Decorative details amp up a neutral color palette at one Lower Gwynedd estate.
A Ginkgo leaf motif is present throughout the home.
There is a towering male ginkgo tree standing just to the side of the entrance to Sonrisa, the Lower Gwynedd estate that sits on 3.4 fenced and landscaped acres. Despite the violent early spring nor’easter that tore through the region just days before this visit (and felled a pine tree that on its way down knocked off two of the Ginkgo’s limbs), the Southeast Asian tree remains serenely awaiting spring to spread its lovely fan-shaped leaves. The ginkgo leaf motif runs throughout the $4.8 million home and is an ongoing reminder of the extraordinary attention to detail that the owners put into this property.
Generously sized, the home—built in 2006 and designed by Kass & Associates—is made for entertaining on a grand scale and wears a blend of art nouveau (the Ginkgo leaf!) and art deco finishes throughout that give it its distinctive flair. The leaf motif appears in the impressive custom-made Austrian wrought-iron front door, the elaborate iron balustrade that dramatically winds up the entrance hall’s staircase, and in the master bedroom’s Juliet balcony.
The home’s spacious kitchen.
The owner and his late wife were dedicated fans of art deco, and with help from interior designer Carlisle Nostrame put that era’s stamp on the mansion. Nostrame and the owners would peruse antiques stores in New York and Philadelphia and attend furniture shows in Florida—among other countries and cities—in search of treasures from the 1920s and more. Deco themes may be found in everything from its door hardware to wall sconces, to the spectacular center hall chandelier originally from a theater in France.
Some of the house’s standout elements include the living room’s fireplace trimmed with a bold graphic Romankey design copied from a mansion in London. An inlay wood design made from oak and ebony marks the transition to and from each room, and throughout the home’s hardwood floors, oak-andebony wood decorative inlays mark the perimeter. The family room boasts sleek custom-made, modern-style sofas. And the knockout art deco moment just might be the Egyptian/deco-themed home theater, complete with a hi-def projector, and three levels to accommodate the 12 plush leather seats. The leopard-print carpeting is all drama, and the camel-and-Bedouin wall sconces are full commitment to the theme.
Dramatic ceilings in the living room.
But the house has other eye-catching features, including the 1950s-style diner in the basement—complete with custom-built counter, stools, cozy booths and black-and-white-checkered flooring. And you can’t miss the lifesized Betty Boop statue placed at the entrance serving as the room’s hostess.
Sonrisa is an achievement of craftsmanship and luxury finishes. You see it in the custom millwork, the plasterwork and lighting. The house has a notable list of amenities, including six fireplaces, an elevator, personal gym, wood-paneled library, fully loaded kitchen and a butler’s pantry big enough to install your catering team. Even the grandchildren’s room has a whimsically ornate tiled koi-pond floor pattern that matches the impressive koi pond and waterfall just beyond the rear terrace and formal gardens—on the opposite side of that majestic Ginkgo tree. $4.8 million, for more information contact Donald Pearson, 267.614.0844, kurfiss.com
Photography by Jay Greene Architectural Photography