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Local Homes of 417-land

Maryam Mohammadkhani and Raffaele Pennella’s Tudor Revival Home in the Delaware Neighborhood

Built in 1948 and designed by Carl Bissman and Richard P. Stahl, this Tudor Revival isn’t one of the oldest homes in the Delaware neighborhood, but it is certainly one of the grandest.

By Tessa Cooper

Sep 2020

The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsThis grand Tudor Revival was commissioned as a wedding gift for C. Hampton and Betty Compton-Wolfe. Purchase Photo

Apartment dwellers  Raffaele Pennella and Maryam Mohammadkhani were expecting their first child and searching for a quaint house in central Springfield in 2003. They ended up with an 8,500-square-foot home in the Delaware neighborhood instead.

For Pennella, it was the home’s exterior, its 1.3 acres with mature trees and neighborhood that first caught his attention. 
The couple was hesitant to purchase such a large first home, but encouragement from their friend and colleague, Dr. Timothy Deffer, ultimately influenced their decision to buy it.

“He told me, ‘Oh, you’ve got to buy it. Just imagine, every day, you’re going to drive up and think, ‘Wow, I live here,’” recalls Pennella.

After purchasing the house, Pennella got to talk to previous owners and former neighbors, which led him to discover interesting historical tidbits.

Elise Anthony, who lived nearby during the home’s construction, told him the entire masonry was done by one stonemason who pitched a tent in the front yard for an entire year.

“I'm a preservationist. I love old homes, and I believe in restoring them. We try very hard to respect the old while introducing modern luxuries and amenities.”
— Maryam Mohammadkhani

Barry Cox, son of Lester Cox, who donated and raised money for Cox Hospital, lived in the home throughout the 1980s. Barry made changes to the home’s landscaping by adding fencing, a back patio with a swimming pool and a tennis court. 
Mohammadkhani and Pennella say they’ve heard stories of lavish parties that were thrown by Barry in this house. In fact, many people they meet still evoke the Cox name when they refer to the house.

The couple has put extensive effort into caring for the home. “I'm a preservationist,” says Mohammadkhani. “I love old homes, and I believe in restoring them. We try very hard to respect the old while introducing modern luxuries and amenities.”

The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photos by Brandon AlmsThis staircase was built off-site in St. Louis, and above it hangs a chandelier purchased by Barry Cox from Mark Twain’s steamboat. The dining room displays an original crystal chandelier, walnut paneling and dentil crown molding, which one carpenter carved by hand. Purchase Photo
The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photos by Brandon AlmsMohammadkhani and Pennella completed an interior facelift to both restore and modernize the home. The now fully waterproofed basement boasts a completely restored summer kitchen, ironing room and laundry room. Purchase Photo
The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photos by Brandon AlmsThe home is still heated by a boiler rather than forced air. “The radiant heat is what won my heart,” Pennella says. “It’s very efficient and it keeps the house nice and toasty without being too dry.” Purchase Photo
The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photos by Brandon AlmsThe home’s windows have been updated with architectural replicas, with the exception of this large curved viewing window gracing the sunny breakfast room. Purchase Photo
The Cox Mansion in the Delaware Neighborhood in Springfield, MO
Photos by Brandon AlmsThere is extensive use of walnut throughout the home, present on all levels. While the couple was at first dismayed to find telephone, cable, speaker and intercom wires running under the wall-to-wall carpeting, they were delighted to discover beautiful original oak flooring underneath it all. Purchase Photo

Historic Homes of Delaware Neighborhood

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With homes built throughout the past 100 years, the Delaware neighborhood in is rich with diverse architecture. Peek inside three additional homes and get to know the history of the area.