When Adam Weiss bought his home in Linwood 20 years ago he had no idea it was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.
"I was young and single and I was thinking it kind of looked like a ski lodge," Adam recalls. "I didn't know anything about Frank Lloyd Wright. I just fell in love with the house. It was a great bachelor pad."
It wasn't until years later that Adam discovered his bachelor pad was heavily influenced by America's most renowned architect; that it was designed by Mathias Kauten, a prominent magazine illustrator who studied architecture under Wright for years.
Adam learned that the house was built in 1952 on what was then a 10-acre property on Linwood's Gold Coast overlooking the meadowlands. The original owners, Frank and Lillian Giordano, hired Kauten to draw up the plans.
Known as Candlewood, the house stands on a tree-shrouded wraparound private drive that originates from a small cul-de-sac off Berkshire Avenue. It was one of the first homes to be built in that section of Linwood.
Wright, who was known for melding the outdoors with the indoors, clearly influenced the design, which features walls of Pennsylvania field stone on both the interior and exterior, exposed trusses and beams, vaulted natural wood ceilings and pegged oak plank floors.
When Adam bought the house, the interior needed updating. "The outside was in great shape but the inside was in disrepair," he recalls. "It had an old wood burning stove. There was no air conditioning."
With the help of his father, Adam began the restoration project, taking care to preserve the unique character of the house.
"As I started to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright I began to have a greater appreciation for the design," Adam says. "I wanted to bring it up to modern times but I also wanted to keep the same lines."
Early improvements included a new electric system, central air conditioning and an instant hot water heating system. Adam converted the hot water baseboard heating system from oil to gas. He also replaced the single pane windows, mounting the new ones directly into the stone walls, just like the originals.
Among the original elements of the house are the copper roof and a strip of stained glass windows that runs along the top of the first-floor walls. Adam enclosed a breezeway that connects the house with the two-car garage, where he installed a tile floor and added built-in cabinets to conceal tools and equipment.
About four years into the project, Adam met his future wife, Emily, who was impressed by the house as well as Adam.
"When I walked into the house for the first time I thought anybody who would take on a project like this is my kind of guy," Emily says. "We got engaged after three dates."
The house now features three bedrooms, three full baths and nearly 2,800 square feet of living space. The newly remodeled kitchen has a black and gray color scheme, a ceramic tile floor that mimics wood planks, Cambria quartz counters and stainless steel appliances. It includes a six-burner gas cook top, a center island and custom cabinets that open upward.
A wood-burning fireplace in the great room has a huge copper hood and is framed by a massive floor-to ceiling stone chimney.
A bedroom off the foyer has access to a full bathroom. A floating staircase ascends from the entry foyer to the second floor, which was once devoted entirely to an enormous master suite. Adam converted some of that space into a third bedroom and a full bathroom with 6-foot high walls allowing privacy while imparting a feeling of spaciousness.
Two sets of sliding glass doors in the master suite open to a large deck that looks out over the backyard and meadowlands. Adam also added the master bathroom, which now features a tiled walk-in shower open at the top to the vaulted ceiling. A balcony in the master bedroom overlooks the great room .
An in-ground pool in the back yard was added in the 1980s, when the house was owned by Resorts International.
When they sell the house the Weiss's, who have a 12-year-old son, are planning to buy a house in Florida, where Adam, who works in financial services, has expanded his business. He will continue to split time between Florida and Linwood.
An open house at this property, which is listed for $799,000, will be held Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information call Michelle Bronkesh of Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors, 609-226-8346.
What: 2-story contemporary