A Restored Midcentury Gem by Marcel Breuer Asks $1.47M

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By Anna Jones
Based on a showhouse Breuer designed for the Museum of Modern Art, this revived 1950 abode sits on a secluded, four-acre lot in Princeton, New Jersey.

Marcel Breuer modeled the Lauck House after one of his own iconic works, the residence commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art's "House in the Museum Garden" exhibition in 1949. The home addressed the needs of suburban living for the modern American family in the postwar epoch, and its affordability and simplicity challenged the popular belief that modern architecture was exclusive, cubic, and expensive. 

Nestled between trees, the front facade of the home is minimal with sloping roof planes, painted wood siding, and ribbon windows.

Nestled between trees, the front facade of the home is minimal with sloping roof planes, painted wood siding, and ribbon windows.

The Lauck House features many of Breuer's architectural signatures, including the butterfly roof and spatial organization. Breuer set the children's area, bedrooms, and playroom apart from the parent's. The kitchen is centrally located, providing views to all activities throughout the house. The open, flexible plan can accommodate a growing family.

The central kitchen is strategically placed for views throughout the home.  Large windows above the sink connect it to the garden lot.

The central kitchen is strategically placed for views throughout the home. Large windows above the sink connect it to the garden lot.

Flagstone flooring flows between the open living spaces.  A stone fireplace anchors the main living space, while cedar wood decking extends between spaces above.  A blue entry partition adds a pop of modern color.

Flagstone flooring flows between the open living spaces. A stone fireplace anchors the main living space, while cedar wood decking extends between spaces above. A blue entry partition adds a pop of modern color.

The children's playroom sits off one end of the living space, adjacent to the kitchen and children's bedroom.  Full-height windows look south onto the tree-covered land.

The children's playroom sits off one end of the living space, adjacent to the kitchen and children's bedroom. Full-height windows look south onto the tree-covered land.

Wood siding extends from the interior of the children's bedroom to the exterior.  A built-in desk sits just below the window sill.  Large windows provide a direct connection to the outdoors.

Wood siding extends from the interior of the children's bedroom to the exterior. A built-in desk sits just below the window sill. Large windows provide a direct connection to the outdoors.

The home's fully glazed, southern facade visually connects living spaces to the yard, while capturing the warmth of the sun during winter days.  Continuous interior to exterior materials further enhance the connection between the landscape and the interior living spaces. The 3,800-square-foot, four-bed, four-bath home features vertical wood siding inside and outside, flagstone floors which draw nature in, and the original Breuer stairs and rope still in place.

Breuer's statement butterfly roof makes an appearance here at the Lauck House.  Large glazing along the southern facade welcomes winter sun.  Extended overhangs provide shade in the summer, while still allowing a visual connection to the grounds.

Breuer's statement butterfly roof makes an appearance here at the Lauck House. Large glazing along the southern facade welcomes winter sun. Extended overhangs provide shade in the summer, while still allowing a visual connection to the grounds.

At night, the southern facade glows brightly, revealing the modern interior elements.

At night, the southern facade glows brightly, revealing the modern interior elements.

Throughout the years, some work has been completed on the home to maintain its character as an iconic example of modern architecture. In the mid 1980s, the home received a respectable addition which maintained the footprint of the original design. Currently, the home is owned by an architect couple, Sara and Rafi Segal, who purchased it in 2008 and undertook restoration work using archival research as a guide—colors, material finishes, and partitions were brought back to their original state. The Rockefeller Foundation, an aid to the restoration, provided the original color scheme for the house, including Breuer's special blue that is a unique combination of blue, white, and gray. Elegant, modern pieces furnish the home, enhancing the midcentury character of the dwelling.  

A stained cedar ceiling extends continuously over the living space.  The original rope railing remains intact.

A stained cedar ceiling extends continuously over the living space. The original rope railing remains intact.

In 2009, the home won a national merit award for its restoration and preservation, proving that quality design has the power to positively enhance everyday living.

The Lauck house is currently listed at $1,470,000 through Architecture for Sale.

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