1936 Modernistic – Philadelphia, PA

SOLD / Archived From 2017
Added to OHD on 7/24/17 - Last OHD Update: 5/29/18 - 41 Comments
Address Withheld

Map: Street View









Spectacular 1930's Art Deco home with abundant original features and fixtures. Three large bedrooms, main bedroom with walkout balcony/sun deck, sunroom, formal dining room. Very fun home to live in, great for entertaining on a lovely street in very desirable section of East Mt. Airy. As you walk up the sidewalk to this home designed by Philadelphia architect James A. Nolen Jr., close your eyes and listen. Can you hear the cheers of the crowd as Jesse Owens wins his 4th Gold Medal at the Berlin Olympics? Entering the front door, to your left is a light-filled sun room and living room with an elegant wood burning fireplace, where you sit and read the first edition of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With The Wind'. Getting hungry, you dance your way across the hardwood floors throughout the first floor to the dining room and it's ornate crown molding with the original sunken fixtures that bath it in warm light, as Benny Goodman and his orchestra are playing on the radio. You head to the galley kitchen to fetch canap~s and cocktails and make coffee for your friends. While you wait for the water to boil on the gas cook stove, you open the steel case windows, which are a part of every light filled room, and look out onto the garden on the side of the house. Feeling sleepy, you head up the Art Deco stairs to the second floor, which features a master-suite, with walkout balcony/sun deck, hall bathroom and 2 additional bedrooms. Featured in the April 2007 edition of 'Old-House Interiors' magazine, you see the house in its 1936 glory, to which you wish to restore it with a little TLC. **Home is being Sold As-Is**
Sold By
Johanna Evangelou, Dan Helwig Realtors      (215) 233-5000
Links & Additional Info
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41 Comments on 1936 Modernistic – Philadelphia, PA

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  1. Kelly, OHD adminKelly, OHD admin says: 9425 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks Daughter of George for sharing!

    Thanks JimH for finding the OHI article (linked in Sources section up top.)

  2. robinjn says: 211 comments

    Love the Realtor’s description. She needs a lot of work but oh man, the bones are there. The molding, the light fixtures, the original tile in the bathrooms. Love the pink formica in the kitchen. Moderne is probably my favorite architectural style. This house looks like it could be part of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie.

  3. Daughter of GeorgeDaughter of George says: 758 comments

    This is indeed a wonderful house. Thanks Kelly for adding it!

    What an incredible age the 1930s must have been to have inspired this glorious style.

  4. LouB says: 86 comments

    This is what I love about this site ( thank you, Kelly! ). There’s something that everyone is fond of and they can respectfully express their appreciation for it in a friendly format.

    The moderne look seems to had a short run and mostly appeared in upscale (ish) communities where the building hadn’t ground to a halt in the 1930’s.
    In Oak Park / River Forest IL we had a rash of Moorish style being built at that time that had a weird mix of Spanish eclectic and Moderne elements. Most of the interiors were revamped in the 60’s or so and so lost the character at least on the first floor. Oddly, you’d see remnants of the style in the basements. I remember seeing this style in the 70’s at friend’s houses but the remodel bug took care of that one.

  5. JoeD says: 19 comments

    I wish I had a bajillion dollars; I would buy all of the awe-inspiring homes featured here on OHD that have fallen to neglect, fix them up, and rotate my time living in every single one. Starting with this beauty and the NY Gothic in the previous post. I mean, c’mon! Why, why do these properties need to get to their current states? I’ll never understand. BTW, a bajillion dollars is A. LOT. 🙂 I saw the deco ‘skyscraper’ light fixture in an antique store over the weekend. (2) for $300. They were quite large! And stunning.

  6. dkzody says: 267 comments

    The neighborhood is quite charming with beautiful yards. This home looks like it had the same owner for many decades.

  7. JullesJulles says: 531 comments

    Love, love love the house!!! the article shows the house in 2007 and OHD in 2017. It is amazing how the condition changed in 10 years. I wish that the furniture in the article had stayed with the house.

