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Design & Realty: Back To The Future

By Sarah Jordan | July 11, 2018 | Home & Real Estate

Tech-savvy homeowners will relish the 21st-century creature comforts at this Berwyn home.


Walking through Charles and Kathleen Paquin’s Berwyn home, I couldn’t help but think about that phrase “the future is now.” This $2.97 million house was built as a concept home in 2007 by architect Peter Batchelor and Welcome Home Builders to show off the coolest state-of-the-art building and design ideas. Vendors put as much “wow” factor into the 9,000-square-foot property as possible—the latest tech, a variety of high-end Kohler fixtures in every bathroom, a hybrid HVAC system that runs on both natural gas and electricity and switches to whichever mode is most cost-effective.

The house has the traditional mien you’d expect in a generous Main Line home—six bedrooms, wide hallways, wide-plank oak f loors, a five-car garage, library, 800-bottle wine cellar, spa terraces, waterfalls and an in-home gym with sauna. There’s also a completely fenced and gated 2.6-acre lot that houses the pool, as well as plenty of surprises to tantalize geeky tech-heads. (The television that floats in the master bedroom’s bathroom mirror is not to be missed!)


In the basement, there’s a black-walled server room that functions as the “brain” of the house where the electronics are centralized in two computer racks. It looks like something out of a sci-fi flick. The question becomes, how do these latest, coolest innovations hold up 12 years in?

“The house was wired with everything that was current at the time,” says Charles. “But the nice thing is that it’s easy to upgrade. They’ve done a good job of designing that into the space because tech gets old quickly.”

For those who are indifferent to tech talk, the house was designed for maximum convenience with a floor plan that works for all sizes of gatherings, from small family nights to big company holiday parties. And as with many homes, the kitchen is the heart of the house and is designed to entertain with ease.


“People always congregate in the kitchen, so the island is party central,” says Charles, who sits at one of the two kitchen islands. “Not coincidentally, there’s an ice pit in the middle where we can put all the beer, sodas and everything else.” Family and guests have plenty to do downstairs, too. If they aren’t stopped by the Indiana Jones or Star Trek pinball games, there’s a foosball table, wet bar and media room.

Of course, lifestyles change and the Paquins don’t need as much house anymore—although Charles does mention a retirement idea of converting another 9,000-square-foot place into a dedicated garage and workshop for his car hobby. Downsizing may be harder than it appears. Lisa Yakulis, 610.517.8445,

Photography by: Photography by Jim Albert