County Lines Magazine
Thursday, 24 August 2017 23:41

On Warwick Furnace Road

A Federal-style estate set in the heart of the French Creek Valley


1351 Warwick Furnace RoadAs the 77th Chester County Day Tour explores the County’s northwest quadrant this year, there are several reasons to include a stop at 1351 Warwick Furnace Road. To start, there are three homes on the Tour along this historic road, deep in French Creek Valley: a barn converted into a contemporary home, a 1978 home lovingly built in Colonial style, and this month’s featured home—an estate dating back to the 18th century, with a period-perfect 20th-century addition.

Another reason your route should swing north to Warwick Furnace Road is to drive scenic country roads to visit this pristine countryside in one of our area’s last unspoiled valleys. An area that’s also full of history, this is where General Washington brought his army after the Battle of the Brandywine and where the iron and steel industry started in Pennsylvania three hundred years ago.


Country Estate

Though the term nestled is overused when describing properties, a photo of this month’s featured home could be the dictionary definition. The idyllic 62-acre estate is a self-contained private retreat—with four-bedroom Federal-style main house, two-car garage, separate two-bedroom carriage house, back-up generator, five-stall barn, four pastures and spring-fed, fresh-water pond with spring house. And it’s surrounded by lush landscape framing breath-taking preserved views along French Creek.

Because some of the parcels making up the property are under conservation easement with French & Pickering Creek Conservation Trust, in addition to other conserved neighboring parcels, this enviable viewscape—from hilltop to hilltop—will be preserved.


Main House

The original part of the fieldstone home, built in the late 1700s for a Quaker family, was expanded and restored to its Federal-style glory by the current owners. Taking it from a major HGTV-caliber reno (snakes in the basement!) to Chester-County-Day-worthy was the owners’ passion project for 35 years.

Inspired by the Thomas Bull House on the National Register of Historic Places—Bull was a Revolutionary Army officer and manager of  Warwick Furnace—the restoration and addition boast historically accurate millwork, hardware and design features embodying the balance and symmetry of Federal style. Expert craftsmanship created a seamless transition to the 20th-century fieldstone addition with its random-width red oak floors and other period details—the only clues being higher ceilings and larger windows.

The home’s first floor includes a spacious eat-in country kitchen highlighted by custom book-matched walnut cabinetry, large slate island and views of the pond—home to kingfishers, herons and ducklings. Sliding doors lead to the pond-view brick patio, perfect for entertaining. A large living room, formal dining room and sunny study—each with wood-burning fireplaces—along with powder room and formal entry, with skylight above, complete this floor.

On the second floor, you’ll find two large bedrooms both with custom shelves, one with a window seat, plus full bath. At the other end is the master suite with fireplace, built-ins, walk-in closet, and master bath with shower and Jacuzzi tub.

The L-shaped guest suite on the top floor has a full bath and shares this floor with an abundance of storage space. And the walk-out basement has a workshop, large laundry room with working laundry chute to upper floors, and a spacious unfinished room currently used for storage but with many future possibilities.

Outdoor living spaces include porches, decks and brick patios to take in the views in every direction—of the pond, stream, pastures and valley. Old growth trees, along with evergreens, a giant magnolia, beech and weeping redbud trees, create a lush environment for every season. A mature herb garden is accented by an espaliered apple tree on the stone wall, while the brick formal perennial garden is a picture-perfect site for entertaining.


1351 Warwick Furnace RoadCarriage House

Past the main house’s large two-car garage, with loft storage, is the charming two-bedroom, two-bath carriage house—perfect for in-laws, guests or rental. Impeccably renovated in the same style and quality as the main house, it features an open floor plan for the greatroom (kitchen/dining/sitting area with fireplace), plus separate living room with fireplace, mudroom, laundry room, and its own garage. Other special features include the front porch overlooking the valley and stream and rear porch looking up the hill.



Entrance to the property is across a picturesque bridge as you wend your way up the paved drive past four post-and-rail fenced pasture to the iconic red barn. This historic structure was erected by the owners through Recycle the Barn Builder’s “Barn Again” program, which took down unwanted barns and found them new homes. Now updated, the barn has five stalls, wash stall, heated tack room bedecked with prize ribbons, plus drive-up loft and hay drops. A red chicken coop adds a country touch.

Equestrians will also enjoy trail riding and fox hunting, both of which are accessible from the farm. And there’s room for additional pastures on the property.

Near the pond, a charming springhouse, with storage above, awaits a new purpose—studio, wine cellar or favorite hideaway for enjoying the view.


For more information about this unique 62-acre property (including a 25-acre buildable parcel) in the East Nantmeal area, offered at $2.6 million, contact Rachel Street, The Street Group at Space & Company, 215-625-3650 (office), 267-357-1334 (cell) and visit the property’s website,


Published in Home of the Month
Sunday, 25 June 2017 18:28

Hailand Farm

Paradise on a 118-acre family compound in a pastoral corner of Malvern. “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go …”


Hailand FarmThat’s what third-generation children sang as they headed to the family compound at Hailand Farm for yet another family reunion joining 40-plus guests for Thanksgiving dinner. The lyrics to the classic “New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day” were literally true for the lucky grandchildren who lived on an adjacent property and grew up exploring the rolling, picture-perfect landscape—a bit of paradise in northern Chester County.

