Jawdropper of the Week: A Prize in Rittenhouse for $5.785M

If they handed out Nobel Prizes for homes, the former residence of Pearl S. Buck would surely win one.

2019 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Once upon a Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Five full baths, four powder rooms, three balconies, two wood-burning fireplaces, a gorgeous sweeping staircase and a partridge in a pear tree.

Yes, Christmas is still two months away, but jumping the gun on the season is an American tradition. Besides, this opening is actually very fitting for this home, for Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck compiled her 1972 short story collection “Once Upon a Christmas” while living in it.

Buck bought this Beaux-Arts masterpiece, which began life as a Federal-style home in 1860, in 1964 to house herself and her foundation. Its current owners gave it a top-to-bottom renovation in 2006-08, guided by interior designer Malcolm Eisenberg, that turned it into a modern classical stunner.

Those bathrooms, fireplaces and balconies are just the minor features that go into this spectacular urban mansion.

The major ones include:

A sumptuous master suite with a huge walk-in closet and an elegant contemporary-style marble bathroom.

An eat-in kitchen whose dining area can accommodate eight. It also has two islands, one with a butcher-block countertop.

An elegant octagonal dining room with a sun room attached.

A wine cellar, a gym, a catering kitchen and a dumbwaiter.

Two home offices, two gas fireplaces on top of the wood-burning ones, and an elevator.

And they’re all joined by that sweeping, gorgeous curving staircase.

Buck described this home thusly: “I knew the moment I entered that house it was the right one. But the house itself is beautiful in its simplicity and its lines. It is a French house, more than a century old….”

Eisenberg’s skillful makeover preserved the home’s simple, unfussy elegance while turning it into an outstanding example of transitional design. It will delight the traditionalist, the modernist and especially the person who can’t choose between the two.



BATHS: 5 full, 4 half


SALE PRICE: $5,785,000

2019 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 [Joanne Davidow | BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors]