This original mix of rustic, traditional and contemporary influences contained half a century of memories. It’s now been renewed by the artist who’s selling it.
What are you doing this weekend?
Would you like to see a very handsome, beautifully updated 1960s contemporary ranch house for sale?
Or maybe you’d like to take in a gallery exhibit of abstract and representational art.
Take a tour of this house for sale in Cherry Hill and you can kill two birds with one stone.
The reason? The real estate agent who bought this house at an estate sale in 2018, rebuilt it, and is selling it now is also a professional artist.
In the living room, dining room and upstairs bedrooms you will find artworks by the agent, known to Keller Williams Cherry Hill clients as Tae Sook “Tess” Son and to art connoisseurs by her Korean name, Jung Taesook.
Both her abstract and her representational works draw from her philosophy of “vigorous life.” By this she refers to the fact that nature and humanity have a way of extracting joy and beauty from even the harshest conditions and environments. Her works vary in their style: some are inspired by Korean calligraphy, others rely on layers of strong brushstrokes, and still others recall the nature paintings of Georgia O’Keefe.
You can also see how Son applied this philosophy, and a particularly East Asian sensibility, to her staging of this house for sale-cum-art gallery.
The house itself seems to me well suited for living a “vigorous life.” Set on a quarter-acre professionally landscaped lot in the Charleston Riding section of Cherry Hill, it combines contemporary form on the outside with interiors that freely mix traditional, rustic and contemporary elements.
The spaces that bring this mix to the fore are in the wing containing the main living areas. The formal living and dining rooms, for instance, offer touches of the classical (the dining-room chandelier), the Colonial (the coffered living-room ceiling and multi-light windows), the rustic (the brick wood-burning fireplace, the shiplap wainscoting) and the contemporary (the clean lines everywhere).
The everyday living suite is a little more contemporary in style but still mixes the elements. Here a high-tech kitchen with traditional cabinetry, a casual dining area with modern lighting and a large family room with modern ceiling fan wrap around a central stone pillar that contains a fireplace and a gas grill.
The kitchen has lots of high-end features, including a Wi-Fi-connected smart refrigerator, two wine fridges and a five-burner Dacor range with extra-large oven.
Son put not only a great deal of care into this total makeover but also her heart and soul. The house, she writes in an email, spoke to her through the memorabilia left behind by its deceased occupants, dentist Frederick Grube and his wife Lois, who preceded Frederick into the grave.
“I found many old photos in the basement where I could see their past life,” she says. “Old family photos [from the] early 1900s. European ancestors, wedding photos, other photos that marked South Jersey cities (Camden, Berlin…).
“They were happy and looked like a wealthy family. Neighbors told me about Mr. and Mrs. Grube. I never met Mr. and Mrs. Grube, but this house and the owner’s story reminds me of my past life that I blocked and kept deep in my heart.”
Son has led a pretty vigorous life herself. Because her father couldn’t make enough to support his wife and two daughters (Tae Sook was the older), her mother also worked hard for her entire childhood. She emigrated from South Korea to the United States in 1999, penniless but hopeful, got a job at a local dry cleaner, and moved into an apartment at 1220 N. Broad St. while enrolling in classes at Temple University.
While in school, she both developed her artistic style and married a Korean-American gentleman. As she displayed her work at juried art shows and galleries, she also nurtured a dream of graduate study and got accepted at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. But graduate study was not to be: between her husband’s disapproval and their paying off his student debt and their daughter’s education, she took her art career underground, so to speak. Recently, however, both the Park Towne Place art gallery and Temple’s Fox School of Business have added her work to their collections.
You could say this house is another of her works. The landscaping in the front yard, in particular the 20 crepe myrtle bushes, is a thing of beauty. She also put in a spacious front patio and renewed the fenced-in pool and pool house next to it. And in the rear, she gave it a touch of New England with the cedar shake shingles she put on one wall.
This gallery for living, set amid woods, is now open for tours. No appointment is necessary if you come to the open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8th.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 3 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 4,331
SALE PRICE: $560,000
OTHER STUFF: This house’s sale price was reduced by $15,000 on Dec. 2nd.
37 N. Riding Dr., Cherry Hill, N.J. 08003 [Tae Sook Son | Keller Williams Realty]