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.
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He found the black lacquer bar cabinet in an antiques store in Bellevue, where it was covered with a cloth and used as a stand for knickknacks. Marrone spied the tapered brass leg and asked to see what was underneath.
“The owner seemed surprised that I wanted something so contemporary but she was happy to sell it to me,” he remembers.
Marrone shares the home with his partner, Michael Nocera, and two English bulldogs, Sasha and Sophie. It’s a large house—4,400 square feet—with an open floor plan that is ideal for entertaining.
“You can have conversations going on all over and everyone is within eyeshot,” he says.
Blish says that was her intention when she and her husband hired builder Dick Ciotti to construct the house.
“It was absolutely perfect for parties, with each room flowing into the next,” she says.
Keeping Up With the Times
When Marrone bought the house, the kitchen had been updated with a full-size Sub-Zero refrigerator and matching freezer, as well as contemporary flat-panel cabinets that are in keeping with the mid-century sensibility.
“We have a lot of family and friends and they are always bringing food over here to store,” he says.
He kept the futuristic, stainless steel range hood but put in a new cooktop. Finding the right material for the counters required serious contemplation. Granite is too current. Soapstone is too vintage. A composite of pure white quartz, clean and cool, is just right.
A bit of renovation archaeology revealed that the original floor was vinyl in a lavender shade. The brick on the kitchen walls was painted pale purple to match.
That color scheme is one feature Marrone decided to part with, coating the bricks white. He installed a foot-friendly cork floor, with earth tones that are
compatible with the hardwoods in the adjoining den and dining room.
The den is a blend of mid-century and the 21st century, with a new sectional sofa flanked by a pair of Murano glass lamps made in the 1950s. The orange chair and ottoman are reproductions by Design Within Reach of the iconic womb chair designed in 1946 by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. The Knoll fabric, a wool weave blend, was a practical choice, selected to stand up to pet traffic.
“I don’t want the house to look as if you are walking into 1960,” he says. “It is important to mix things from different eras, pedigrees and price points because people naturally acquire things over time.”
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