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Tucked behind mature trees on Bedford Boulevard in Wilmington Delaware sits the Florence and Isaac Budovitch House. The house was completed in 1956 by designer and architect Edgar Tafel. The Budovitches commissioned Tafel because when they were house hunting in the early 1950s, they faced anti-Semitic discrimination.
Ultimately the couple purchased a one-acre plot of land. The home is virtually unaltered since the original construction with exceedingly high levels of historic integrity. Tafel was known for his Mid-Twentieth century Contemporary and Prairie style houses while incorporating organic architectural principles. These organic houses were designed to appear as though they grew organically out of their physical location. Large windows and sliding glass doors allow for an abundance of natural light in the home, which connects the interior of the house to the outside landscape.
One of the most unique parts of the house is the custom made built-in bar room. Leading off of the living room, the bar has original Formica counters, sink fixtures, wooden cabinetry, textured grass wallpaper, and wall shelving designed by Tafel. He is said to have measured standard or commonplace liquor bottles and glassware to determine the necessary heights for each one on the shelves.
During the Great Depression, Tafel studied under Frank Lloyd Wright under a Taliesin Fellowship and became a Tenured Apprentice. The Contemporary style of architecture was popularized by Wright post World War II. As design historian Lesley Jackson explains, a significant factor in the public embracing a new aesthetic was the psychological impact of World War II, after which many people had a conscious desire to leave the past behind.
The Budovitch home is the only Tafel-designed commission in all of Delaware and therefore one of the reasons for being selected for a National Register Nomination.
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