Sunday, 28 February 2016 03:26

Fox Creek Farm

Written by  Laurel Anderson

A grand country home, as quiet and wonderful as when it was built.

 

Photos by Sarah BonesAs if on cue, a red fox walks along the creek in the late winter sun—along Fox Creek. Making a perfect introduction to … Fox Creek Farm.

The view through the wall of south-facing windows in this solid stone Colonial manor house takes in the pond, with waterfall, and just some of the pastures that slope down toward the creek. Given the orientation of the house, every late afternoon promises a golden view of part of the 32-acre estate—even without the promise of a fox.

 

Storied Past, Protected Future

Home to just four families in its century-plus life, this stately Main Line mansion was originally built for George Wharton Pepper, U.S. Senator and famed Philadelphia lawyer (founder of the Pepper Hamilton law firm). Expanding an 18th-century farmhouse, the grand mansion was completed in 1909 and built over nine years—with the kind of craftsmanship and attention to detail unaffordable in modern construction. This all-stone, three-plus story home is as solid as the reputation of its first owner.

Surrounded by properties under conservation easement, this parcel near Radnor Hunt affords enviable privacy and is well protected from unwanted development. The bank barn, caretaker’s cottage, springhouse cottage, horse sheds and fenced paddocks can continue to inhabit their country setting, undisturbed. And the walled English gardens, with octagonal garden pergola, swimming pool and Chester County stonewalls add character to enhance the private, pastoral setting.

 

Main House

A winding private drive crosses Fox Creek and heads uphill, to the level hillside perch where the stone house stretches wide. The home is grand and gracious, with six bedrooms, even more bathrooms, four fireplaces (including one from the original farmhouse), home offices, family rooms and a separate in-law or live-in suite. Quirky details and markers of a different time—antique elevator, dumb waiter, attached greenhouse—provide character.

Everything about the home exudes solidity, yet understated grace. Although you’d hear nary a squeak from the century-old wood floors, you can easily imagine the sound of ice tinkling in a silver cocktail shaker. The solid feel of huge flagstones in the foyer—some measuring almost a yard across—is complemented by the elegant grand staircase. Similarly, the large, walk-in fireplace in the sitting room is made more inviting by a wall of windows in this cozy space.

The vast light-filled formal living room—with nine-foot, beamed ceilings, walls of built-ins, elegant moldings, and fireplace—easily accommodates two baby grand pianos. Banks of French doors let sun shine on original random-width, pegged oak floors and provide stunning views of the property as well as access to the brick patio and English garden. A separate room for the adjacent wet bar makes entertaining a dream.

Down the hall, a spacious formal dining room also boasts built-ins and fireplace, while the family room, in an octagonal bump-out, is graced by unique chapel windows. The large kitchen, with a dumb waiter that opens to the outside for easy transfer, is ready to be redesigned to meet the dreams of its next owner.

At the far end of the hall are a home office, with separate entrance, powder room, attached greenhouse, and covered back entrance through a courtyard. Back stairways lead up to the second floor and down to the laundry and basement.

 

Photos by Sarah BonesUpper Floors

The main staircase takes you up to the spacious landing, with a balcony overlooking the front of the home. A long hallway stretches the length of the house, with the master suite to the right. There you’ll find another sunny room, with windows on three sides, French doors leading to a private porch with garden views, fireplace and built-ins. His and her dressing rooms and baths, a sitting room and extensive closets complete the suite.

Three additional bedrooms—with baths, built-ins, a fireplace—another home office, and separate suite—with two bedrooms, bath and kitchenette—complete this floor.

Pass the walk-in cedar closet on the carpeted third floor and find yet another bedroom and bath, plus a large media/game room—perfect for pool tables, foosball and a large TV. There’s additional storage in an unfinished section of this floor.

 

Out Buildings

Several additional buildings are part of the estate. A caretaker’s cottage comes complete with two bedrooms. A large garage can store both cars and equipment. And the charming springhouse, with its eyebrow windows and loft bedroom, overlooking the waterfall on the pond, is perfect for a studio or another residence.

And finally, a six-stall bank barn stands ready for horses to enjoy the fenced pastures. Or ready to become a party barn.

So much for new owners to enjoy. 

This 32-acre Main Line property in Berwyn is offered for $3.95 milllion by Country Properties, Berkshire Hathaway, Fox & Roach. For more information, contact Rob Van Alen, 610-212-5470 (cell), 610-347-2065 (office); TheCountryProperties.com.