The Walter Mellor House, built in 1925, is a remarkable example of the architect's neo-Norman aesthetic. (Photos courtesy of Eli Qarkaxhia/Compass) By Pete Mazzaccaro Michael Candido and Ilir Sinanaj …
By Pete Mazzaccaro
Michael Candido and Ilir Sinanaj have renovated and restored a lot of houses over the years, but the Walter Mellor house, 6935 Scotforth Road in Mt. Airy, has been unlike anything they’d ever done before
“We do a lot of renovations. This is more of a restoration than a renovation,” said Candido. He and Sinnaj purchased the property in February. It was overgrown, but the “bones” of the house were in excellent shape.
“There's so much history to this house that it would have been a sacrilege to simply renovate it,” Candido said. “We tried to bring it back to its glory. To what it was. I’ve done one other house, maybe, like this. And that was 15 years ago.”
The success of that restoration is readily apparent the moment you enter the house. Stepping through the remarkable, metal door designed by the master Philadelphia metal worker, Samuel Yellin, one enters a foyer space that soars all the way to the third floor. A cantilevered staircase rises to the second floor. The 1926 home, called Woods Edge, looks like it has been restored to its original condition.
The home, which sits on an acre of land right above the Wissahickon, is a museum piece in which almost every original detail has been preserved. The home contains original bathroom fixtures, an original metal butler’s pantry sink, built-in terracotta tile covers for radiators and even a 1920s heat lamp in the master bathroom for which four of the original bulbs, are still at the house (those can be replaced by newer bulbs, but the originals are remarkable for being 100% functional nearly 100 years after their manufacture.)
It’s evident that Mellor, a Philadelphia Quaker and Haverford grad who got an architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania, spared no expense in building his own home. After graduating from Penn, he started a partnership with Arthur Meigs. The firm took on George Howe and become Mellor Meigs and Howe, a firm that won awards for its mostly residential architecture in the 20s.
High Hollow, the Chestnut Hill Home of Howe, recently sold for $2 million. Howe, an adherent to the International School, would go on to design the PSFS building in center city after leaving Mellor and Meigs.
Mellor and Meigs specialized in a neo-Norman style residential architecture that both celebrated and updated the farm and cottage homes of the English countryside. That vision is executed spectacularly in Mellor’s private residence.
One of the more remarkable parts of the house is a three-bay carriage house which contains a sauna and a spacious, furnished second floor that Mellor used as his home office. The office has an enormous picture window with a view in the Wissahickon, a kitchenette, bed and an ornate fireplace designed by Meigs with a Yellin-built hood
Compass Realtor Eli Qarkaxhia is the listing agent. The home is listed for $1,895,000.