GLENMOORE, CHESTER COUNTY, PA
A QUIET INNER PRESENCE – INSIDE AND OUTSIDE AS ONE
WHAT A converted 1867 one-room stone school house with a 1998 contemporary addition of 3000 square feet in a semi-rural, wooded setting. There is a full size two car garage and an attached artist’s studio/workshop. For a total exceeding well beyond the listed 4200 square feet.
The two-part addition acknowledges and respects the history and origin of the 150 year old Lincoln School, so that the historic structure remains prominent as an intact object. It is a wonderful example of adaptive reuse for historic preservation.
The façade has a modest, quiet, unassuming presence. The Japanese style ‘zigzag’ walkway–like a bridge crossing a metaphoric river of stone and perennial plantings–hints at the wonderful surprises to come indoors and in the back. Entering the house, views expand to warm, large, open spaces and out into the woods beyond. The boundary between inside and outside dissolves. Seasons create constantly changing ‘landscape scenes’.
At the driveway approach, the red wall of the addition creates a privacy to the outside; yet, dramatically, to the rear, full window-walls open to the expansive space of the woods behind. The curved, metal standing seam roofs have large extended eaves connecting the buildings to the ground–creating a sense of “inner focus” — of being “within itself”.
HOW MUCH $687,000
SIZE 4200 +- square feet on 3.7 acres (two lots– 2.2 acres available for further development –swimming pool-guest house)
SETTING The house sits on one corner of its property and adjoins the 30 acre Mapleflower Lands Trust nature preserve including meadows, woods, walking paths, and a 2-acre pond for fishing. The landscape plan, a series of enwrapping spaces, shields the house from the roadway with curved beds of shrubs, trees and perennials. Other structures are quite distant in winter and unseen in summer. There are always beautiful private views.
Living is oriented toward the surrounding woods and the gardens –areas of constantly changing, vibrant color that are reflected inside the house. The landscape plan with its curved beds give meaning and definition to the spaces outside.
The house feels profoundly ‘connected’ to the ground … to the natural wooded setting… in a driving snow storm … on a warm sunny summer evening …or a moonlit dusk. There is a welcoming “quiet and calm”, a generosity and openness, felt by the residents each day and all visitors who think of coming to the house as an “experience”.
FIRST FLOOR The older part of the house, completely renovated in 1998 by the owners, an artist and an art historian, retains much of its original charm: original pine flooring with marks from the screws than anchored the school desks, deep-set over-sized windows, an open room plan, tall windows, cloak rooms and teacher’s dais.
In the original structure, varieties of wood and stone materials reinforce a sense of ‘natural’. In the new areas, walls and window trim are painted in the same color –creating direct interaction and experience with the outdoors.
The interior of the house has five areas:
the original one room school space, ‘great room’, including living, dining and kitchen and entry coat room;
a sunroom —open to the surrounding wooded property— with separate library/office and half bath, direct access to laundry, garage and studio;
three bedrooms with offices/work/storage spaces and two full baths on the second floor.
The school room— ‘great room’— includes sitting, dining and kitchen areas. The living space has two eight foot doors as windows on one side; and a Japanese contemplative alcove –tokonoma-on the other. There are built-in shelves for pictures and picture hanging moldings.
The kitchen, one step up on the teacher’s dais, is divided into “his and hers”, left and right, with two sinks and cherry counter tops and four colorful, hand-painted tile backsplash walls in a ‘quilt’ pattern designed after the Borghese Palace in Rome. There is a low separating wall on one side to enable conversation from the kitchen to the sitting/dining areas; the other side has a higher wall and ‘pot-holding’ shelf, hidden from the living areas –so that dining is separate from the cooking.
Passing through an 18th century barn-beam-arch cut in the school stone wall, you find the contemporary two-story addition with the sunroom and its full views of the outside, the large 25 foot curved deck, luxuriously planted English gardens and the surrounding woods. This sunroom itself is a large sitting room with two walls of tilt-turn, floor to ceiling, windows, and Saltillo tiles over radiant in-floor heating. There are custom built-in cabinets and shelving as throughout the living space.
The sunroom is a central access hub for the addition with connections to: a scholar’s study, a half bath, the laundry, the garage and the studio/workshop.
Brazilian cherry sculptural steps create smooth transitions between spaces. The 2nd floor hall railing is designed from the Pincio, Villa Borghese, (Rome) garden.
The gem of the house is the Master Bedroom!
It is an open aerie, three stories high into the woods with floor to ceiling window walls and 11’ ceiling. It greets the morning sun changing from season to season, from snow-carpeted woods to summer greenery. A large Zen garden in the woods can be the focus of yoga and meditation.
The en suite bathroom has a soaking tub, bidet, with dual sinks and dual shower. There is a two-part, 20 foot walk-in closet with ‘miles’ of shelving and hanging space.
A hallway connects to a second bedroom suite created from the attic of the school building. The partially exposed structural truss of the school building is a space defining element. There are bed, office, sitting areas, a full bath including a double skylight, large sliding window and knee-wall storage. This suite has its own stair to the front hall.
A third suite with guest bedroom and storage areas are accessible from the upstairs hallway.
OUTDOORS: GARDENS AND PLANTINGS
In the Landscape Plan, mature perennial plantings separate the property from the roadway. The shrubs, flowers, and trees create a continuing variety of shadow patterns on the house walls inside and outside, particularly the solid addition wall toward the drive,
The entry cedar walk from the gravel drive is like a Japanese garden ‘zig-zag bridge’ crossing a metaphoric river of stone and perennial plantings.
A Zen garden, based on Golden Rectangle/Fibonacci ratios, and a contemplative walkway are carved into the woods in the rear garden.
An over-sized, two car garage is integrated into the addition design with direct access to the living space and coat closet. It has a sink, built-in storage cabinets, and peg-board for tools and equipment.
There is an attached two room artist’s studio of 500 square feet with a shed roof slanting from 15 to 10 in height. Floor to ceiling glass, two sliding doors and an 8’ garage door create a sense of working outdoors at all seasons. It has overhead propane-fired radiant heating with thermostat controls. There are many electric outlets and 220 current available.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE HOME: The quality of wood, tile and stone; the integrity and honor of the past life of the school; and the architectural congruency of the expansion.
Most of all, the profound connection and awareness of the natural surroundings; and the sense of warmth and welcoming in a private setting.
If you have interest or questions about purchasing this property please contact at House Inquiries