The complete interior and exterior renovation and restoration of a midcentury modern residence designed by Vincent G. Kling in 1959 paid careful attention to craftsmanship and detailing for a project characterized by stewardship, balance, and refinement.
Located on a pie-shaped lot in the Philadelphia suburb of Gladwyne, Pa., U.S.A., the Smith Residence was a “lost” example of architect Vincent Kling’s residential work. Kling (1916-2013) is one of Philadelphia’s most notable and prolific architects. While known more for his commercial and institutional projects, Kling designed a handful of midcentury modern residences known for their clean lines and spatial purity. Because the house wasn’t widely recognized as Kling’s, when it was put on the market in 2013, the preservation community did not take notice.
Instead, the house was marketed as a potential teardown. Fortunately, the current homeowner, as a prospective buyer, was intrigued by its design. He brought along Principal Kevin Yoder, AIA, LEED AP, of k YODER design, to view the property. Together they agreed it could – and should – be saved.
Goals of the sensitive renovation included preserving the home’s architectural integrity, promoting livability, and ensuring functionality for the future. The project complements the original architecture with thoughtful interventions and exceptional attention to detailing that respect and maintain the purity of the original plan.
Interior renovations involved a new kitchen, powder room, master bath, and two children’s baths on the main level, and a family room, laundry, and utility room in the basement. Significant water damage in the roof structure was mitigated, requiring replacement of all ceilings and the central clerestory and allowing for installation of new roof insulation. The fireplace surround, damaged from years of smoke, was redesigned with an appropriate replacement. Exterior work included restoring the white marble chip ballasted roof and original metal drip edge, both replicated from Kling’s drawings.
The design retains the integrity of the original architecture, preserving the Kling four-square plan and cruciform circulation while maintaining the rigor of its interior structure and spatial divisions. Finishes were updated, details edited, and the aesthetic polished for a hybrid of midcentury and 21st century modern style and amenities. The Kling Midcentury Renovation appeared on a tour at the American Institute of Architects National Convention in 2016 and was honored with a 2017 Docomomo-US Modernism in America Citation of Merit, a 2017 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award, and a 2017 Township of Lower Merion Historic Preservation Award. The project has been featured online at ARCHITECT magazine, Curbed, and the Caesarstone® Interior Collective; in print editions of Atomic Ranch and Philadelphia magazines; and in “Midcentury Modern Domestic Architecture: A Continuum of Livability” published and presented as part of the 2018 Docomomo International Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Material Used :
1. Arcadia – exterior doors and windows
2. Benjamin Moore – paint – PM-1 flat, scrubbable paint
3. Blanco Linus – kitchen fittings – sink faucet
4. Caesarstone – master bath counters – Polished Haze
5. Caesarstone – kitchen counters – Polished Nougat
6. Cambria – children’s bath counters – Quartzstone Polished Whitney
7. Duravit – bath fixtures – Starck 3 wall-mounted toilets
8. Ergon – bath flooring – Grey Contrafalda Rett Naturale porcelain floor file
9. Grohe – master bath fittings – F Series 10” rain shower head and arm and body sprays
10. Halo – lighting – Low-voltage white with white baffle recessed ceiling lights
11. Hansgrohe – children’s bath fittings – Metris faucet
12. Hansgrohe – master bath fittings – Axor Uno thermostatic shower valve trim and volume/diverter controls
13. Hansgrohe – master bath and powder room fittings – Metris S faucets
14. InSinkErator – kitchen disposal
15. Kohler – master and children’s bath fixtures – Verticyl sinks
16. Lacava – custom bathroom vanities
17. Lacava – powder room bath fixtures – cube sink
18. Lightology – master bedroom lighting – LED swing-arm wall sconce
19. Lumens – kitchen lighting – Milagro large pendants by Eglo
20. Marca – kitchen flooring – Corona Grey porcelain floor tile
21. Miele – kitchen cooktop – KM3475 36” gas cooktop
22. Miele – kitchen dishwasher – G5675SCVi Futura Dimension dishwasher
23. Miele – kitchen ovens - H4086BM Speed Oven; 4884BP Wall Oven
24. Nemo – dining room lighting – Crown Major chandelier
25. Omnia – hardware
26. Poggenpohl – kitchen cabinetry – Polar White Matte Lacquer CL 1070 Style with matte aluminum panel backsplash
27. Raydoor – master bathroom door
28. Sikkens – natural wood stain
29. SubZero – kitchen refrigerator/freezer - S736TCI 36”
30. Zodiac – powder room counters – Quartzstone Polished Calm Spring