Design New England

A Modern Icon for Sale in Lincoln


Designed by architect Earl Flansburgh, the Flansburgh House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is on the market.

Lovers of all things modern are abuzz now that the Flansburgh House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is coming to market for the first time since it was built. The prominent Modernist architect Earl Flansburgh (1931-2009) designed it for his young family of four in 1963, the same year he founded Earl R. Flansburgh & Associates, now Flansburgh Architects, a Boston firm that specialized in educational institutions and continues to the present day. One of his sons, John, is one half of the much-loved indie rock band They Might Be Giants, which gives the iconic home an extra layer of panache, at least for us fans.

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Deftly sited on two wooded acres between Conant and Old Conant roads, the stark-white house and its separate two-car garage form the kind of “machine in the garden” composition that the best of Modernism promised. The house is a low-slung single-story rectangle arranged around an internal garden courtyard, almost Japanese in spirit, which the architect said “brings nature in on our terms.” Several skylights admit abundant light, and floor-to-ceiling windows give every room a wall animated by the outdoors. The design world took notice soon after it was built, with an Architectural Record cover story in 1965 and a long feature in Better Homes & Gardens in 1966. Dwell covered it in 2012. Listing agent Bill Janovitz of William Raveis in Lexington, Massachusetts, writes on his ModernMass blog that “the Flansburgh House is proof that at one time, optimism and an international worldview were common enough — and land inexpensive enough — in the Boston area to allow for such pioneering design to flourish.”


The four-bedroom home is designed around an open interior courtyard.

Its iconic nature is guaranteed to survive, thanks to a preservation easement recently put in place by the Flansburgh family. Administered by Historic New England, it is meant to “protect interior and exterior features of the house and garden and landscape features,” but does not preclude additions. As Janovitz points out, “new owners can put their own creative stamp on the house. This could include changes in the kitchen and bathrooms, adding air conditioning, finishing the basement, adding a screened-in porch, and other such upgrades.” To further explain the easement, Historic New England’s senior stewardship manager Joe Cornish will be at the open houses.

The basics: 2,382 square feet, 1.98 acres, 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 fireplaces, separate garage connected to house via underground tunnel (!). $1,050,000. Private showings begin Tuesday, April 1, with open houses Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6, 1-3 p.m. each day. Any/all offers to be reviewed at 4 p.m., Monday, April 7. For more information, contact Janovitz at 781-856-0992, or his business partner, John Tse, at 617-851-3532.

Great design is always at your fingertips! Read Design New England's March/April 2014 issue online!