As featured in our September catalog, this stunning house by Louis Kahn is currently for sale.
Architect Louis Kahn believed there should always be a beam of light in the house, and in the home he designed for Margaret Esherick this mantra is indeed true. The light is what current owner Lynn Gallagher likes best. “You can’t be depressed in this house,” she says. “It’s truly uplifting.”
In 1959, bookstore owner Margaret Esherick commissioned Kahn to design a house for her in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill. It was completed two years later and sadly Esherick lived in it for only a few months before dying of pneumonia at the age of 43.
The home features a kitchen sculpted out of copper and wood by Margaret’s uncle, the acclaimed artist and craftsman Wharton Esherick. From there you walk into a space – Kahn didn’t use the word “room” – that’s suitable for a variety of uses. “We used it as a dining room, but if I moved in today I’d make it a den,” says Gallagher.
Through a doorway is a two-story living room with floor-to-ceiling shelves to please Kahn’s book-loving client. Opposite the bookcases is a wall of windows, flooding the entire house, even upstairs, with light that shapes the space with the drama of the changing seasons. “The bedroom wants to be a little house by itself,” said Kahn and that is definitely the case here. A peaceful suite, it includes a large bedroom, a bathroom with fireplace and a walk-in closet that confirms Esherick’s fondness for clothes and shoes.
When inside, the placement of the windows is truly exceptional; this is why Kahn was known as a master of context. Each facade is different and specifically designed to provide privacy while also maximizing views, natural lighting and ventilation. At some point central air was installed, making Kahn’s system for cross breezes and shuttered sun protection obsolete, but perhaps the new owners will live off the grid for a bit and give the Kahn lifestyle a try.
If nothing else, I hope they are readers and lovers of good books. Margaret Esherick would’ve liked that.
The house is listed for $1.1 million with Prudential Fox and Roach.