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Built-in Bonanza

This Amberley Village hideaway—backing up to the woods of French Park—is a perfectly preserved time capsule of Mid-Century Modern architecture, says Susan Rissover, who listed the 3,800-square-foot house for $250,000 last fall. The 1951 home, designed by father-son architect team Earl and Druce Henn, was built for a then-rare dual-career couple: pediatrician Adrian Diamond and his wife, Dorothy Bernstein Diamond, an attorney. The couple needed a place to raise their young family, so they purchased this 2.67-acre wooded plot for $6,000.


The Diamonds requested a sleek and streamlined space that fit their family’s busy lifestyle. All the standard MCM built-ins are here: couches with hinged seats for extra storage, a buffet and lighted china cabinets in the dining room. But there’s also a boatload of built-in novelties, like the aquarium in the great room; multiple stereo systems; a television (surely one of the first of its kind); a soup crock in the cooktop; and even a hidden slide-out panel in the kitchen banquette that to this day holds Adrian’s prescription pad.


The couple’s quest for domestic efficiency didn’t end with the furniture; after living in the home for a few years, Adrian had all of the cork flooring in the great room replaced with low-maintenance stone and Dorothy had all of the drywall replaced with wood paneling so there would be no more fingerprints on walls and no need to paint. Move over Carol Brady; Dorothy Diamond raised six kids, worked full time and had a spotless house—and she didn’t even need Alice.

Originally published in the January 2013 issue.