This Frank Lloyd Wright–Style House in Delaware Is a Stunner

A Wilmington home with a Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic won this homeowner's heart.

Jessica Gangemi is nothing if not candid: “I purchased this home on a total impulse buy to move out of the city in May of 2022,” she says. “I never thought I’d leave Philadelphia, but people told me homes in Delaware had a lot of space to live in and raise a family. I’d never even been here…but I’m an architecture and design enthusiast, so when I saw this house on Zillow, I immediately knew that’s it. That’s my home.”

Happily, her husband Sam Gangemi felt the same way about the four-bedroom, three-bathroom house, and their rescue dog Prince, an Andalusian hound, didn’t voice any objections about upgrading to more than 4,000 square feet of space to roam.

Jessica Gangemi and her husband Sam purchased a 4,000-square-foot Wilmington house after seeing it on Zillow. The home’s Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic, immediately recognizable in the geometric glass panel at the entrance, was a big draw for Jessica, an architecture and design enthusiast.
Jessica Gangemi and her husband Sam purchased a 4,000-square-foot Wilmington house after seeing it on Zillow. The home’s Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic, immediately recognizable in the geometric glass panel at the entrance, was a big draw for Jessica, an architecture and design enthusiast.

The Gangemis are just the second family to reside in the Frank Lloyd Wright–style home, which was built by the former owners, the Ciottis, in the 1960s and is tucked away on 1.3 acres of land, with a creek bordering the backyard. Jessica became entranced by the home’s rich history, particularly the fact that the homeowner, who ran a construction company with this father, enlisted his architect brother to construct the stone façade in homage to Wright. The Ciottis raised five children in the house, and by the time it went on the market, the husband had died and the original matriarch was living there alone.

- Advertisement -
The great room’s horizontal lines are reminiscent of Wright’s Prairie style, and Jessica was charmed by the vaulted ceilings and exposed rafters
The great room’s horizontal lines are reminiscent of Wright’s Prairie style, and Jessica was charmed by the vaulted ceilings and exposed rafters.
A second gathering area, the sunken den, features a metallic fireplace, parquet floors and furniture from Crate & Barrel.
A second gathering area, the sunken den, features a metallic fireplace, parquet floors and furniture from Crate & Barrel.

Jessica wrote the family an appreciative letter, but her hopes were not high: The property was listed at $650,000, and the Gangemis offered $700,000—respectable, but not lavishly above asking price. “The children are now in their 50s and had moved out to raise their own families,” Jessica explains. “They didn’t want this home to go to just anyone—it held a lot of memories and was built with their dad’s bare hands.” But the connection turned out to be mutual: “Ours wasn’t even the highest offer, and they chose us,” Jessica says. “We couldn’t believe it.”

The great room’s asymmetrical, wraparound stone fireplace is the home’s standout feature
The great room’s asymmetrical, wraparound stone fireplace is the home’s standout feature.

One standout feature is the great room’s stone wraparound fireplace, an asymmetrical eye-catcher that contains an interior shelving nook and follows the steep slopes of the rafters. “The roofline and vaulted ceilings are incredible,” Jessica says. But the fireplace had not been lit in 20 years (neither had the pool been used in all that time), and there had been no recent updates by the previous homeowners.

Jessica with her rescue dog Prince, an Andalusian hound.
Jessica with her rescue dog Prince, an Andalusian hound.

Still, the couple was charmed by aspects of the home’s time-capsule quality. For example, the sunken den features parquet flooring, a metallic fireplace and midcentury modern custom-built shelves set against Roman brick. Their furniture in the den—a sectional sofa and circular black coffee table, both from Crate & Barrel—are apt and inconspicuous enough to keep the focus on the retro aspect. Speaking of which, the spaceship-like pendant—a wire-framed Saucer Bubble lamp designed by George Nelson in 1952 and sourced from Herman Miller—was a shrewd choice that honors the home’s heyday.

The great room flows into a dining area boasting a cedar table built by Sam’s father, and leather and cane dining chairs.
The great room flows into a dining area boasting a cedar table built by Sam’s father, and leather and cane dining chairs.

Other midcentury markers include a mint-green retro bathroom, a wine cellar in the basement that had once served as a bomb shelter in the Cold War ’60s, a sauna—“and a separate two-car garage featuring some old quirks, like a Rolodex attached to the wall,” Jessica adds.

The primary bathroom was a gut renovation job featuring a custom-made mirror from Kennett Glass Co. and blue-tinged Zellige tiles to nod to the blue that was used in many midcentury designs.
The primary bathroom was a gut renovation job featuring a custom-made mirror from Kennett Glass Co. and blue-tinged Zellige tiles to nod to the blue that was used in many midcentury designs.

The Gangemis succeeded in their goal to update the home in a contemporary way that doesn’t disturb the home’s midcentury appeal. The focus was on livable amenities, such as opening the pool and starting up the fireplaces. The couple even fashioned a movie theater in the basement, the perfect place to enjoy some midcentury suburban classics. A little Douglas Sirk, perhaps?

- Partner Content -

Related: This Delaware Designer’s Cape Cod Home Delights From All Angles

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.