A Marcel Breuer–Designed Midcentury in Upstate New York Asks $849K

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By Kate Reggev
Just two hours from the Big Apple, this 1950s midcentury unites Marcel Breuer's “binuclear” layout with the beauty of Upstate New York.

Located in the charming small city of Poughkeepsie—two hours north of New York City—the McComb House was completed in the early 1950s and is one of modernist Marcel Breuer’s only residences in the area. 

The midcentury home employs Breuer’s classic "binuclear" layout—featuring two separate wings, with an entry hall at the nucleus. Now, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom abode is being listed for $849,000.

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The McComb House sits on a 3.4-acre plot of land. 

The McComb House sits on a 3.4-acre plot of land. 

Breuer—a Hungarian-born modernist, architect, and furniture designer who trained at the Bauhaus—came to the United States in the 1930s and began teaching at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. 

Early residential commissions in the 1940s and 1950s led to larger projects, and Breuer ultimately worked on nearly 100 buildings until his death in 1981. Examples of his work includes the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the United States Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands. 

Designed from 1950 to 1953, the McComb House embodies several of Breuer's characteristic elements. 

Designed from 1950 to 1953, the McComb House embodies several of Breuer's characteristic elements. 

In reaction to the vast and undulating landscape, the McComb House is spread over several levels—an atypical feature of Breuer residences—and has been designed with privacy and a connection to nature in mind. 

The sloped roofs, meeting together at their lowest point to form a butterfly roof, are characteristic of Breuer's iconic homes, and create a dynamic form from every angle. 

The exterior is clad in "Breuer blue" panels, tongue-and-groove vertical cypress siding, and generous expanses of windows with curated views to the landscape beyond.

The exterior is clad in "Breuer blue" panels, tongue-and-groove vertical cypress siding, and generous expanses of windows with curated views to the landscape beyond.

Additions in the 1970s and 1990s have been carefully designed to continue Breuer's vision, allowing the home to function as a residence while still maintaining its original design intent.

The kitchen, dining, and living areas are located on one side of the home, and are separated from the bedrooms on the other end.

The kitchen, dining, and living areas are located on one side of the home, and are separated from the bedrooms on the other end.

The home has been described as a "multi-level binuclear" house, in which Breuer divided the kitchen, dining, and living spaces from the bedrooms and more private areas of the home into two separate wings. 

Although the kitchen has been renovated, it still maintains the primary tenets of Breuer's design with a modern, midcentury feel.

Although the kitchen has been renovated, it still maintains the primary tenets of Breuer's design with a modern, midcentury feel.

The "nucleus" of the home—where the two wings meet—houses the foyer and main entrance. The McComb House is unusual in that its layout occurs not as a single-story home, but rather as a multi-level residence.

The dining room has direct access to an enclosed porch through a sliding glass door.

The dining room has direct access to an enclosed porch through a sliding glass door.

The glazed porch acts as a buffer between the interior and exterior.

The glazed porch acts as a buffer between the interior and exterior.

The living room, with its focus on the fireplace and expansive views to the exterior, is also open to the dining area.

The living room, with its focus on the fireplace and expansive views to the exterior, is also open to the dining area.

A sitting room/library on the second-floor mezzanine level gives the sensation of being up in the trees, while still allowing for views down into the living room below.

A sitting room/library on the second-floor mezzanine level gives the sensation of being up in the trees, while still allowing for views down into the living room below.

Light pours in through the large glass panes, which are operable clerestory windows to allow for passive ventilation.

Light pours in through the large glass panes, which are operable clerestory windows to allow for passive ventilation.

The three bedrooms are in a separate wing and feature long, higher-up windows, which let in ample sunlight but also provide plenty of privacy.

The three bedrooms are in a separate wing and feature long, higher-up windows, which let in ample sunlight but also provide plenty of privacy.

The four bedrooms are all generously sized, with some on the second floor of the home.

The four bedrooms are all generously sized, with some on the second floor of the home.

The McComb House is now on the market for $849,000 by Graham Klemm of Klemm Real Estate. See the full listing here.

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