George Marrone renovates a A Mid-Century Modern home in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware
Rat Pack Redo: Blend 1950s cool with Frank Lloyd Wright, and this is what you get.
(page 2 of 4)
Signs of the Times
Mid-century modern is defined as the period from 1933-1965 and characterized by simple lines, organic shapes, integration with the outdoors, and large expanses of glass.
Marrone bought the property from the second owners, a couple who moved into the house in 1986. They, too, embraced the mid-century sensibility, retaining such classic features as a three-sided fireplace, where the cast of Mad Men might gather for a photo shoot.
The built-in floating buffet in the dining room was in pristine condition, as well. Ditto for streamlined walnut cupboards in the first-floor sitting room and bookcases in the home office, where the original hard-wired desk lamp illuminated a sleek custom desk designed for the space.
Also in place were such mid-century amenities as a built-in charcoal grill in the living room and a central vacuuming system, both in working order. There was a sauna, de rigueur in luxury homes of the period.
“It was amazing to find a house that was so complete, so well cared for,” he says.
From Blish to Bliss
Thanks to a new roof and mechanical systems installed by the previous owners, taking the property from Blish to bliss required mostly minor cosmetic changes.
The house is ensconced in stands of mature trees, which create an umbrella of shade in summer. To usher more natural sunlight into the interior, Marrone stripped away heavy draperies. He left the fir ceilings in their dark, rich tones, but painted the walls white to give the rooms a lighter and brighter feel.
He removed shag carpeting on the dramatic staircase, revealing the wood beneath. Asian-inspired insets of raked sand in the foyer floor were replaced with river rocks. A 24-light Sputnik chandelier, so named for the Russian satellite launched in 1957, was installed over the dining room table.
“The Sputnik looks as though it’s always been here but actually there was no chandelier in the dining room until we installed one,” he says.
continues on page 3...