DIY modernism June 7th

Lawrence Modern event poster

Design: Aimee Wray

Back in the days before Eisenhower was president, Bob and Elaine Blank were a typical young couple driving around Lawrence looking for a place to build their dream house when they found a barren-looking lot south of the KU campus for $2,000. At the time, Blank was a professional photographer who admired the architectural photography featured in House Beautiful magazine, which highlighted the seductive appeal of southern California modernism. After seeing plans for a modern house with a butterfly roof advertised in the magazine, they decided to go for it and build such a house themselves to save money. Blank purchased the plans in 1951 for $100, plus postage, and got to work.

After adding a basement and more windows to the original design, they completed the house with the help of Blank’s father-in-law and local contractors. Later on they added a covered breezeway and a double carport, punctuating the laid-back California contemporary feel of the property. The Blanks made all the right moves with their DIY project, including hiring a young modernist architect named Dick Peters to design their renovations, resulting in one of the most distinctive modern houses in Lawrence. The house is on our Baker’s Dozen list of top midcentury houses in the city. The Blanks lived in the house until Bob passed away a couple of years ago at age 83. We are fortunate that the new owners respect the integrity of the house and wish to share it with us. We look forward to seeing you June 7th.

PS: Please do not park on Owens Lane. It is a cul-de-sac and difficult to navigate with parked cars. Please park on 21st and Alabama.

-Tom, Bill, Dennis & Tim

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