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1950s, Midcentury modern, Modernist, USA

1950s Marcel Breuer-designed The Lauck House in Princeton, New Jersey, USA

1950s Marcel Breuer-designed The Lauck House in Princeton, New Jersey, USA
1950s Marcel Breuer-designed The Lauck House in Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Another special place, with this 1950s Marcel Breuer-designed The Lauck House in Princeton, New Jersey, USA back on the market.

Back because those of you with good memories might recall this being offered for sale back in 2015, although it looked a little different back then. Not massively overall, but if you saw images of this house in 2015 you would have noticed a grey finish on the outside, which was some kind of cladding. Fast forward four years and the rather dull grey has been replaced with new cladding in Cypress wood. It is a massive improvement.

Outside of the wood cladding, this is a fascinating house for many reasons, one of which is the story behind this design. Philip Johnson commissioned a set of ‘exhibition houses’ for MoMA’s sculpture garden back in 1949, intended as an ‘economical’ solution for an individually built, architect-designed country home. Marcel Breuer designed the first of those houses, which was bought by the Rockefellers. That was followed by a commission based on that design, which was The Lauck House.

The Lauck House, which was commissioned by New York ad man Gerold Lauck for his son, was built a year after that prototype on four acres in Princeton, New Jersey and with all the key features of that original build – including the butterfly roof and a ‘bi-nuclear’ layout, allowing the house to grow with the family, with the option of creating ‘apartments’ at each end of the property if required.

The house is a groundbreaking piece of domestic architecture, introducing ideas that are commonplace today, such as a dedicated children’s area – bedrooms and a playroom separated from the parent’s room along with a central kitchen overlooking all the house activities, multiple entrances from designated outdoor areas, a sense of continuous interior/exterior open space and varying ceiling heights. All mainstays of contemporary architecture.

Also, note the south-facing glass facade extending outwards to the garden, capturing direct sunlight and heat during the winter days, while the roof overhangs to create shade during the summer.

Amazing condition too, which is down to the work undertaken by the current owners in two phases. Firstly in 2009, when it won a national award, and in 2018, which is when the wood returned to the exterior.

Restoration work was aided by the Rockefeller Foundation who provided the original colour scheme for the house based on analysis of the original MoMA exhibit house, with the owners also using archival material, original plans and schedules to add back the originality, right down to the reconstructing partitions re-constructed and returning the mid-century steel windows.

You can see the result in the imagery here. A painstaking restoration, but one that doesn’t lose sight of Breuer’s original aim. This is still a family home. A very stylish family home.

In fact, it’s a family home covering something like 3,300 sq. ft. in total. If the layout is the same as 2015, that means our bedrooms, four bathrooms, a studio, a playroom, living room, family room and the kitchen, with a two-car garage finishing things off. But do double check that yourself.

One other thing has changed since 2015 too, which is the price. Despite further work being undertaken, the asking price seems to have dropped considerably. It was up for $2000,000 back then, but now the list price is a much-reduced $1,210,000.

Images and details courtesy of Zillow. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.

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