For 22 years I lived across the street from a modest, one-story, modernist house designed by an architect who worked in Minoru Yamasaki's office in Troy, Michigan. The house was built in 1960, and it had some wonderful features. The most notable was the central living room with two glass walls and a 4-sided clerestory window that ringed the space.
The Central Living Room
My favorite thing about the house was outside -- an enormous, sheltering walnut tree in the front yard. It always reminded me of Longfellow and another very famous "spreading chestnut tree."
The Sheltering Walnut Tree
The original owners died. Their daughter lived there for a time and then sold the house last year. The new owners decided that they could not have the house they wanted simply by enlarging this one, so they elected to tear it down and start over.
My beloved walnut tree went down the first day.
It took four days to knock it down.
The new owners are building a two-story house that's twice as big. It will be very green. In style it will be colonial. We hope that in time we come to love it as much as we did its predecessor.