From pools to pool tables, this sprawling suburban home is filled with surprises.
As you ramble down the long, long driveway, sweep through iron gates and curve along the courtyard, glimpses of the Pennypack Watershed woods surround you. Still, you can’t take your eyes off of the Norman-style manse that beckons ahead. Owners David and Jean built the 12,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, eight-bath Ambler home 10 years ago, entrusting its overall design to architect Richard Cole, and requesting just a few absolutes.
“We had four grown children at the time, so we put a premium on making it comfortable for an extended family to come and enjoy our home,” says David. Good thing, too, since they now have 10 grandchildren. The plan for the house, adds Jean, “organized itself around several large gathering spaces.” To one side of the marble entryway lies a living room and then beyond it a family room; to the other, the dining room. Striking custom rugs cover intricate hardwood flooring, and Center City interior designers Jonathan Bassman and Carl Steele adorned each of these rooms with a mellifluous riot of floral and geometric patterns on an endless array of upholstery and wallpapers.
“Yellow is a favorite of mine,” says Jean, indicating the sunny checks, graphic diamonds, and bold stripes that show up in the living room, and the mustard tones that combine with russet hues in the more masculine family room. Even the enormous kitchen, outfitted in granite countertops and white cabinetry, gleams with shades of yellow and gold. “I like everything to be as bright and cheery as possible.” When it’s time to retire for the evening, a grand staircase draws the couple upstairs where David’s office, a fitness area overlooking the pool, a lavish master bedroom suite (with his and her baths), and generous dressing rooms offer a retreat.
On the opposite side of an atrium that stretches from the first-floor entry, a separate wing contains a series of en-suite guest bedrooms (as well as a full maid’s or mother-in-law apartment). Other amenities in the house include an elevator (“a godsend,” says David), laundry room, four-car garage, and a full finished basement with cedar-lined storage, a game room, and a powder room. Jean observes that David loves “showing off controls such as centralized lighting and in-ground snow-melting systems.”
Back on the main level, the owners’ favorite private spaces offer twin respites that link them to the outdoors. Jean’s serene conservatory showcases her orchid collection while David’s sanctuary centers on a sky-lit lap pool ringed by French doors that open to the expansive grounds. “Being here is like being on vacation,” he says, and his delighted chuckle makes it clear that he’s not just referring to this oasis, but to the entire house. For more information, contact Connie Berg, 680 Old York Road, Jenkintown, 215-429-4024