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July 13, 2008 Charles Goodman

Charles Goodman-Designed Prefabs for Sale, Rent in Annandale

In addition to designing homes for local developers who built signature “Goodman” communities such as Hollin Hills, River Park and Rock Creek Woods, Charles Goodman also served as an architect for Lafayette, Ind.-based National Homes, which was the country’s largest prefab home manufacturer. A 1954 Time article described Jim Price, the founder of National Homes, as the “King of the Builders,” saying that he “has succeeded where many another failed: he proved that a prefabricated house can be mass-produced and sold at a profit without looking like a Quonset hut.

The last paragraph of the story mentions Goodman, who served as a consulting architect to National Homes for five years beginning in 1953. “In his mass operation, Price has not neglected style. The 31 models in his 1955 line, now starting in production, were designed by Architect Charles M. Goodman of Washington, D.C. Says Price: ‘We can fight it out on a mass or class basis. We can provide a home for somebody who hasn’t any kind of home, or give a rich man a home where he can entertain a Rockefeller.'”

Elizabeth Jo Lampl, writing in her 2004 submission about Goodman’s homes in Montgomery County to the National Register of Historic Places, says Goodman revolutionized the way homes could be built. “During this period of prefabrication,” she writes, “Goodman turned the building construction process on its head, directing skilled workmen to craft much of his houses with machines indoors and using lesser skilled carpenters on site.” Some have estimated that 100,000 of the Goodman-designed National Homes were built across the country.

Here are two homes designed by Goodman and built by National Homes in the 1950s.

1956 two-story in Annandale. This home, available for rent at $2,295 a month, is located in Annanwood, a 20-home community in Annandale, Va., developed by Paul Berman and Paul Hammond. Berman and Hammond built several of the Goodman communities in Montgomery County. The front of the home looks more like a traditional rambler, but the back has more of the Goodman feel with the extensive use of glass.

1955 two-story in Herndon – $249K – This 6/2.5 home is located in Herndon Woods, which Lampl writes was a “small National Homes project.” The listing has only one exterior image, but you can see Goodman’s extensive use of glass along the lower part of the front of the house. I assume the portico was added later.