Jack and Pat Mercurio’s 1930s two-story brick home in the heart of University City definitely stands out from the other houses on their block. Over 25 years of living there, the couple have transformed this traditional house into a beacon of understated contemporary style.
Walking up the front sidewalk, the home’s remodeled entry is the first hint at what lies beyond the front door. A modern, flat overhang shields the front door and large, stylized house numbers hang above it. Large, square urns holding mini-palm trees flank the sides, and simple glass orbs provide light. The entry echoes those of many of the midcentury-modern apartment buildings lining nearby Delmar Boulevard.
Inside, the main floor has an easy flow and calming feel with light hardwood floors and walls (and ceilings) painted a soft neutral taupe throughout, allowing for the Mercurios’ collection of mostly local art to take center stage. Pat’s favorite pieces include a pair of large wood sculptures by Michael Bauermeister, a landscape painting by Ken Worley and a mixed media piece by Joan Hall. Most of the artwork was purchased from Bruno David Gallery downtown.
A major rehab in 2007 included updating the kitchen, dry-walling over the foyer’s traditional spindled staircase and covering the original brick fireplace surround with more modern floor-to-ceiling cold rolled steel. The Mercurios enlisted the help of local interior designer Marcia Smith to help complete the look.
Sleek stainless steel countertops and simple custom cabinetry in the kitchen make the space feel clean and uncluttered. A large, versatile laminate piece off the counter slides out to provide a “table” for two, or can slide back under the counter or out the other side for additional space. Pat used black chalkboard paint on a single accent wall in the kitchen, where she writes out menu items when the couple host dinner parties.
The Mercurios have created a comfortable and stylish modern retreat that respects the home’s original architecture while bringing it into the 21st century.