Hailand Farm—a play on the Hebrew word “hai” meaning life and pronounced like Highland Avenue, their former address—has been transformed over the 40-plus years the property was owned by the same family. The original 1836 stately manor house built by the Young family was expanded in the 1970s and ‘80s with sun-lit spaces providing modern amenities, including a glass-walled great room and convenient first-floor master suite, both designed by notable Philadelphia architect Vincent Kling (of Penn Center, Love Park and Lankenau Hospital fame).


Private Retreat

Surrounded by conserved properties that protect the serenity of this open space area, Hailand Farm is comprised of two tax parcels (49 and 69 acres) with subdivision possibilities, and is yet to reap the benefits of being placed in conservancy. The property includes significant outbuildings—a three-bedroom, two-bath caretakers cottage; separate office building with potential as a guest cottage; 12-stall barn with tack room and storage; three-car garage with heated machine shop; additional storage garage; plus a springhouse, pool cabana and greenhouse.

But what makes this such a singular property is the land itself and panoramic views from large windows, wooden decks and brick patios—of lush, gently rolling hills with acres of open green space where horses graze contentedly in their paddocks.

The north view is punctuated by a pristine, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-designed spring-fed pond, with dock and center island, topped by a tree that’s illuminated at night. Other mature trees dot the property, including towering evergreens, regal cedars, a spectacular weeping beech, plus apple and other fruit trees in a small orchard.


Hailand FarmThe Main House

Although mere minutes from the PA Turnpike, the main house is set off a quiet stretch of Charlestown Road and reached by a long curving driveway, past the barn, riding ring and garages. Full of old-world charm befitting its 19th-century origins as evidenced by a datestone, the home boasts a grand center, front-to-back hallway flanked by formal living room (also front-to-back and with two fireplaces) and dining room (with built-ins and fireplace), both with original random-width oak floors.

Tucked in a quiet corner, a book-lover’s dream library has custom built-in shelves on every wall. And a spacious walk-in coat closet—as big as the coatroom at some restaurants—demonstrates that this home is also party-ready.

A large gourmet kitchen, with Viking stove, center cooktop island, built-in refrigerator, triple basin sink and cabinets galore, is accented by an exposed wooden beam and herring-bone patterned floor. The adjacent breakfast area, with stairs to the second floor, opens through a wall of sliding doors to the landscaped brick patio. Views to the pond and almost-Olympic-length swimming pool make this a perfect spot to linger over morning coffee.

Modern additions to the first floor are a master suite and great room. The convenient and airy first-floor master suite’s vaulted ceiling and views of the pond and gardens create a private haven. An updated luxurious bath completes the space.

Perhaps the most spectacular feature of this unique home is the stunning 32-by-25-foot great room with beamed cathedral ceiling. A massive fireplace, separate copper-topped bar, several seating areas and two walls of windows with 180-degree views make this a gathering spot for groups both big and small. Towering plants, currently including a tall ficus and a ten-foot bougainvillea, bring the outside in, even during the coldest months. The landscaped decks beckon you outside to enjoy the pond and pool views and sounds from the tennis court.


Upper Floors

The second master suite sits above the formal living room and enjoys double fireplaces, sitting area, walk-in closet, cedar closet, custom moldings and cabinets, and sunlight through windows on three sides of the large bedroom. The spacious, two-part master bath has a seated vanity, endless mirrors and storage, plus soaking tub beneath a beautiful stained glass window. A secret hide-away room—with lounging area, skylight and fridge—is a perfect retreat for insomniacs or visiting grandchildren. Three additional bedrooms and two baths complete the second floor, while two more bedrooms and full bath round out the third floor.

This extraordinary retreat is ready to host its next generations of family gatherings.

For more information about this unique property on 118 acres in Malvern, offered at $8,000,000, contact Karen Nader, 484-888-5597, or Laird Bunch, 302-275-0869, at Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty;


Published in Home of the Month
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 04:26

Huntview Farm

A cozy “hunting box” in Radnor Hunt Country, perfect for lifelong riders and even those who aren’t riders … yet.


Huntview FarmIf location-location-location stills holds true, then Huntview Farm gets a blue ribbon. Set in Radnor Hunt Country and custom crafted by its only owner, a Master of Fox Hunting and teacher of Foxhunting 101, the farm is the perfect starting point for equestrian adventures. Take a short ride with your kids to Radnor Hunt Pony Club, have a staging area for foxhunting with friends, or use it as home base for trail riding on one of the best trail systems in Chester County.

