Sunday, June 8, 2008

We See Some Houses And Discover An Old Friend

We took our annual library tour of homes in Southern Chester County yesterday. There were 8 homes and 1 historical building on the tour. Of the homes, 3 were spectacular, 4 were so-so, and 1 I couldn't wait to get out of.

Here's our absolute #1 favorite--Fox Hill Farm.

What a gorgeous place this was. Perfection. I wish I could show you pictures of the indoors, but like many of these tours, no photography was allowed inside. This is a brand new house on a beautiful old property. The house that originally stood here was in such bad shape it couldn't be salvaged, so the owners tore it down and started all over again. They describe the interior as 1920's English Country. In the entry hall they placed antique English marble tiles that look aged and worn and just right for the space. Throughout they used beautiful old building materials such as fireplace mantles and surrounds, tiles, and ironwork. They salvaged a piece of hand-painted wallpaper from somewhere in New York State, had it framed, and displayed it as a large (it must have been about 3 x 6') work of art on the living room wall. Magnificent. The trim, wainscoting and mouldings are wonderfully detailed and thoughtfully chosen. There is a butler's pantry with the loveliest tiger maple cabinets I ever saw. Every detail is inspired. You really do not have the sense that you are in a new home. Everything is so well chosen that it could have been there for 50 years, and they just moved in last December. A large kitchen with marble-topped walnut island opens to a covered porch that runs along the full length of the house. Here's the view from there.

As if all this wasn't enough, off on the right side of the house are the pool, gardens, and tennis court. (They are building a conservatory [but of course] off the dining room to the left of the house, but it's not finished yet--oh, please let me go back and see it when it is). And although the house itself is new, all this looks like it has been here forever. I overheard that the tennis courts were saved from the old house, but I don't know about the rest.

They obviously did preserve this old root cellar--garden shed.

Now look right and you'll see the pool, gardens, and tennis courts.

I could move in tomorrow.

Our second favorite was Laurel Hill. These people heard about an old barn that was slated for demolition and, of course you know this story, bought it, took it apart, and moved it plank by plank, stone by stone, to this piece of ground overlooking miles and miles of open country. The inside features huge beams of Alabama long leaf yellow pine (now extinct) and a 37' stone chimney constructed from the original barn's foundation. One end of the living room is a kind of balcony in front of a wall of windows and looks down into a charming indoor garden complete with running stream.

Here's a picture of the front.
This is from the front looking back up the hill to the barns and paddocks. This is horse country
and so there are lots of acres devoted to the dear creatures.

Here's the view from the patio.
And speaking of dear creatures, who did we happen to run into in the dining room but Amy's Mr. Fox. We were so happy to see him there and he still wears his Blue & Lucy label. We gave him a big pat on the head and I snuck this picture when no one was looking. He certainly does seem to have a seat of honor and is privy to all the family news.
Since I haven't had much to blog about lately, tomorrow I'll tell you about a couple of the other places we saw.

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