December 15, 2012

UPDATED: Snout Housing: Threat or Menace?

Letters, oh we get letters… Here’s something to snuffle over from Burbed reader Kiki:

121214-snout-victoriaI would love to see some analysis on South Bay snout houses.  Why are there so many? It’s like mullets at Wal-Mart.

Do they sit on the market longer than other house styles? Is that a punishment? Do people actually like them or do they settle because of … ahem … “inventory” available?

I don’t think anyone has ever done a published, peer reviewed analysis on snout houses (because the people who would be interested in that sort of data sure don’t want to share it). I’m in Santa Clara – I know of one tract developed in the 1950s that’s almost ALL snout houses. It’s east of Lawrence & north of El Camino (yes, El Camino runs East-West in Santa Clara) and runs east to about Kiely. I’m not sure how far north the sprawl of snout goes but I can surf google earth later today.

thank you for your delightful daily snark. I love what you’re doing.

121214-snout-warburtonGiven the location, location, location that Kiki provided, we went to Redfin and saw what was available.  Answer: nothing you can buy that’s particularly snoutside, but looking at recent sales yielded a winner from 1954 on our first click.

And in that same general area, no snout about it, different from the first one yet so much the same, and also from that excellent year of 1954.

Asnout these homes… yes, they do seem to be clustered in this area.  But we’ve featured this style of home before, and they aren’t all in West Central Santa Clara.

121214-snout-bouveronFor example, here’s one we ran at the beginning of this year.  It’s all snout and nothing else to face.  It’s also not in Santa Clara, but in San Jose.  Such a delightful frontage, wonder why it took ten months to sell. No, it didn’t take ten months, it sold this October.  And also this June, so it’s a snout-flip.  (The June sale took 3 years to happen, and then sold for 1/3 less than the 2000 sale price.)  Wow, instant equity!

But there are all kinds of snout houses, just as there are all kinds of buyers and sellers.


121214-snout-selbyF’rinstance, this lovely little luxury lulu in Milpitas (on the left, above) is better than the usual snout house, because it has bunus snout.  Contrariwise, on the right is a Mountain View maisonette, or as Burbed reader bmwman91 put it, a “single-nostril snout house.”

This delightful domicile à droit (that’s at right for the realtards following along from their home offices) looks like it could fit in a tract with any of the others up top, but this middle-class muzzle-mansion is in Atherton. Yes, it’s in the cheap-ass part that’s practically Redwood City, but it has an Atherton mailing address and more importantly, an Atherton property tax bill.

Let us know about snout houses you’ve seen, visited, or even lived in.  Or let us know about anything else you want, because it’s also time to get your schnozz into a Weekend Open Thread!

Update 10:07 PM: How could we forget this ode to snout housing from 1986? Put your hands together for David Byrne, who anticipated what endless expansion of exurbia would lead to.  This is a clip from True Stories.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

10 Responses to “UPDATED: Snout Housing: Threat or Menace?”

  1. PK Says:

    When I was doing my waaaay too hardcore home search back in 2010 I bookmarked this PDF on historic housing styles in San Jose (second warning: PDF!). From the document: in 1936 the FHA started publishing minimum standards for financing, leading to the ‘Traditional Minimal Style’/’FHA Minimum House’. Post WW2 was when snout houses came about though, as returning veterans embraced the vehicle and added a garage to the ‘FHA Minimum’:

    (pg 24) “The postwar examples differed from their 1930s counterparts, with the addition of a garage placed prominently in front of the house. The automobile was here to stay.”

    It’s actually an interesting read, covering way more than just snout houses (and perhaps it’ll inspire a few weekend posts?). Take a shot this weekend?

  2. nomadic Says:

    Pretty much anytime you put a tract house on a lot under 8000sf, you get a snout house. There’s no other way to fit the two car garage. You see a ton of them in Arizona too.

  3. KikiSC Says:

    They’re just so very ugly! Didn’t anyone notice? Or do people really not care? And while I’m kvetching: what’s up with the proliferation of houses with no front door in the south bay? A significant percentage of houses have only a side door, tucked around behind the snout. Am I the only one who thinks that’s weird? Maybe it’s me …

  4. South Bayer Says:

    Snout houses make logical sense, even though not to everyone’s taste. It’s more space efficient. If you don’t have a snout house today, you can gain square footage by turning it into one. Just build a garage out front, and turn the existing garage into living space. The living space is quieter, because the garage blocks out street noise. Snout houses are also safer for the inhabitants, because the design makes the house less accessible compared to a house with a wide frontage. Owners in general feel more privacy. I think snout houses are great.

  5. madhaus Says:

    #2, nomadic, I disagree. There are many ways to configure a house plus garage withsnout such uglitude. Here’s a few examples.

    1. Garage detached in back
    2. Garage even or flush with house
    3. Garage attached but further away from street than house.
    4. Garage protruding with door on side minimized snoutage

    And of course, the delightful tandem garage.

  6. nomadic Says:

    Tandem doesn’t count, but okay, those are decent examples. Maybe builders put on ugly snouts to minimize paving surface and save money.

  7. madhaus Says:

    Check out the new addition to this feature. If you want to talk snout housing, you must see these (video at end of article).

  8. dollarbin Says:

    Snouts are what make Monta Loma so popular!

  9. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Easy fix: trompe l’œil on garage door.

  10. They call it Flipper, Flipper, King of the Offer [] Says:

    […] why wftf sent this reverse snout-house […]

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