And the property offers additional welcome amenities. The level four-plus-acre lot with fenced pastures provides ample space for building a jumping or dressage ring for future Devon stars. The charming house has hosted more than its share of hunt brunches for hungry returning riders—whether victorious from the hunt (or more accurately, the chase, since the fox is run to ground) or merely invigorated by the adventure. And the proximity to the 55-acre Ashbridge Preserve, just across the road, means endless entertainment on miles of trails there and on the many nearby conserved properties that allow riders to roam.

The main residence at Huntview Farm is a cozy, functional home for owners who are more likely outside riding the many trails in Willistown Township than spending time indoors—essentially a “hunting box” for shelter. And even if you’re not the sort to spend most waking hours with horses, that may just be because you’re not a rider … yet.

Not a Rider … Yet

Even if the equestrian life is not in your history or DNA, Huntview Farm may change that. The easy access to some of the most appealing riding trails and hunting clubs may tempt even the most reluctant tenderfoot. And the three-stall barn begs to have horses—your own or horses that board in exchange for riding lessons. Or choose fox following—to assist the riders—rather than fox hunting as your new country pastime.

Of course there’s always the option of transforming the three-stall barn—with tack room, hayloft, tractor space and center aisle—into a party barn, guest cottage or she shed (the feminine equivalent of a man cave). Or perhaps an art studio or home office?

Proximity to Ashbridge Preserve holds further opportunities to enjoy the lifestyle of Willistown Township—where you’ll see bumper stickers saying “Slow Down in Willistown.” Home to a branch of Ridley Creek, with miles of nature trails, plus woodlands, wetlands and wildflower meadows, the preserve is a birder’s paradise and nature lover’s nirvana. The peaceful splendor of Ashbridge Preserve is your other yard.

The Main House

Huntview Farm Living Room - image of a fireplace.Flanked by towering holly trees and marked with a brass horse-head knocker and kickplate, the 1970s Colonial-style stone and old school stucco home’s entrance leads to a grand two-story foyer with curved hardwood staircase and a Palladian window.

The formal living and dining rooms are to the left and right, both right-sized for carefree living. Large windows grace both rooms—a bay window in the dining room and windows on three sides in the living room, catching the sunrise and reflecting off the dentil molding. Throughout the day the sun fills the most-used rooms—great room, breakfast room and master bedroom—with their southern exposures.

Anchored by a stone fireplace with wood mantle and raised hearth, the inviting great room boasts several built-ins, currently displaying silver cups and horse show ribbons. Doors to the fenced pool and brick patio and a cozy wet bar at the far end of the great room invite two different forms of entertainment.

Another favorite space is the updated kitchen, with stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinets and granite countertops, plus center island. Truly the heart of the home, the kitchen runs from the front to the back of the house, with a sunny breakfast room overlooking the pool and pastures.

A laundry room, mechanical room and renovated powder room—with more cherry cabinets, granite counters, plus foxhunting motif wallpaper—round out the indoor space. An open-air breezeway porch, complete with swing, leads to the oversized two-car garage, with workbench.

Upstairs includes four bedrooms and two baths. The sunny master suite—with two closets and updated en suite bath—is enhanced by a private, south-facing balcony overlooking the property, perfect for morning coffee or sunset cocktails. The remaining bedrooms and a new bath line the hallway.

A comfortable second home during the foxhunting and equestrian seasons or the core residence prime for further expansion, Huntview Farm offers options to its next owners.

This four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home, with pool, garage and barn, on four-plus acres in Radnor Hunt County is close to West Chester and the Main Line. Offered for $880,000 with financing options available. For more information, contact Missy Schwartz at Fox & Roach / BHHS /Luxury Homes /Devon, 610-651-2700; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Published in Home of the Month
Friday, 24 March 2017 04:41

Pine Creek Mills

A heavenly slice of history is the site of a family compound in Chester Springs.


Pine Creek Mills - Property InteriorWith a pedigree dating back to the 1764 sawmill and the prestige of a National Register of Historic Places designation, Pine Creek Mills is a more welcoming and homey property than you might think for such a landmark. Having a picture-perfect waterfall view—complete with soothing soundtrack—helps set the scene on the eight acres that the extended Richmond family has called home for 20 years.

You may have passed the collection of buildings—four separate residences, three-level stone barn, stone wagon shed, two-car garage, plus a pond, stone dam, waterfall and pasture—that looks like a small settlement across the charming arched stone bridge and cobblestone entrance along Lower Pine Creek Road.

With its converted sawmill and gristmill set among the majestic oaks and sycamores, the property was featured on a Chester County Day Tour years ago. Now it attracts curious drivers who pull over to ask the owners about its history. If you’re a local, you may know it as Clement’s Mill, named after the owner from the 1920s.

Having lovingly restored this second historic property (the family previously renovated an 1800s stone home nearby), the Richmonds are ready for their next adventure. And they are leaving a meticulously maintained estate for someone who appreciates Chester County history.


The Residences

A stone walkway to the main house (c. 1801) includes just one of the many millstones that dot the property. This fitting approach to a classic Chester County fieldstone farmhouse foreshadows the period wood details, wide-plank hardwood floors, deep windowsills and other charms of a well loved architectural style.

