This standout MCM gem of a home nestled in New York received an exterior refresh that accentuates the best of its original design.
Sometimes, an MCM home stands out because of its paint color or an interesting architectural or landscape detail. This home in Pelham Manor, New York, is definitely “eye candy”—not only because of its striking form, but because it’s the only mid-century home in an entire neighborhood filled with 1920s buildings.
“There are people stopping and getting out of their cars and looking at this house all the time because it’s so different in the context of what’s around it. I think that enhances its appeal,” explains Scott Specht of Specht Architects, who oversaw the home’s renovation not long after a large tree fell on a portion of the rear of the home. “I think highlighting the difference between it and its contextual neighbors was really big. But it doesn’t disrespect those neighbors either.”
Originally designed and built by famed husband-and wife-architecture team Harold and Judith Edelman in 1961, the home was built on the grounds of a church that had split off a lot from its vast property.
The home’s original flat roof and framed appearance are reminiscent of a stage, and Specht wanted to keep that form while updating the look. The angular, but light, form comes courtesy of a bulked-up white stucco proscenium—a feature commonly associated with stages—which puts the spotlight on the new ipé wood façade. The home’s color-pop door, recessed entry and linear windows (previously jalousie windows that were updated) keep the front from feeling too heavy while beckoning the eye toward the interior.
“We added windows at the ends so the wood doesn’t just ‘dive into’ the stucco. It’s important to avoid having materials slamming into each other. We like to float them off with glass areas or space. It looks especially nice at night,” Scott points out.
Scott also worked with a landscape architect to complement the hard angles of the home with soft vegetation; and a tiered garden with delicate, wavy grasses cleverly blurs the entrance to an underground garage.
Says Scott, “I think ‘curb appeal’ has to do with not matching everything else around it. I think that deadens a neighborhood. Curb appeal is really doing something that expresses yourself but is also respectful of your neighbors.”
Architectural Terms You Should Know
Jalousie windows: These are windows with slats of glass that open like horizontal blinds instead of being a single pane of glass. Popular in tropical climates, they’re easy to open to let island breezes in but are extremely energy inefficient.
Proscenium: Typically an arch or a frame, the proscenium is the area surrounding a theater stage, separating it from the auditorium. In architecture, this can be a structure that appears to frame or contain a distinct inner area.
To gather more MCM inspiration from another standout MCM home in New York, read on to learn how an MCM home earmarked for teardown got a second life. And of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Mid Century Modern inspiration!