usually more valuable than the house. For most developers, building a new house makes more financial sense than restoring the existing one, even if it’s designed by a famous architect. But Cook has long wanted to show that homes like this still have value and can work for today’s families. He views his work on these houses as architectural restoration or monument preservation.
Cook has renovated 35 of Goodman’s homes over the years. This is the mid 12th century modern house that he was working on with the intention of selling and he said it might be his last.
“It just doesn’t make financial sense for us to continue developing historic neighborhoods like Hammond Wood [nearby, Goodman-designed] Hammond Hill because the margins just aren’t there,” he said. “We compete with fins and design-build companies trying to make the most money while spending the least.”
Cook will continue to work with clients to remodel their mid-century modern homes. He said he works with 25 clients and has 10 more on the line. But his days as a developer are drawing to a close. He hopes someone else is willing to take on projects like this.
“It is really unfortunate that we are unable to continue development in historic neighborhoods like Hammond Wood and Hammond Hill because we care deeply about preserving these special homes and historic neighborhoods,” he said. “To make financial sense for us, we have [would need to] moving to an area like McLean, but we’d like to move to a diverse community such as [Hammond Wood].”
The 1,863-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is priced at $829,000.
11705 College View Dr., Silver Spring, Md.
- Bedroom bathroom: 4/2
- Approximate square footage: 1,860
- lot size: 0.16 hectares
- Features: The 1951 Charles Goodman house in the Hammond Wood neighborhood was restored by Cook Architecture and Price Street Construction. The kitchen is equipped with Poggenpohl furniture and Bosch appliances. The terrace has a wood fireplace.
- Listing agent: Michael Shapiro, Compass