On the Market: Midcentury Modern in Penn Valley

One of the more original examples of this striking style, this mid-1950s house has several unique features.

house for sale penn valley midcentury modern exterior rear

39 Fairview Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | Bright MLS images via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

Every architect who worked in the midcentury modern style channeled Frank Lloyd Wright in one important respect:

The houses they produced are low-slung and dramatically horizontal.

This beauty in Penn Valley is no exception to that rule. It was built in 1956 and designed by architect Theodore Brandow, who worked in Oskar Stonorov’s office before setting up his own firm in 1953. But it is exceptional in a number of ways.

For starters, there’s its V-shaped roof profile, which creates extra volume in several of its rooms.

house for sale penn valley midcentury modern living room

Living room

Like the living room, where the rising slope of the roof also allows for light to filter in through clerestory windows.

house for sale penn valley midcentury modern fireplace alcove

Fireplace alcove

An even more original design element is the curved fireplace off the living room. There’s also a built-in bar cabinet in the fireplace alcove.

house for sale penn valley midcentury modern dining room

Dining room

This house features a series of step-downs that connect the various spaces. The first one leads from the living room to the formal dining room.

penn valley midcentury modern kitchen


The kitchen sits between the dining room and the breakfast room and is one with the latter. It got a slightly off-key makeover a few years back. The off-key part is its more traditional cabinetry; everything else about this well-equipped kitchen is pitch-perfect.

penn valley midcentury modern breakfast room

Breakfast room

There’s even more storage space in the built-in cabinets on the far wall of the breakfast room. Two of those cabinets, however, conceal the long, closet-lined corridor that leads to the step-down to the bedroom wing.

penn valley midcentury modern master bedroom

Master bedroom

The master bedroom suite includes a spacious bedroom, a bathroom with dual vanities, glass-framed shower and soaking tub, and a den or home office. Both the bedroom and the den have sliding doors leading to an interior atrium.

The other three bedrooms on this main level have built-in shelves, built-in dressers, arched alcoves, or some combination of these three. One of them also has some off-key floral wallpaper. Below this wing you will find a fifth bedroom suite that’s perfect for an au pair, in-law or guest.

penn valley midcentury modern indoor pool

Indoor pool

This house also features an indoor pool with a sauna, full bathroom and two dressing rooms.

penn valley midcentury modern deck


It also has a deck off the living room and stone patios off the dining room and kitchen. Note one more distinctive design element here: the angular steel beams supporting the roof.

All this delightful originality sits amid 1.47 thickly forested acres on a secluded lane in Penn Valley. Rolling Hill Park begins just beyond the end of your street, and it’s a short drive from here to both the center of Gladwyne and the Gladwyne on-ramp to the Schuylkill Expressway. Just a little further away are both Narberth and Manayunk.



BATHS: 5 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $1,050,000

39 Fairview Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 [Damon Michels | The Damon Michels Team | BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors]

Updated Dec. 19th, 4:38 p.m., to add information about the architect. Thanks to Greg Prichard, historic preservation planner in Lower Merion Township’s Building and Planning Department, for providing it.