Novato is the northernmost town in Marin. It is also the fastest growing. Because of this, lots of new homes are available in Novato, but the mid-century modern design is not well represented. This is not to suggest that there aren't any modern homes in the area, but most are in need of some TLC.
Cliff May, a pioneer in the modern movement, built several neighborhoods in Novato. May had a passion for creating homes that were in harmony with the outdoors and the way Californians lived their lives. Most of his work was done in Southern California, making the hidden gems in Novato extra special. Perhaps these gems could more accurately be termed "diamonds in the rough". Many have fallen victim to neglect and are just waiting for modern design enthusiast to rescue them.
In the mid 1950's the architectural firm of Anshen and Allen developed a neighborhood off of Rowland Boulevard. Sadly, like the May houses, many of these homes have fallen into a state of disrepair. On the bright side, there are some pretty nice homes on the east side of the 101 freeway, and if your timing is right, something there might be available when you are looking.
While exploring Novato real estate, you will quickly realize that Industrial design is at its best in Novato, compensating somewhat for the dearth of mid-century architecture. The Buck Center for Age Research is in a complex designed by Pei Cobb and Associates. This center includes five linked buildings clustered around a one-acre courtyard and is designed to complement the natural environment without and promote a sense of community within. Novato is also home to an ever so cool Googie style building that once housed the Birkenstock USA headquarters.
So Novato just might be your opportunity. If you've been wishing for a modern home in Marin, but find them to be out of your price range, you may be able to join others who love modern design, and revitalize the movement in Novato by buying a fixer and restoring it to its original splendor. Alternatively buildable land is still fairly easy to come by in Novato so you may be able to find a great lot for that prefab dream home!
Contact Us if we can help you buy or sell a modern, mid-century modern or architecturally interesting home, condo or townhome in Novato, California.
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