    • Joseph says: 21 comments

      It looks like something strange happened – maybe a major roof or plumbing failure? Seems to be corner and cornice damage, and I think those may have been exploratory holes poked in the ceilings.

      • Janet says: 2 comments

        The holes look like someone rewired the electrical system, which would be a good thing, as that is very expensive!

  8. Glen says: 46 comments

    Totally diggin the whole Art Decco vibe

  9. Paul M says: 31 comments

    Wow!! Get a good architect/designer who knows the Art Moderne style well, and this would be an amazing house. As was pointed out already, the bones are there. It needs to be restored to its grandeur!

  10. Bethany says: 2397 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Escondido, CA

    I never thought I’d add a “modernistic” house to my favorites list, but this is one of the coolest houses I’ve ever seen! I sure hope the right person gets ahold of it.

  11. RossRoss says: 2314 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Hoping that the new owner restores the fabulous steel casement windows.

    Most people would tear them out without hesitation but a quick Internet search will reveal how to restore them, and what companies do this.

    They add SO much to the original character of the home.

    • Daughter of GeorgeDaughter of George says: 758 comments

      Ross, amen to the praises of casement windows!

      My very first apartment (the mother-in-law wing of a house on Lake Hartwell — I was truly lucky!) had casement windows. That started the love affair.

      These windows have a unique balance of charm and (industrial) strength!

    • Lisa says: 4 comments

      We live in a moderne apartment with great original details in Chicago. The owner did something clever. We have the original windows (which we’ve repaired panes in, a pain, but not ridiculously complicated), but he’s had a barely visible frame for a storm window installed on the outside and we put up storms in the winter and take some down in the summer, but it keeps the original windows and the look. So, future owner – there are ways…

  12. John Nevitt says: 69 comments

    This is probably one of the most fabulous homes I’ve ever seen on this site. What makes my heart heavy is wondering what happened. In the 2007 article posted above, this home had been restored and outfitted with period decor. How did this home that was so well loved wind up a fixer upper in just ten years? I hope the next owner will restore it properly as it was before.

  13. voss99 says: 5 comments

    The kitchen!!!!! LOVE!!!! The first bathroom!!! LOVE!!!!!

  14. Katherine says: 4 comments

    It is really amazing what can happen in 10 years! So sad. I wonder if the couple did sell and the buyer just didn’t care or have the money to maintain and fix. Even the floors look terrible, and I’ve been in plenty of old houses where the floors just stand the test of time with little work. Shame. I do hope it doesn’t get bulldozered.

    • Chloe L says: 12 comments

      It looks like the home was sold in 2008 to the current owner who moved to New England in 2012, so its either been sitting empty for 5 years or used as a rental. I love Philly’s art deco office buildings but have to say a residential building in this style is new to me too.

  15. Barrine says: 40 comments

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitchen and the bathrooms.

  16. Rebecca says: 36 comments

    Wow, what an incredible house with so much potential. It really needs lots of work and may even need serious repairs as it appears to have some long time water damage. The article and background of the first renovation really help to explain some things. Perhaps someone with some serious resources can hire the right professionals to perform quality restoration work to bring it back. There are so many original features to be restored and brought back to life!

  17. Jenny Wiebler says: 150 comments

    Great entrance and staircase. The kitchen is cute (love the overhead lights!). What a pleasure it would be to see this fixed up.

  18. MansionCritic says: 5 comments

    I wouldn’t say this was my favorite style, but I can say I’ve never seen an actual art deco house before… This is pretty awesome! I’d take it (price is too high, but I do like it)

  19. BungalowGirl says: 146 comments

    My heart just skipped several beats…
    This is one of my favorite houses ever featured here.

    What a glamorous time capsule. I am in love.

