Mike Wiglesworth: 520 Station Ave., Philadelphia, PA

Only two more days until the Philadelphia Modern Home Tour and we’re excited to be headed to the Northeast. There’s still time to buy your tickets at the advanced, discounted price so hurry on over to our site to catch that deal. This week’s property feature is a special one because we have a returning architect. Mike Wiglesworth of Dreamscape Modern was featured on the Houston Modern Home Tour back in March, and fortunately for us (and tour-goers) Mike modernized a home very worthy of showing off in Philadelphia, too. We got a chance to talk to him again a little bit about the process of taking an old, beat-up home and turning it into a contemporary beauty. 

1. What were some of the main features or essences of the home that you wanted to retain when you renovated it?

The home was in shambles! It was showing its 50+ age at the time I acquired it…to add insult to injury, all of the huge front glazing that faced the street was covered with dark out drapes. Colonial light fixtures were hung in every room, pink carpet, colonial furniture and paneled doors along with retro colonial kitchen cabinets, sub-standard workmanship, old electrical wiring and leaky roof spelled out D I S T R E S S E D S-O-S!!! My mission was simply focused – 1) To renovate/restore and update the original rare mid-20th century minimalist architecture as it was originally intended, and 2) Extend the inside/outside architecture with a significant water feature/entertainment area.

2. Was there any features of the original home in particular that inspired what you chose in terms of design for the renovations? 

The beauty of the home was the International Style design vernacular and the stunning use of organic building materials composed primarily of local quarried field stone, slate, redwood, and stucco.

3. If you could highlight one or two features of the home to the tour-goers, what would those be?

1) The overall site, ie built into the hill, perpendicular to the road (vs the surrounding houses that face the street), 2) The glass & white stucco 2nd floor cantilevered over the field stone 1st floor with carport and articulating stone walls surrounding the entrance as well as the glass store front door, 3) the spaciality of the interior room layouts, and 4) how the waterfall completes the inside/outside relationship of the house to its surroundings and organic nature

4. What is it about steel that makes it play such a large part in the design, especially in the kitchen?

To differentiate, yet complement the organic elements of the house with its slate and birch floors and massive field stone hearth, stainless was chosen for the kitchen cabinets that feature C-channels without cabinet pulls for total minimalism and carrea marble counter tops to accent the synergistic materials.

5. How do you think Philadelphia embraces modern design in general? Is it a progressive city or one who clings to the classical styles?

I think Philly’s Main Line, Chestnut Hill and downtown areas are the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in the entire country, yet Philly has pockets of mid 20th Century homes and is seemingly undergoing some great modern urban development downtown! Besides, don’t forget that Philly is the home of Louis Kahn, one of the greatest modern masters of architecture!…His masterpieces are all around town and never cease to inspire people towards modern architecture!

To view more projects by Mike and Dreamscape Modern, head over to their website here. 

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