Architecture & Design

Habitat: A Family Affair in Chadds Ford

A Chadds Ford home strikes just the right balance between elegant formality and family-friendly function.

Exterior: The home’s exterior features locally sourced Brandywine granite. The outside was kept intentionally austere and symmetrical to create a pleasing reflection in the front pond, visible as you pull up the driveway. Photograph by Angle Eye Photography

After an electrical fire ravaged the home that once sat on this wooded Chadds Ford property, West Chester-based architect Richard Buchanan was left with little more than a footprint of what once was: a few partially intact stone walls and a foundation. “It was a fresh start — an opportunity to create a family home with a great deal of style and not a great deal of formality,” he explains.

The homeowners, Scott and Inci Porter, doubled as the builders and designers; Scott, who owns Chadds Ford’s Porter Construction, executed the build-out, while Inci masterminded the interiors and decor. The collaboration was effortless, says Buchanan: “We would bring something to the table, they would improve it, and the outcome was greater than the sum of the parts.”

The resulting home is a testament to understated, functional class. “One of the challenges in modern architecture is figuring out how to integrate the way we want to live with the way we have to live,” Buchanan says. This home achieves that goal. The formal entertaining spaces elevate the casual family zones, and together they create a home that impresses guests while also accommodating children.

Sitting room: One of the first rooms to greet you after you walk through the front door, the sitting room is an elevated adult retreat. The poplar woodwork is painted a chocolate brown. The built-ins and arched windows create layers and texture in the space. Photograph by Angle Eye Photography

Entryway: “Rather than create an ordinary front hall, we wanted the entryway to be a room unto itself,” says Buchanan. With the bar located at the far end, the hall serves as the natural nexus during parties. Photograph by Angle Eye Photography

Powder room: The powder room design skews more elegant, since it’s mainly used by guests. There’s a powder room for the kids near the back door. Photograph by Angle Eye Photography

Published as “Habitat: A Family Affair” in the November 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.