Kling Midcentury Renovation

Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

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., the Smith Residence was a “lost” example of architect Vincent Kling’s residential work. 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 Kevin Yoder to view the property and 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 award-winning 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.

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