When one Main Line couple set out to build their incredible dream home they found inspiration in their travels abroad.
When the time came for a bigger home in which to raise their young family, one Main Line couple spent years looking for the perfect fit. They really wanted an older house, says the homeowner, “because we loved the detail, the craftsmanship, the patina that’s so hard to find in new construction.” But the old estates on the market weren’t quite right. “They had too many tiny bedrooms or their layouts didn’t work,” she continues.
So, they took matters into their own hands—or, rather, placed them in the capable ones of architect Fred Bissinger and builder E.B. Mahoney. The result is a 15,000-square-foot turreted utopia called Westbourne Woods, whose exterior cladding of limestone and mica from the Media Quarry only hints at the baronial splendors inside. There are features like, oh, a handful of European mantle pieces and even a replica of a 15th-century ceiling found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“I’ve always loved design, and my husband and I have traveled extensively throughout England and France,” the homeowner says, “so we worked with Fury Design to start from scratch and turn the house into the kind of home we wanted.” at the 15-acre site had never been developed only added to the Old World feel. “The house settled right into the mature landscape,” she adds.
Clockwise from top left: Uncork an old bottle in the cozy wine cellar; hardwood flfloors, decorative railings and detailed archways lend a livedin charm; a bedroom features textured walls and a grand fireplace; Westbourne Woods from afar.
Neatly divided into three levels, the home features a generous amount of public space on the ground floor as a series of vignettes graciously unfold into one another and, always, provide a showcase for a masterful collection of contemporary art. A large limestone foyer reveals peeks of two sitting rooms beyond the limestone arches, while a massive set of doors opens into an expansive dining room. There, the coered Renaissance-style ceiling that the owner so coveted watches over diners whose conversation remains, thanks to the quilted fabric wallcoverings, muted and intimate.
Elsewhere, a masculine library lined with cherry-wood shelving oers a cozy retreat; a circular bar tucked into one of the building’s turrets is a favorite of guests; and a cookfriendly kitchen of maple wood features a built-in workstation that serves as command central for managing business aairs.
An indoor pool offers a year-round respite.
Upstairs, walls covered in family photos from world travels suggest we are now in a private place, wrapped in creature comforts and personal touches. The master suite sports accents like a woven-wood feature wall behind the bed and a cement tub backed by decorative concrete block. Another half dozen bedrooms—for children, guests or live-in help—round out this level.
The lowest level is reserved for fun—for kids and adults alike. Meandering through, visitors will stumble upon wine storage, an indoor pool, a batting cage, a game room, a gym with sauna and, yes, even a 15-seat movie theater outtted in copious black leather seats and tucked behind royal purple curtains. It’s all here, the coup de grace of what the owner calls a home “equally balanced for family and entertaining.”
$9.9 million with additional acreage available; for more information contact Lavinia Smerconish, 610.547.6637, laviniasmerconish.com
Photography by Herb Engelsberg