Freed from constraints of clients and their families, architects can give free rein to their own needs and tastes. The local architects interviewed for this article have designed unique houses, personal statements of how they want to live. The oldest house is nearly sixty years old, but all turned out so well that the architects are still happily living in them.
The two local giants of the postwar Mid-Century Modern building era, Bob Metcalf and David Osler, both designed their own homes early in their careers, and both for practical reasons: Metcalf to showcase what he could do for future clients (see "Metcalf Modern," April 2011), and Osler to build a house for his growing family within the limits of what the bank would loan him.
Osler's house, at 3081 Glazier Way, was actually his second try building for himself. He grew up on a farm east of today's Huron Parkway. His father was the county agricultural agent. Early in his career Osler built an apartment in his parents' barn for himself and his wife, Connie. "We lived there until I thought I had enough practice to build a house," he says, explaining why he waited until 1961, when they had three children, to design his own home. He chose another site on a corner of his parents' land. (Much of the rest of the property was later developed as the Osler-designed Oslund condominiums.)