  20. BungalowGirl says: 146 comments

    Now that I have looked at the pictures in the article, and shared the house (and the article)on my FB page, I am going to have dreams about this house tonight. I can see it now. This one really gets me, for some reason…to read the story of what the couple went through to lovingly restore the house, and to see it in this state only 10 years later is just heart-wrenching. It makes me want to know, “What happened?” Ugh.

    What a house.

  21. DianeEG says: 446 comments

    The pictures on the Redfin link let you see the damage more in depth. That damage didn’t happen over night nor was it recent. The amount of mold, mildew, plaster failure, veneer peeling and floor rot are from sitting wet or damp. One guess was the pipes weren’t drained and it was left unheated. It can all be repaired but no small job. How wonderful for the magazine pictures – an inspiration to whoever buys. And I’m betting every kid who ever visited that house wanted to slide down the metal hand rail and peek out the circles. Looks like a nice neighborhood – bet the neighbors would throw you a block party to buy it and fix it up.

  22. Michael MackinMichael Mackin says: 1173 comments

    I love the style of this house and this house is a shinning example. That said, the style also lends itself to the homes one weakness and that is the flat roofs, especially in this city. A flat roof takes more abuse from the weather than any other kind of roof and therefore needs greater attention. Fortunately, the technology is starting to catch up as far as roofing systems on flat roofs. Still, I think the roof will need to be the first thing addressed in order to save the structure and investment put into it!

  23. Tara Fogelsanger says: 3 comments

    I drove by this property today. Gourgous street in a great neighborhood. I wonder if the home is habitable? Can someone post the link to the magazine article that shows the home in 2007?
    The landscaping is overgrown but still lovely.
    Thank you

  24. tara says: 3 comments

    I just found out the water damage inside was caused by a faulty roof installed in 2016. Poor house its lovely but I’m sure there’s lots of water damage 🙁

  25. slamet says: 1 comments

    Finally, she will have love!

    • Kelly, OHD adminKelly, OHD admin says: 9425 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Are you saying that because it went into pending status or are you the pending status reason or know the one buying the home?

  26. Matthew215 says: 1 comments

    My partner & I are in escrow to purchase this gem. We’ve had our eye on it since the day it went live. One of the coolest homes we’ve ever been in. The pre-war modern art deco details are splendid. We’ll be performing a full rehab preserving as much original detail as possible. One of our first major tasks is repairing the original steel windows. We’ve located a company in NY that should be a perfect candidate for that job. http://www.seekirchersteelwindow.com/

    • robinjn says: 211 comments

      Oh lucky, lucky you! What an adventure you’re in for. And this house is so worth it. If you have the time and start a website or facebook page of the rehab I know some of us would love to follow your progress (hint, hint).

    • Jeff says: 15 comments


      Were you actually able to follow through with the purchase of the 511 Murdoch Road property? I am an Architect & would love to know more about this home. Thank you.


  27. Monica says: 1 comments

    I am so glad someone bought this home and will be rehabbing and not tearing down. I went to see it in person (we were also housing hunting at the time) and i was so sad that a bad roof and neglect by one owner ruined so much of that house. It was such a gem. Good luck to the new owners!

  28. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 9425 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I’m beyond disgusted with this flip. Just can’t say the things I want to say. Edit: Adding, a shoebox has more character than this home has now. They’ve taken out all the features that made this home rare and unique.


    • RossRoss says: 2314 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS


      Tearing out the INCREDIBLE bathrooms was a criminal act.

      At least they kept the original windows and garage doors.


  29. BungalowGirl says: 146 comments

    I have often thought about this house, since seeing it posted last year…This one has stuck with me. I just thought to search it out to check on it….and was reading down the comments since my comments….seeing that someone bought it…then… Then, I saw what happened…. I covered my mouth with my hand, and teared up… So many emotions for a house that wasn’t even mine: sorrow, disgust, anger. I can’t unsee it, but I am so glad that I saw the article of how she was originally restored, because my heart is broken.

    I will just choose to remember her how she was before.

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