Yet little prepares you for the open space within. The overused phrase “the best of old and new” does not do justice to the transformation within—think dark wood and stone details in spacious, white-walled rooms.

Red oak beamed ceilings and massive timber mantels in the formal living and dining rooms mix with soaring vaulted ceilings in the single bedroom and large, light-filled modern kitchen (SubZero, Viking appliances). Period chandeliers combine with new skylights. An office and laundry room join the bedroom and en suite bath on the second floor.

Far enough away for ample privacy, the miller’s house (c.1890) features stucco and stone outside and an open floor plan inside. A large living and dining room, kitchen and studio/family room are on the main level, with a grand bedroom, bath, office and loft on the second floor. Special features include three skylights in the cathedral ceiling of the oversized master bedroom and a stone cold storage room with arched ceiling—perfect for a wine cellar and tasting room.

Next along the line of residences is the gristmill (c.1790). The mill’s works were sold to the Pennsylvania Museum Commission. This charming three-story stone building has been converted into two apartments—a two-bedroom unit on the main level and one-bedroom unit, with private entrance and wall-to-wall carpeting, above. A broad, covered porch is one of many spots on the property to take in the waterfall view.

The stone and cyress siding sawmill cottage (c. 1764) is the fourth and final residential building in the compound and nearest the mill pond and stone dam with waterfall, as well as the stream that powered the mill’s wheel. Many local homes and barns were built from timber cut here before the sawmill closed and the works were donated to the Smithsonian Institute.

Again an open floorplan with vaulted ceilings and skylights, accented by dark wood details, is nestled inside a quaint Colonial exterior to create a two-bedroom home. This structure was built on the stone foundation of the original sawmill.


Pine Creek Mills - Property Bridge and StreamThe Outbuildings

At the opposite end of the property from the waterfall and sawmill sits a massive, three-level stone bank barn (c. 1824) with several frame additions. Once used as a movie theater (the prior owner also owned West Chester’s Warner Theater), the barn still has a projection booth.

As well-maintained as the other structures, the barn could easily become a party barn, studio or whatever the new owner’s imagination can conjure. The insulation and structural integrity are there, as well as a lower level with ample space for stabling. All that’s needed are new plans.

A stone wagon shed has ample space for a workshop or vehicle storage. And the stall at the rear was for many years home to the Richmond’s miniature pony, often spotted grazing in the pastures. A two-car garage (c. 1960) also houses the property’s generator, with separate breakers for each building.


In Sum

As the National Register nomination aptly puts it: these venerable, solid and handsome structures that served their community for an extraordinarily long time are bounded by the beautiful and unspoiled Pine Run, shaded by huge sycamores and oaks, and “convey a serenity and sense of another era which is equaled by few other locations in the country.”

Pine Creek Mills, a turnkey 8-acre estate or family compound in Chester Springs and in the Downingtown East School District, is offered at $1,650,000. For more information about this historic property, contact Stewart Gross at the Holly Gross Group, 610-431-1100 (office), 970-306-9698 (cell);



Published in Home of the Month
Monday, 27 February 2017 05:23

Heartwood Farm

Named for a lucky draw that won the property, Heartwood Farm is the heart of Willistown Township and commands perhaps the most iconic view in Chester County.


Heartwood FarmImagine that you’ve banded together with like-minded people to save a special property from likely ruinous development. When you decide you want to make that gentleman’s farm your home, another member of the group has the same plan. Rather than a mutually destructive bidding war to determine the owner, you choose a civilized option—you draw cards. It’s your birthday and you’re feeling lucky, so you yield the first draw. The card is a king. You pause. Then you draw … an ace of hearts.

Today that lucky ace of hearts hangs framed in the family room and inspired the name of Heartwood Farm, the Gansky family home for almost 20 years. That luck of the draw had them move virtually across the street from their prior home in this unique corner of Chester County.


The Options

This 72-acres crown jewel of Radnor Hunt Country sits at the historic White Horse Village crossroads of Goshen and Providence Roads with sweeping southern views of rolling hills and fenced pastures. And with many surrounding properties also under conservation easement, the sunsets will remain a part of each day on the farm.

With their next chapter set to unfold in Florida, the Ganskys are ready to turn over the entire property—all 72 acres with main house, historic Isaac Massey tenant house, barns, five-car garage plus other outbuildings—or divide the main property with its 30 acres from the more equestrian-oriented parcel to the west.

Though under conservation easement, the property rights for the main residence allow for building a barn, if desired, while the other parcel permits building another residence.

Many options exist for this property: family compound, equestrian estate, equestrian business or gentleman’s farm.


Heartwood FarmThe Main House

You may have visited this 1930s classic Chester County stone farmhouse designed by famed local architect R. Brognard Okie—during one of several Chester County Day tours or as the site of countless fundraisers. Or you may recall spotting the home with its striking, modern cylindrical glass additions—perhaps with the sunset reflecting off the expanses of glass—as you drove along one of the most scenic roads in the county.

