Set amid 14 acres of the historic Ardrossan property — former home of Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, the socialite who inspired The Philadelphia Story — is a sprawling stone farmhouse that looks like it’s been there for a century. Surprise: It’s a new build, the work of West Chester-based architecture firm Archer & Buchanan, Ltd. “Everything feels like it has layers of history and time,” says the firm’s partner and co-founder, Richard Buchanan. “It looks like a well-preserved 100-year-old house.”
That’s exactly the illusion the homeowners were hoping to create. Faced with strict building rules meant to preserve the property’s open green spaces, Buchanan dreamed up an elegantly understated home that would meet the needs of his clients’ large family and frequent visitors and also fit with the classic suburban Philadelphia farmhouses made famous by Chester County architect R. Brognard Okie in the early 1900s: Colonial Revival style punctuated by whimsical Arts and Crafts elements.
The result is a homey farmhouse that employs period-appropriate materials and finishes — like detailed millwork and archways — in functional, modernized spaces. Against a backdrop of rolling hills, fenced pastures and groves of trees, “Everything feels neatly constrained,” says Buchanan. “It suits the setting — and family — perfectly.”
Butler’s pantry (top): Nestled between the dining room, living room, kitchen and entryway, the pantry is a crossroads in the home, with deep blue walls and a ceiling covered with star-dotted wallpaper.
Kitchen: In keeping with traditional Okie style, Buchanan incorporated detailed millwork and cabinetry in the kitchen. A large arched window overlooks the pool area.
Pool: The curved roof and open-air pavilion of the pool house are intentional departures from the Pennsylvania farmhouse style: Buchanan wanted his clients to feel like they’re on vacation when they sit by the pool.
Reading nook: Buchanan created a cozy cranny on the landing outside the master bedroom to anchor what might otherwise feel like a long, empty passageway between the front and back stairwells. The homeowners love it for quiet late-night reading.
Published as “Farm Fresh” in the June 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.