Sold in Belmont: The Good, the Mind Boggling and How Much Ugly for $1.2M

280 Brighton St. It's new (2015). Sold: $1,246,000.

Photo: “Ugh” on Brighton.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

26 Holden Rd., #2, Condo (1926). Sold: $471,000. Listed at $449,900. Living area: 1,172 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 61 days.

16 Candleberry Ln., Townhouse condominium (2006). Sold: $1,420,000. Listed at $1,495,000. Living area: 3,482 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bath. On the market: 69 days.

280 Brighton St. It’s new (2015). Sold: $1,246,000. Listed at $1,299,000. Living area: 4,040 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 246 days.

531 Concord Ave., Claflin-Atkins Estate, Georgian Revival (1926). Sold: $3,037,500. Listed at $3,495,000. Living area: 7,277 sq.-ft. 17 rooms, 8 bedrooms, 6 full, 2 half-baths. On the market: 125 days.

21 Dean St., Brick/frame Garrison Colonial (1935). Sold: $1,030,000. Listed at $950,000. Living area: 6,440 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 70 days.

62 Trowbridge Street #2, Townhouse condominium (2010). Sold: $750,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 1,528 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath. On the market: 36 days.

45 Springfield St #1, Condominium in two family (2014). Sold: $480,500. Listed at $439,000. Living area: 1,060 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 57 days.

23 Russell Terrace, Townhouse condominium (2011). Sold: $872,000. Listed at $842,000. Living area: 2,418 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bath. On the market: 68 days.

We’ve lost our collective minds. Or at least homebuyers have. It’s right there on Dean Street. A nice 80-year-old Garrison Colonial of ground-level brick over a second-floor frame. Nothing extraordinary, on a small lot, and better than average space at 2,300 square feet. Just your vanilla Belmont house …  

… that just sold for more than a million bucks! Not located on “the Hill” or along “Gol(d)en” Street, this structure was in the heart of Belmont’s most “average” of its neighborhoods. 

If this Winn Brook sale doesn’t sounds a clarion call to Belmont homeowners to sell and reap the rewards of buying a Colonial back in the 1990s, they will have only themselves to blame if this purchase signals a housing bubble that is ready to burst.

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A lovely mansion – the  Claflin-Atkins Estate – on upper Concord Avenue is one of the biggest homes in Belmont, coming in at nearly 7,300 sq.-ft. (around the same number of feet of an average 18-hole round on the PGA tour) sitting on nearly two acres of land on “the Hill.” The mansion’s southeastern exposure providing spectacular skyline views of Boston. Inside, it boasts seven-plus bedrooms, six full and three half baths, seven fireplaces, two screened porches, three levels of living space and, yes, a two-room museum that was built to show off items from the China trade.

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There is an architect who needs to hide their face in SHAME for designing what has to be the leading candidate for “Ugliest House in Belmont” located on Brighton a block from Pleasant Street. Of course, it’s a McMansion, slapped up in a hurry before residents come with pitch forks and torches to prevent anymore 4,000 square-feet waste of space to be constructed.

Look at it; it’s incomprehensible! An uninviting collection of boxes and squares thrown together willy nilly – “I’ll place the dormer … here!” – with splashes of gaudy detailing, including a stone facade at the entry. Why? Not tacky enough? But the real insult to the neighborhood is its pair of driveways. Yes, two locations, one on Brighton and the other on Chilton, where the owners can dump their minivans to be an eyesore to the community. That’s disgraceful. This design spits in the faces of its neighbors. 

The thrown-together blueprint is almost childish but that would be insulting to three-year-olds who have better sense of spacial awareness than its designer. The interior is no better: what’s with all the recess lighting? Was the overall concept based on a GAP clothing store? Obviously the “open” room design will make this a dandy to heat this winter. Wait, IT IS A MALL INTERIOR! 

Oversized on the lot it took over, the pièce de résistance is the wire fence anchored in a brick wall: a little bit of Queens in Belmont. The sales information on the house calls it, and I quote, “Lowest Priced new construction in Belmont!!” Lowest priced, as in cheap.

“Oh, will no one rid me of this turbulent house?”

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Comments

  1. Michele Banker says

    Shame on you Franklin for writing a nasty scree about this home on Brighton St. The structure is architecturally and esthetically attractive, a fine addition to Belmont’s housing stock. Incidentally, the brick wall surrounding the home you criticize was built over a DECADE ago by the prior owners. In the future, stick to sharing information – only. You debase yourself with such a mean spirited, nasty comment. Lastly, this is my second comment to this item. Too embarrassed to print my original comment?

    • says

      Ms. Banker:
      So sorry for missing your original comment and not approving it. It is never my intent to avoid criticism of readers. I am not embarrassed in any way pointing out that 280 Brighton St. is an architectural mishmash that leaves an esthetic bad taste to the housing inventory. Viewing again a straight-on image of the house and going by the building recently only confirms my opinion via a line from a Betty Davis movie: “What a mess!” Take, for instance, the recessed front door which here defeats an essential architectural element of entry into a structure. As Architecture and Design noted in 2014: “It goes without saying that the front door is what people see when they approach your home. It is the entrance for stepping into your home and thereby you need to make sure that your front door lives up to the expectations of people.” Yes, there are many wonderful examples of front entry ways that work pushed into the structure – Mediterranean, contemporary Californian – but that is not the case on Brighton; the architect needed to put a door somewhere and plunked it where it’s now located. And the windows, there is absolutely no defense for the slapdash location and styles; without an inkling of symmetry. What 280 Brighton lacks is architectural decorum; “Esthetic presentation in a public location is not a matter of willful imposition of individual taste but of decorum, of manners, of civic-mindedness. The principal issues in urban design are to do with what today is called fit in terms of scale, color, material, detail and proportion,” said Paul-Alan Johnson. A wonderful example of decorum is the “White” House at 52 Alexander Ave. The simplicity, its tight lines, a glorious example of taking the Colonial style and building on that theme. What was lost on Brighton was the opportunity to make a similar statement, to embrace the homes around it in a design that compliments its surroundings. 280 Brighton doesn’t, and the neighborhood is stuck with this eyesore.

  2. Maggie says

    Agree. It’s a cheap laugh at someone else’s expense. It’s no longer journalism when you’re injecting your opinions along with reporting. You can cover the real estate market in Belmont without the cheap shots.

  3. Julie says

    While I appreciate the reporting of real estate sales in our community, the disparaging commentary is unnecessary. These are comments on the real property and real lives of newcomers to our community. Referring to someone’s future home as tacky, ugly, and cheap is just plain hurtful and I don’t want new neighbors to think that this is the way we welcome new families to our neighborhood.

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