This distinctive home—boasting additions in the 1960s and early 2000s—was profiled in House Beautiful in a feature showing how to “marry contemporary and colonial” architecture. The conclusion: like a person, a house can grow more interesting, its character and charm developed and amplified over time.

And so the stately original stone Colonial was expanded and made more livable with the addition of circular spaces, bringing inside the same fieldstone as the exterior. Plus a new solarium (currently home to a bounty of orchids and other tropic plants), fire-side game room and second-floor master suite (with round bedroom and bath, plus skylights)—all with curving walls of modern windows to capture the full sweep of the coveted country view. A stone patio flanks the length of the house under towering specimen trees and provides prime outdoor entertainment space for 200 guests.

A 21st-century addition by local architect Peter Zimmerman echoes the same circular design and includes even more informal spaces—a bar area, wine room and glass observation tower for surveying the landscape and perhaps smoking a cigar while watching horses graze in the pastures.

With the additions the main house now includes eight bedrooms, six full and three half baths, an extravagant gourmet kitchen (once a chef’s pantry), formal living and dining rooms complete with ornate moldings and doors to the stone patio. The residence also has an enviable solarium, library, family room, billiards room, bar, wine room, underground shooting range, multiple fireplaces, staff quarters and more.

In addition to the large flagstone patio, exterior features include a heated greenhouse, pool with expansive pool house, lighted Har-Tru tennis court. And, of course, the 30 acres.


Heartwood FarmThe Farm

The adjoining 42-acre parcel is the site of a turnkey equestrian property. You can live in the historic Isaac Massey stone farmhouse, with five bedrooms and two baths, or new owners can build a new residence. This parcel enjoys the same high elevation giving way to long sight lines taking in the rolling hills, open pastures and old-growth forests—the resting place of famous race horses.

The massive U-shaped barn and smaller adjacent barn offer 24 stalls, two tack rooms, feed room, office and an apartment. Other features include a five-car carriage garage, outdoor lighted riding ring, plus grass dressage and show jumping training areas and fenced pastures.

Everything is in place for a smooth-working equestrian enterprise in a most desirable location.

This legacy property is now available.


This property, offered by Country Properties, Berkshire Hathaway, Fox & Roach—$7,995,000 for the main house with 30 acres, $4,495,000 for the equestrian parcel;, or $10,995,000 for both—contact Rob Van Alen at 610.212.5470 (cell), 610.347.2065 (office);

Published in Home of the Month
Thursday, 25 August 2016 03:18

French Country-Style Home

Formal elegance and gracious country living in Chester Springs.


Living Room - Flowing Springs Road Property in Chester Springs, PAIn a secluded corner of northern Chester County, a short walk from famed Birchrunville Store Café, you’ll find seven meticulously landscaped acres that are home to, not yet another stone Colonial mansion, but instead a unique French Country-style farmhouse dating back to the 18th century and renovated to the highest standards.

A detached barn—with a sunny office above horse stalls plus space for a large studio, den or party space—a pool with spa and waterfall set among specimen plantings, an apple orchard and extensive gardens are all enclosed in a private pocket of space making this feel like a special piece of heaven.


The Details

The singular character of this home is revealed in the details—from priceless millwork added by a Winterthur curator, a wood railing designed and built by a protégé of Wharton Esherick, custom cabinets crafted by a woodworker on loan from the Smithsonian Museum, to a $12,000 Lacanche stove, a 300-year-old mantle from Provence, hand-painted floors in the laundry room and much more.

Surrounded on three sides by rebuilt stone walls, the landscape design displays the same attention to detail. See garden paths using original four-to-six-inch-thick flagstones, original millstones incorporated into the newer terraces, a stone courtyard with fountain, and rare cucumber magnolia and stunning copper beech trees. Over $400,000 was invested in enhancing the exterior since 2009.


The Evolution

The original 1769 core of the home remains, expanded in the early 1800s, then enlarged again in the 1940s, and again by architect Helena van Vliet and totally updated in 2000. Each stage in its evolution added to the unique feel of this extraordinary home.

Brimming with charm and period details, the original parts of the home—housing the entry, formal living and dining rooms, library, and some bedrooms—boast such features as beamed ceilings made by incorporating wood from an 18th-century French ship, random-width wood floors, deep-set windows, antique hardware, rare tombstone built-in cabinets, and antique slate and marble slab floors.

Later additions to this stuccoed fieldstone home were designed to preserve the centrality of the original home, keeping it as the main event of the composition.

Not surprisingly, this distinctive home was once owned by one of Winterthur’s curators, Arthur Sussell, who added priceless millwork—moldings, wainscoting, paneling and other details. Sussell built a fitting stage for his priceless antiques collection, later auctioned by Sotheby’s. Hardwood floors—chestnut, oak, hardwood pine, walnut—plaster walls, antique hardware and more details integral to the home make it a kind of antique itself. And all on display as the home is currently unoccupied.


