built in 1949 by the preeminent American architect Philip Johnson
Wolfhouse, a classic mid century modern home located in Newburgh, NY, was built in 1949 by the preeminent American architect Philip Johnson, and commissioned by Benjamin V. Wolf. Set atop a hillside just north of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge with panoramic views of the Hudson River, Wolfhouse bears much in common with Johnson’s most famous home, The Glass House, erected the same year. These storied early works bear Johnson’s hallmark architectural style:open-plan homes with seamless circulation and plate glass walls offering expansive views of the surrounding natural landscape. Now featuring a sustainably-built USM Modular Furniture kitchen.
Purchased by Jiminie Ha and Jeremy Parker in 2020, the duo has meticulously restored the Wolfhouse to its original condition, referencing the original floor plans archived at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. While true to the original floorplan, the kitchen’s cabinetry provided an opportunity for some creative license. The owners sought out steel options, a common material in mid-century kitchen cabinetry, and found USM to be a natural choice for the kitchen rehab. USM Modular Furniture collaborated with the owners to design a kitchen that acknowledges both the home’s past and future with a popular mid-century color palette, yet fully constructed of pre-owned and recycled USM parts to create the first sustainability-built USM kitchen.
As creative directors, Ha and Parker prioritize sustainability and inventive self-sufficiency within their practice. They have extended this to every detail of the home’s rehabilitation and interior design, sourcing vintage furnishings and salvaged architectural pieces to finish the restoration, which included sinks, tubs, and trim pieces. “We recognize the harmful effects of planned obsolescence. It's our responsibility as designers to lead with smart sustainability at the forefront of our practice, not creating more waste, but working with what we already have,” states Jiminie Ha. With a desire to avoid “new” materials and seek lasting products, USM Modular Furniture proved to be the perfect partner for the Wolfhouse kitchen. USM products are known for their longevity and built from steel, a highly recyclable material. The company was the first in Europe to be certified by the Greenguard Environmental Institute for the low particle and chemical emissions of our products and it's USM’s Haller product line carries the Cradle to Cradle® certification.
“We recognize the harmful effects of planned obsolescence. It's our responsibility as designers to lead with smart sustainability at the forefront of our practice, not creating more waste, but working with what we already have” states Jiminie Ha.
During its lifespan, USM can be redefined again and again – this makes USM a valued, consistent companion for life, and generations. Learn more about the circularity of USM here!