Craig Wakefield is overjoyed to wear two hats these days — one as a practicing dentist and the other as Philadelphia’s midcentury modernist Realtor.

“In 2008 I went home to Cincinnati and saw that Susan Rissover was specializing in midcentury,” says the 51-year-old Wakefield. “I thought it was crazy that Philly didn’t have someone comparable.”

Backyard with Schultz furniture
A trio of Richard Schultz 1966 Collection outdoor furniture on the back deck, with a bank of sweet woodruff groundcover in the foreground.

So he took the necessary real estate training, and in a few short months had a website up and was sharing his passion for Philadelphia postwar design. “There’s a creative community in Philly with a large number of people who love these houses. The developers here are incredibly traditional, and I think we have less new architecture than a lot of cities, but there is a demand for these mid- centuries.”

Three years earlier, he and his partner moved from a condo in center city to a compact 1955 ranch they saw advertised one Sunday. “We hadn’t discussed buying a house, but within four hours we were under contract,” Wakefield says.

Surrounded by late-Victorian and early-20th-century mansions in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, the house is one of six midcentury moderns clustered together. “It’s 1,700 square feet, three bedrooms and two baths—a bright, happy house. It’s great for somebody who doesn’t want to do a lot of yard work, and it’s in a great location with miles and miles of trails and a cute little downtown with walkable restaurants.” In other words they heeded the realty bromide, ‘location, location, location.’

Philadelphia home exterior
Stone balls accent the sun-dappled moss lawn in early fall, and at driveway level you see the new anodized aluminum Avanti garage door from Clopay.

Keeping the Faith in Philly

Wakefield kept most of the features in his midcentury home — including one normally off-putting paint color. Find out what loud color remained, as well as what Wakefield thinks is okay to update, in part two!