Bird's eye view of the Flowing Springs Road property in Chester Springs, PAThe Final Addition

Although adding significant space in 2000 to what is now a four-bedroom home with three full and two partial baths and six fireplaces, the final addition was designed to appear small so as not to outshine the original structure—matching the original  in height, width and roof pitch. The construction used local and green materials and techniques (recycled wood and stone, low VOC paints, high efficiency heating, etc.).

Following a design philosophy that buildings should reconnect with the natural world, architect van Vliet added a large, gourmet country kitchen (while retaining the original as a prep kitchen), sunny family room with eating area overlooking the property, lower-level media room with French doors to the grounds, gentleman’s study, and a second-floor master bedroom suite with dressing rooms and baths to provide modern amenities.

The existing interior space was also updated and reorganized, adding a wine cellar (expanded in 2012 to store 500 bottles), laundry room and pantry. Meanwhile the exterior got new terraces and balconies, added to take advantage of the private viewscapes and providing more areas for sitting, eating and entertaining.

Practical details were not overlooked. Electrical and heating systems, water treatment systems, central air, radiant heat, a security system, driveway alarm and sound system were added or updated. Exterior work included a cedar shake roof, copper gutters and downspouts, new doors and windows, and in 2012, repainting and stuccoing.

With its pristine setting and extraordinary collection of site-specific details, this is the kind of unique home that could well be a highlight of Chester County Day when the tour returns to this area. And a gracious home any day of the year.


This unique seven-acre Chester Springs property with barn, pool and residence (4 bedrooms, 3.2 baths, 6 fireplaces on four levels) is offered for $1.75 million. For details or to arrange a visit, contact Bill Cochrane, James A. Cochrane, Inc. 610-469-6100 or 610-476-4779;


Published in Home of the Month
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 02:30

1845 North Valley Road

Photo of yard with pool at North Valley Road propertyIn a location chosen centuries ago on North Valley Road, near Yellow Springs Road and Valley Forge Mountain, this property combines the best of historic charm and modern amenities. With southern exposure, this charming stone home offers light-filled space flowing seamlessly from room to room, a perfect setting for family memories created in its comfortable rooms. The current owners have nurtured the gardens for a quarter century and are ready to pass their home on to the next family.

Near six nature preserves and Diamond Rock Hill (named for the glittering mica), the natural beauty of this Tredyffrin location complements the three-story classic stone home, dating back to around 1780. Generations expanded the original residence, building a kitchen wing, laying down random-width wood floors, adding period moldings and more details. Major improvements were completed by Pohlig Builders, and the present owners completely updated kitchen and powder room, installed a new metal roof on the stone garage, and updated the pool and pumping system.

With a great sense of style and architectural consistency, the house grew to a comfortable size of six bedrooms and three-plus baths. Picturesque stone accessory buildings include a garden cottage and springhouse with brick floor—perfect for a wine cellar. The secluded pool has a stone-walled patio, with other flagstone terraces surrounding the home shaded by mature specimen trees.


Main House

Drive through stately chestnut trees lining North Valley Road to a curving driveway, past carriage-lamp-topped stone pillars. Walk down a brick path past a majestic sycamore set in perennial gardens, as you approach the bluestone patio and the sight and sounds of an outdoor fountain.

A spacious reception room, with warm random-width hardwood floors, greets you. This transitional space, with convenient powder room and ample closet, leads to the main ground floor rooms.

An elegant formal living room is enhanced by large windows on three sides, with deep sills found in homes with thick stone walls, and providing sunlight throughout the day. Period details—crown moldings, chair rails, antique hardware, built-in shelves and cabinets—accent the carved wood mantle and fireplace. This lovely room is both intimate enough for fireside entertaining and large enough for the grand piano.

The magnificence of a walk-in stone fireplace makes the dining room a perfect place for formal entertaining as well as family celebrations. Combining authentic details (wrought iron cooking arm, brick paver hearth) with an elegant crystal chandelier and always-useful built-in shelves, this room allows for a variety of decorating styles.

Steps away is the renovated kitchen, with sunny eat-in dining space and windows on both ends of the room. Newly added tumbled stone backsplash, quiet/close wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counters make this an efficient work space. Snacks can be passed to the adjacent family room through an opening where an old window was removed.

The family room is graced by the original stone exterior wall, in all its rough-hewn glory and texture. Pella windows on three sides, plus French doors to the patio, provide ample light. (Most other windows have antique glass in divided-light style frames.) It’s possible to stand in the entrance of the family room and look through the kitchen and dining room, all the way to the living room!


The Grounds

But the main view from the family room is outside—to the patio, professionally designed gardens, and on to the walkway to the pool. The thoughtful design, using evergreens and boxwoods, provides privacy to the pool and camouflages it in winter.

Specimen plantings, lush perennial borders and raised garden beds abound. You’ll find a spectacular Southern Magnolia, huge hellebores, spring bulbs and a protected vegetable garden. Six watering hydrants and numerous electrical outlets simplify upkeep and make clear the value placed on the gardens.

