At first glance, Asheville may seem an unlikely backdrop for midcentury modern architecture, the style that embraces clean, simple lines and honest use of materials. But Mosaic broker Carol Marin, who has delighted in the organic aesthetic for years, has a knack for uncovering such homes, and she’s found many in Asheville. A former vocal coach, Marin now gives voice to Asheville’s midcentury modern movement, with a blog detailing the architectural design in the area – and a keen sense for sussing out midcentury modern finds for her clients all around Asheville
Give a little background on your life, both personal and professional. What brought you back to Asheville? What drew you into real estate?
I’m an Asheville native; my family roots go back many generations in this area. I grew up in West Asheville and have lived in Fairview, North Asheville, Weaverville and Candler. Asheville was a wonderful place to grow up. Back then, downtown Asheville had department stores, the S&W Cafeteria and Woolworth’s and Kress weren’t galleries, but five-and-dime stores. The Asheville Mall opened in the 1970s and eventually led to the shuttering of downtown in the 1980s. Revitalization began in the 1990s, and now it’s hard to imagine that Asheville wasn’t always the vibrant city it is today.
Growing up, music was always the only thing I was ever really interested in, so I went to Converse College in Spartanburg to pursue a degree in vocal performance and afterward on to Northwestern University in the Chicago area to complete my graduate work. I loved Chicago, and ended up staying there for 22 years. Chicago, with its world-class music and art scene, was a great place to pursue a performing career, and I transitioned into a successful career as a vocal coach.
I met my husband, Jaime, while working in a restaurant in Chicago. Over the years he worked as a sous chef at some of the best restaurants in the city, La Tour and Seasons to name a couple. As you might imagine, he’s an amazing cook – I’m so spoiled!
When I moved back to Asheville in 2005, I wanted a new challenge, so I decided to pursue real estate. It was something I had been considering for a while, and relocating gave me the impetus to make it happen.
Carol Marin discusses the midcentury modern real estate market in Asheville
How did midcentury modern homes become your passion?
Living in Chicago, I was exposed to a lot of great modern architecture. [Famed architect] Frank Lloyd Wright had his practice in the Oak Park neighborhood of Chicago. After touring his studio, I was captivated. I sought out his other designs in the Chicago area and even traveled to Spring Green to see Taliesin [Wright’s home, studio, school and estate]. Wright influenced and trained many of the midcentury modern architects. I love the idea of designing a home to be in harmony with its surroundings, and that was Wright’s philosophy.
How has the Asheville market fueled your midcentury modern interests?
Somewhere early in my real estate career, I started to look around and see that there were homes that I had taken for granted growing up: ranch-style and modern homes with clean lines, large windows, brick, wood and stone elements, and most importantly a connection with nature. There’s something about these homes that speaks to me: They are simple, but have a warmth that you don’t find in newer homes. I started my Mid Century Modern Asheville blog a few years ago as a platform to share my interest with others and highlight this amazing period in architecture. It is also a creative outlet and something I get excited about. I have been surprised how many midcentury modern fans there are out there, and through my blog I’m connecting with them. Many have become friends and clients.
Where are midcentury modern pockets found in Asheville?
Lakeview Park and Grove Park in North Asheville have some notable midcentury modern homes, Biltmore Forest of course, but really you can find them all over. Woodland Hills between Asheville and Weaverville, Oak Forest and Ballantree in South Asheville, Beverly Hills and Botany Woods in East Asheville and Malvern Hills in West Asheville are just a few that come to mind.
Marin is in tune with Asheville’s classical music scene
What are your other passions, especially as they relate to Asheville?
I want to do what I can to keep the art of classical music thriving in Asheville. I’m a supporter of the Asheville Music School; its scholarship fund provides financial help to those who would otherwise be unable to afford music lessons. I also support and am involved with the Asheville Symphony.
I have a need to be active, so on any given morning you’ll find me out walking or taking fitness classes at the YMCA. Living in an area with world-class hiking, I try to get out on a trail on a pretty regular basis. Being in the woods gives me a chance to unplug and re-center myself.
What gives you an edge as a midcentury modern enthusiast in the Asheville real estate market?
I understand the modern aesthetic and know that it can be a challenge to find. I do the groundwork for buyers by staying on top of the midcentury modern market.
Besides my midcentury modern expertise, I seemed to have developed a niche working with older active adults who are relocating to our beautiful area. I have a successful track record of helping many of them through the journey of finding the area and home that best fit their lifestyle.
Connect with Carol at Carol@MyMosaicRealty.com or 828-545-2712