Above: Sophie takes a break on the stairs of the beautifully restored Mid Century Modern home of George Marrone located in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: George Marrone
One of the great delights of administering the MCM Facebook page these past three years are the posts of George Marrone. George purchased a home built in 1959 and undertook the enormous job of restoring it. The key word here is restoring. I am careful not to use the word ‘renovation’ as it so often implies that a house has been stripped of all its original character and ‘brought up to date’. One can understand wanting more energy efficient heating and appliances, and perhaps some double glazing for windows but what so often happens – particularly with homes of the MCM period – is that they are gutted and rebuilt from the inside. The result is often a contemporary home with a husk of Mid Century Modern exterior.
This house, on wooded lot in Wilmington, Delaware, was fortunate to have George Marrone purchase it and spared an inconsiderate renovation. And the result is wonderful. Each photo George posts to the MCM Facebook group (which so often includes his lovely dogs Sophie and Sasha) never fails to please. So, with George’s kind permission – and in his own words – here are a selection photos taken at various times of the year, and there is no season in which this house does not shine.
In George’s own words,
“… I began collecting mid century furniture after college in the late 1990’s and it wasn’t something most people I knew had any interest in. I found myself drawn to its simplicity of form and clean lines. While my calling has been in healthcare, I have always had an affinity for architecture and design. I grew up in a very traditional home but always loved the Brady Bunch house I watched in re-runs as a kid in the 1970’s and thought maybe one day I could live in a place like that. These are not too common in the Delaware Valley around Philadelphia but one day I stumbled upon this listing while helping a friend look for a home online. I immediately went to see it and knew it was the right one. Artist-built in 1959, its 1.5 acre lot along a creek and gardens was alluring. The post and beam structure, however, was a little Grey Gardens and needed to be rescued. It was a unique tri-level design with soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. I wanted to find the balance between restoration and renovation while being true to the home’s character. With original details in-tact along with incredible bones and flow, the process was actually not as onerous as it would seem. I wanted the house to not be a time capsule but rather feel modern and light and actually be better than ever.
A favorite thing for me is waking up in the master bedroom, listening to the creek while looking out among the trees and gardens. My design philosophy is one that mixes old and new as well as high and low. Iconic pieces blend seamlessly with flea market finds. Something either has good lines or not and if I am drawn to it I feel like it will work. Colors and textures infuse modern spaces with warmth and the mix and layers of these different elements create the most interesting spaces to me. Pragmatic choices were made in light of my dogs, Sophie and Sasha, as well as many other animals we often have over. I wanted the house to feel warm and inviting and be a place where everyone feels comfortable. I love to entertain and people often say they feel fantastic when they are here and for me, that is the best compliment one can receive. ”
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