Two major structures on the property offer limitless possibilities for new owners. A gigantic stone garage (53’ x 36’) fits seven cars! A full loft space above could be used for more storage, an in-law suite, studio, home office or personal getaway. Similarly, the stone springhouse provides more options. It’s a cool space (literally cool, a real springhouse, with two rooms and brick floor). with windows, multi-levels and several rooms.


Living RoomBack to the House

The highlight of the second floor is the master suite: bedroom, sitting room (with large windows and stone wall), walk-in closets and master bath. Like several other rooms, the master bath retains an original stone wall, this one by the jetted tub, skylight and windows overlooking the pool. A perfect place to soak away worries.

The remainder of this floor includes a convenient second-floor laundry, plus full bath and two bedrooms. More hardwood floors and deep windowsills mix with California closets for the best of old and new.

Offering privacy perfect for teens, au pairs, in-laws or an office, the third floor has three more bedrooms and another full bath. Space under the dormers, beaded board walls and more hardwood floors add character, while built-in closets, shelves and cubbies add function.

Three stone buildings, three patios, and a three-story home. The three words that come to mind are: “I want it!”

With award winning Tredyffrin/Easttown schools, this property is offered at $1,025,000. For more information, contact Missy Schwartz, Fox & Roach/BHHS/ Fine Home & Farm Collection, 610-651-2700; 610-888-3349;


Published in Home of the Month
Sunday, 28 February 2016 03:26

Fox Creek Farm

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);


Published in Home of the Month
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 03:43

White Oak Farm

A summer home in Glenmoore for the Main Line’s Montgomery family became a modern year-round retreat and family compound.

It was a case of love at first sight and it was not long before Father had bought some two hundred acres of Henderson’s land on Indiantown Hill, including the site of the old Indian burial ground. I have always thought it very uninspired of him to have named his land ‘White Oak Farm’ in honor of a big white oat tree on the very crest of the hill, instead of ‘Indiantown Hill Farm.’ … White Oak Farm was the great love of our young lives, and still is mine.
—Horace Binney Montgomery, from Return the Golden Years

White Oak Farm
Arriving on the long, winding driveway leading to White Oak Farm, it’s easy to see why this place was the source of so many fond childhood memories of Horace Montgomery, the second youngest of 11 children of Elizabeth Binney and Richard Roger Montgomery, co-founder of the Merion Cricket Club. During the early 20th century at this country retreat, young Horace and his siblings found berries to pick, woods to explore and streams to fish—a summer paradise.

The feelings of sanctuary and nature retreat remain on the lush 76-acre property set along the north branch of Indian Run, a tributary of the Brandywine River. The pleasures of berries, woods and fish are joined by modern amenities like a salt-water swimming pool, guesthouse and a thoroughly renovated manor home.

Saving the House

The good bones of the solid 1906 manor house attracted the current owners when they stumbled upon the ramshackled, abandoned property almost 20 years ago. Built of Pennsylvania granite and fieldstone collected by local farmers on stone-hauling day—in a ritual similar to an Amish barn raising when neighbors pitch in—the main structure withstood its interim uses as a rehabilitation facility and a home to forest animals.

Working with local architect Peter Batchelor and builder John Diament, the owners took the main house back to those good bones of stone walls and wood floors. The structure was transformed into a 21st-century, 5,000-square-foot, three-story home with four bedrooms, three-plus bathrooms for the owners and their three children. A new family retreat, but this one was used year round.

Making It Modern

White Oak Farm - Foyer

The conversion gave new life to this special family home, while preserving quality materials—such as the wood floors (there’s nary a squeak even today)—and details like the wrap-around porch, where the Montgomery family gathered to shell peas, sing songs and talk about books and where the current owners dine, relax and enjoy the koi pond. Modern windows brought in light to spaces graced with nine-foot ceilings, small rooms were opened up, archways and built-ins were added to make the space livable for a modern family.

The first floor has formal living and dining rooms, but it’s clear the family gathers in the large chef’s kitchen and family room with doors to outside decks and patios. A home office retains the cozy proportions of the original home, while a large mudroom and powder room add convenience.

Bedrooms with built-ins, modern bathrooms and a laundry room fill the second floor. The master suite has thoughtful details like a fireplace (one of four in the home), Juliet balcony, home office, walk-in closets and beautiful views of the property from its corner site. The large master bath has his-and-her sinks, cherry cabinetry, a pedestal tub, walk-in glass shower with bench, and separate water closet.

Third floor spaces under the eaves are at tree level, giving a cozy feel. An el-shaped room with built-in bench for enjoying the view is currently a sewing room, while a large bedroom with dormer windows fills the other end of the floor. A shared bath boasts big windows and another bench for gazing outside. Unfinished attic space could be converted or used for storage.

The Grounds

White Oak FarmThe home has been preserved and improved, as have the grounds. Outbuildings were reclaimed, repurposed and added. A two-car detached garage has a workshop, bathroom, loft space and indoor/outdoor kennel with fenced run. The 3,300-square-foot, single-story barn has ample room for farm equipment and storage of everyday items, boats or classic cars and could easily be converted to a working barn.

