House of the Week: Richard Neutra-designed home at 109 St. Whitehall Road, Jeffersonville

This architectural gem in Jeffersonville is one of a few East Coast houses designed by internationally-renowned architect, Richard Neutra.

This architectural gem in the quiet suburb of Jeffersonville is one of a few East Coast houses designed by internationally-renowned architect, Richard Neutra, winner of the AIA Gold Medal in 1977. This home~s expansive walls of glass and open space plan embody Neutra~s principle of creating a seamless experience of nature outside and warm interior spaces.

The current owners have strived to preserve Neutra~s design. They were guided by historical documents for the house, including Neutra~s rendering of the home residing in the Museum of Modern Art, 3 publications of the house, and the collection of drawings, architectural plans, and correspondence residing in the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives. Walk down a lighted path through flowering shrubs to the entrance, according to the listing on Sotheby’s.

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When you enter the foyer, you feel the impact of Neutra~s design principle of living with nature. You~re greeted with floor-to-ceiling windows that immediately draw your eyes to the impeccably landscaped backyard and the serene blue water of the swimming pool set in a natural flagstone terrace.

A massive stone wall divides the living space and reaches to the sloped tongue-in-groove cedar wood ceiling which spans the entire length of the house. Pass by the low walnut wall in the foyer to reach the dining area placed in a windowed corner and bathed in natural light.

On the right is a seating area with a beautiful wood burning fireplace set in the stone wall. The colors of the roughhewn stone and the cedar ceiling create a harmonious, cozy atmosphere. As you walk around the stone wall you enter the informal family area next to the kitchen. Settle in to enjoy the warmth of a gas-burning fireplace and read a book chosen from the shelves behind the built-in sofa.

A screened in porch is easily accessed from the family room, kitchen, and living room, allowing dinner guests to move seamlessly from interior living spaces to the outdoors. The remodeled kitchen has black galaxy granite counters, a gas cook top, and recently installed stainless steel appliances. The home chef will appreciate the comfort of standing on cork tile flooring.

Family and guests in the informal area are free to converse with the cook across the counter. Leading from the kitchen is a large pantry area with full laundry facilities, and abundant storage space.

The master bedroom suite is located in a separate wing of the home. Its walnut paneling, built-in walnut cabinetry, slatted cedar wall behind the queen-sized platform bed create a warm and tranquil space. An illuminated built-in make-up vanity folds down to hide-away in a cabinet top.

The expansive 5 x 8 foot wall mirror reflects a mirror image of the bedroom, creating an illusion of a much larger bedroom space. The room~s large window frames the view of the carefully-landscaped grounds. The bathroom is adjacent and has a door to the hall that doubles as a guest bathroom.

Neutra framed the outdoor area with the long pool house on the right, which closes off the space allowing privacy. The pool house has changing rooms and a bathroom as well as space for pool and gardening equipment. The landscaping designed by S. Edgar David & Associates of Blue Bell, PA brings a parade of mature flowering trees and shrubs to form a breathtaking backdrop for the pool, terrace and pool house.

The slag stone roof, preferred by architects, is sloped to allow snow and rain to run off.South Whitehall has no outlet. Easy access to the PA Turnpike, Schuylkill Expressway & Route 202 enables easy commuting to corporate centers, and hospitals. SEPTA trains run between Norristown and center city Philadelphia. Valley Forge National Park, the Schuylkill Trail, the Montgomery County Farm Park, King of Prussia Mall, fine restaurants, and entertainment options are nearby.

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