Carlos Joseph Alvaré, a disciple of Louis Kahn, designed this masterpiece in 1967. Warm and comfortable, it has stood the test of time well.
More than any other modern architect, Louis Kahn produced buildings which, although very modern, also contained medieval elements. Their substantial walls, niches, parapets and similar elements channeled the ancient past as much as they opened new paths.
Architect Carlos Joseph Alvaré studied under Kahn before striking out on his own, and you can see Kahn’s influences on Alvaré in this Mid-Century Modern Spring City home for sale. Not much about Alvaré can be found in the online architectural history archive, but I do know that the classroom building he designed for Saint Joseph University in 1961 won the award for best designed by the American Institute of Architects.
If this house was built entirely of stone – and there’s a lot of stone in it, as the photo above shows – it would probably look more medieval than it does. But this place is called “Sticks and Stones” for good reason: Alvaré used wood almost as liberally as stone. The shingles that surround the roof and cover most of the front walls recall another architectural tradition: that of the Shingle Style, popularized in New England at the end of the 19th century.
Once inside, however, this home feels as contemporary as its period contemporaries. And its owners have taken great care to preserve its original materials and details, with one exception.
You enter the house through an insulated front door which sits between two stone walls. A slate floor hall connecting the main living areas and bedrooms welcomes you immediately.
A left turn and a short walk past a guest bedroom brings you to the living room. Walnut panels add warmth to its stone walls while large windows add light to the space.
Across the hall from the living room is the library. Its cantou is as massive in this relatively intimate room as it is outside the house.
Built-in shelves brighten up the space.
A slight trot to the right from the foyer leads to the dining room.
Folding doors that lead to the screened porch next door open up the possibility of bringing a breath of the outdoors to your dinner party.
Built-in walnut cabinets on the opposite wall provide plenty of storage space.
Now compare those cabinets in the dining room to those in the eat-in kitchen and you should be able to spot where the owners stumbled in their faithful upkeep of this one-of-a-kind home. When updated with modern appliances and granite countertops, the owners opted for traditional cabinetry instead of something more modern. They chose walnut cabinets, however, to maintain continuity of tone. And I get it – custom cabinets cost a pretty penny and add time to a kitchen remodel, a job that is often time-consuming upfront.
A laundry room and a cloakroom next to the kitchen lead to the blue stone terrace at the rear of the house. It could be converted into a butler’s pantry to facilitate al fresco dinner service.
This house has three other bedrooms in addition to the guest bedroom. One of them, the master suite, is to the right of the hall (I believe, this bedroom has windows on the opposite walls, and I don’t see any such rooms in the exterior photos).
Outside is an antechamber, the adjoining bathroom, and a large closet with custom shelving.
The two bedrooms at the opposite end of the house from the main one share this more lavish bathroom with two granite sinks, a large shower stall (with stone walls, of course) and a separate powder room with its own sink.
The house also has a basement — but you’ll only find one thing there: this spacious wine cellar.
To the rear you will find both the bluestone terrace in one corner and this swimming pool, connected by curved steps to the house and the terrace.
And because it all takes up just the front portion of its 10-acre lot, you also have forest to explore whenever you want.
As you can see, “Sticks and Stones” has very strong bones. This mid-century modern home for sale in Spring City offers urban style with a touch of the Middle Ages in a wooded country setting.
THE SMALL CHARACTERISTICS
THERMES: 2 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 3,254
SELLING PRICE: $1,495,000
OTHER THINGS: A detached garage next to the house can park three cars, and the driveway has enough room to store a few more.