October 28, 2009 Mid-Century Modern

The Brady Bunch and Ken Freeman

The 1960s “Brady Bunch” House
https://www.flickr.com/photos/voteprime/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Whenever I see a home designed by Ken Freeman in Bradley Park in Bethesda, Mantua in Fairfax or Normandy Estates in Potomac, I can’t help think of the 1960s “California contemporary” home from the “Brady Bunch.” Unlike others, who use the comparison in a derisive manner, I make the connection in a positive way. The “Brady Bunch” house featured a sloping roof-line, that large open living room, extensive glass above the front door and how can you forget that cool staircase. Take a look at this 1965 Freeman in Lake Normandy Estates to compare. (It was listed five days ago and is already under contract.) Freeman was a New York clothing designer who moved his family to Maryland in the 196os to become a real estate developer. He briefly worked with his brother, Carl, presumably Carl M. Freeman, who introduced the “California Cottage” to East Coast when his company built an award-winning community in 1947 in Carole Highlands, Maryland.

Like his brother, Ken sought to mix things up here in Washington. “He was nontraditional. He didn’t like the brick Colonials in Washington. He said they all looked the same. He said they were boring, very closed-in, old ideas. He just liked houses being different . . . clean lines, simple and tailored. It was like a religion to him,” Freeman’s daughter, Judith O’Callaghan, was quoted as saying in this 2005 Post story on Bradley Park.

Glad there were a few visionaries here to give us the mid-century modern housing stock we have today.