Monday, August 24, 2009

Patio homes

The blog had noted the "patio homes" sign on its earlier visit to Brookberry Farm, and was eager to follow up. But what is a patio home (other than being cheaper than the big houses of Brookberry Farm proper)? A little research reveals that builders in other parts of the US would be unlikely to refer to these attractive smaller houses as patio homes. The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the term was first used in the US in 1967, and typically indicates a suburban development of attached single family homes. Wikipedia notes that an important defining element beyond a patio is typically the transfer of all exterior maintenance responsibilities to a Homeowners' Association. The following quotation from a very interesting article by Oscar Machado in a publication called the Town Paper suggests an entirely different concept: "While the more typical American single-family house occupies the center of its lot with setbacks on all sides, the patio house occupies the boundaries of its lot while internally defining one or more private patios. The yard is in the center, forming a garden open to the sky within the house. All the major rooms open to the porches lining this interior room of a garden. " None of these attributes with the possible exception of an active Homeowners' Association appear relevant to the Brookberry Farm patio homes, but the blog was able to identify one of the Walnut Park homes so well-situated that it could envision drinking its Friday night wine on that Jon's photo the gazebo of a pretty common area is just visible on the left.

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