In 2009, a pool/guest house—complete with full kitchen, bath and bedroom/studio/exercise room—was added off the 20-by-40-foot salt-water pool.  A charming potting shed and old icehouse—perhaps a future sauna—plus emergency power generators add to the pleasures of the property.

You’ll also find a stocked koi pond with a waterfall, water lilies and irises; a large pond stocked with fish and perfect for paddle boating on an adjoining 13-acre parcel also for sale; an orchard with pear, apple and white cherry trees plus blueberry bushes; and acres of fields, streams, paths and woodlands.

The perfect spot for your year-round retreat.

This 76-acre property is available for $1,850,000. For information, contact Bill Cochrane, James A. Cochrane, Inc., 610-469-6100 or 610-476-4779;

Published in Home of the Month
Friday, 30 January 2015 06:39

Valley Park

Family-friendly living near Pickering Creek Reservoir

Waverly CircleNot far from the rolling hills of Valley Forge National Historic Park—with its nature trails, bike paths and horse trails—is a secluded enclave of 31 homes arranged along a looped road. That’s where you’ll find 102 Waverly Circle, set in the Valley Park neighborhood of gracious homes blending privacy and a sense of community on the edge of Pickering Creek Reservoir.

In this undeveloped section of Chester County—home to nesting bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, horse stables and golf courses—the Home of the Month is also close to King of Prussia, Great Valley and the Main Line, with easy access to the expressway to Philadelphia. And it offers timeless design from Bentley Builder’s 40 years of experience constructing premier estate-quality homes.

Looking for More Space

Happy in this convenient corner of Chester County, the current owners moved less than two miles eight years ago to Waverly Circle, in search of more space. And they certainly found it—over 5,000 square feet in this 5-bedroom, 3.2-bath, 3-car-garage home, with a full unfinished lower level. Plenty of space for just the two of them, their dog and an amazing orchid collection!

The couple also found more space on their large homesite that abuts the conserved green space of Pickering Creek Reservoir—land that’s free to enjoy without the responsibility of ownership and maintenance. Three outside patios of Pennsylvania bluestone and Techo-Bloc, accented by a pergola and lush landscaping, provide a perfect setting for months of cookouts and outdoor relaxation in the fenced yard with country views.

But now it’s time to downsize, as the couple needs less space and plans another short move.

A Classic Home

A classic center-hall Colonial design, this home mixes the best of traditional style and craftsmanship with modern amenities and conveniences. The layout is familiar, welcoming you into the gracious 11x30-foot foyer, with a stunning main staircase begging to be used for grand entrances and photo backdrops.

You immediately see custom details—arched doorways, crown moldings, chair rails, wainscoting up the stairs and in the dining room. Plus the gleam of red-oak, site-finished wood floors that run throughout most of the first floor.

Anchored by a wood-burning fireplace with custom mantel, the open, airy formal living room is through the archway to the right. To the left is the formal dining room, accented by custom wainscoting.

From the dining room, through the butler’s pantry—with sink, built-ins and wine refrigerator—you come to the 19x18-foot gourmet kitchen. Yes, it’s the heart of the home and an open and welcoming space where everyone at every party will congregate around the huge center island. Meeting every cook’s wish list—granite counter tops, stainless steel top-of-the-line appliances, custom designed cabinets, built-in desk—the kitchen tops the list with gorgeous views out back. Boasting a tray ceiling, the adjacent morning room, with sunset views, is the perfect spot any time of day.

But what makes this home so family-friendly is the two-story 20x17-foot great room. A wall of palladium windows frame the view, a fieldstone fireplace adds warmth, and plush wall-to-wall carpeting helps make this the place where quality time will be shared.

Also enjoying the view of the backyard, the private, in-home office is separated from family life by wood-stained French doors and accented with cherry moldings and details. A powder room is accessible from both the home office and living room.

Rounding out the first floor is a large mudroom with butler’s entry and individual storage cubbies as well as another powder room.

Upper and Lower Levels

Waverly Circle 2One wing of the second floor is reserved for the bright and private master suite. Entered through a 13x11-foot sitting room, the 19x16-foot master bedroom has a tray ceiling, adding a spacious feeling to the already large room. Pass his-and-her walk-in closets on either side on your way to the master bath.

Here, too, are his-and-her amenities on either side—this time vanities and dressing tables—as you head for the view of the reservoir green space. Another set of large windows frames this view over the luxurious, built-in jetted tub. A large glass-door shower and water closet flank the tub.

The remainder of the second floor has four spacious bedrooms, two with en suite baths, the others with hall access baths, plus ample storage and a convenient second-floor laundry room.

On the lower level, new owners can make their mark. Although unfinished, this space has 8-foot headroom, rough plumbing for a powder room, and large windows bringing in natural light. Perfect for a media room, home gym, in-laws or au pair suite—or all three—this space is a blank canvas for the next family to paint their own picture of home.

This meticulously maintained home off Valley Park Road in Phoenixville is offered for $1,279,000. For more information, contact Kimberly Swanson, 484-614-1231; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Home of the Month
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