Contemporary Modernist, International Style
Natural stone facade, low flat roof, large glass windows, anchored to the natural setting
Open interior court yard.
This home was designed by Marcel Breuer and Herbert Beckhard for George S. & Marian D. Laaff in 1955. Construction was completed in 1956.
Marcel Breuer was a student and then teacher at the Bauhaus art and architecture school in Germany. In 1919 a new movement began in the Bauhaus school when architects bean to experiment with design materials that included industrial and natural materials and embraced the idea of mass production. Breuer came to the America in the late 1930's to teach at Harvard Graduate School of Design and to work with the famous modernist architect Walter Gropius.
Breuer designed modern, efficient homes and businesses in his Modernist Sytle. Some notable projects are the Whitney Museum in NYC, UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Campus Center University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Marcel Breuer is also remembered for his chrome and leather chair design still popular today and often copied.
The Laaff home and the Grieco home at 81 Sunset Rock Road in Andover are the only two homes designed by Marcel Breuer north of Boston.
George S. Laaff commissioned Breuer to design his home on Reservation Road after seeing the Grieco home. George Sebastian Laaff was born on Nov. 1, 1908 in Koln, Germany, son of Phillip Josef & Therese S. (Gras) Laaff. George graduated from Koln (Cologne) University in 1928 as a chemical engineer. He immigrated to the USA on the S.S. Deutschland, arriving in NYC on March 18, 1929 at the age of 20. George became a Naturalized Citizen on February 4, 1935 in Boston District Court.
George got a job with General Electric Company working in Pittsfield and Lynn, MA for 15 years in plastic research. Laaff was hired by Bolta Products of Lawrence, MA in 1945. and later became manager of research and development at the Bolta Plastics Division. In 1958 he was elected as as coordinator of product research and development for the General Tire and Rubber Company, Plastics Division. The position included four plants in Cranston, RI, Jeannette, PA, Lawrence, MA and Toledo, OH. George was elected to membership in the Plastics Pioneers Association, the American Chemical Society, the Society of Plastics Industry and the Society of Plastics Engineers.
George married in 1942 in Marblehead, MA to Marian Davis, b. 1921 daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Orland Chester Davis of Jamacia Plain, MA. George and Marian moved to Andover after WWII, first living on High Pain Rd. They had three children; Carolyn D. b. 1944, Elfriede b. 1946 and Jeffrey P. b. 1948. George died on Nov. 26, 1987 at age 79. George donated his body to the Harvard Medical School in Boston. His remains were later interred at at West Parish Garden Cemetery Aug 1993. Marian Laaff died in September 2007.
Their home was sold by Marian Laaff to John M. Reynolds III and wife Suzanne Hellmuth on July 22, 1992. They owned the property for 7 years selling on Oct. 30, 1999 to Anita L. Moeder. Moeder held for 4 years then selling to Keith W. Vangelson on July 9, 2003.
Vangelson loved the home and, once learning the history of the architect who designed it, "he felt compelled to replace most of his furniture and to start collecting modernist furniture reproductions, as well as some genuine pieces... If you live in a place like that, you can't help but sort of get involved in collecting furniture of the period." "You think you're buying a house. You're buying a lifestyle."
Keith Vangelson job took him to Dallas, Texas.
Keith Vangelson sold the home to Richard A. & Stephanie E. Sipley on Aug. 11, 2008.
Essex County Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Boston Globe - Sunday North - April 29, 2007 - Marcel Breuer's Local Modernist Masterpieces - Contempory Classics - Sec. B1& B5
Andover Historical Society files
Ancestry.com - Laaff family
Lot Plan 20346-T lot 78 - Oct. 21, 1991 - Marian D. Laaff
Clyde A. Fore - land Nov. 26, 1947 - Title Certificate #3341
George S. Laaff - Dec. 2, 1947 -
George S. & Marian D. Laaff - Feb. 6, 1952 - Title Certificate #3816
Mary I. Devine - May 11, 1954 - title transfer
George S. & Marian D. Laaff - May 11, 1959 - Title Certificate #4769
George S. Laaff estate, Marian D. Laaff - November 1987 - Title Certificate #4770
John M. Reynolds, III & Suzanne Hellmuth - July 22, 1992 - Title Doc. 53213-1
Anita L. Moeder - Oct. 30, 1999 - Title Doc. 71715-1 - Title Certificate #13338
Keith W. Vangelson - June 9, 2003 - Title Doc. 82731 - Title Certificate #14205
Richard A. & Stephanie E. Sipley - May 1, 2008 - rec. Aug. 11, - Title Certificate #15927
|Place||West Parish - West Andover|
|Historic District||Not Applicable|
|Historic Name||George S. & Marian D. Laaff House|
|Construction Date||1957 - 1958|
|Architect/Builder||Marcel Breuer/Herbert Beckhard|
|Wall/Trim||stone and glass|
|Setting||sited on a hilltop at the end of a long plane tree lined driveway|
|Map and parcel||90-5|
|Recorded by||Stack/Mofford, James Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||1975-77, 5/15/2015|