The phenomenal Vaux Hill in Phoenixville should rightly be a Winterthur-style tourist attraction with a Gettsyburg spin. According to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, it was originally a 300-acre farm purchased by James Vaux in 1772. Vaux was an amateur scientist, but a successful and influential one:
At his farm, James carried out scientific experiments in agriculture, becoming the first person to cultivate red clover in America, and also pioneered the use of anthracite coal for heating and cooking purposes. Accounts of his experiments can be found in early editions of the Franklin Institute Journal.
Richard Gere's Hamptons view.
Our friend HughE over at PhillyChitChat tells us that Richard Gere is coming to live in the Greater Philadelphia area to film the movie Fanny, and that he’s likely to rent “in the suburbs” because that’s where the majority of the movie will be filmed. “The suburbs,” you’ll admit, is a rather large chunk of [...]
Our friends over at Philly Post tell us the Forbes 400 is out–aka “ The Richest People In America” list–and four people within our Greater Philly universe have made the list. For those wondering how the other half lives, so to speak, here’s what we know about their residences.
Mary Alice Dorrance Malone
Image of Iron Springs Farm via VirtualGlobeTrotting
The Campbell Soup heiress operates Iron Springs Farm, which breeds, sells and develops champion Warmblood and Friesian stallions. Should you be an animal person interested in cooing over foals, go quickly to the Farm’s Facebook page, where you may catch a glimpse of life on the farm.
This two-bedroom penthouse apartment–one of just 10 units in 101 Walnut Condominiums–is the only one with two stories, and much more thrilling, the only one with a private pool. While the rest of the 3,500-square-foot unit is remarkable in various ways, the sleek pool is undoubtedly its highlight. From the master suite, the resident can slide open a wall of glass to get to the heated pool, which is on a 1,800-square-foot terrace with an outdoor kitchen. There’s a flat-screen TV that’s visible from the pool–but then, so is the skyline. Homeland or hometown? Up to you.
The views are almost equally incredible from inside thanks to glass walls that allow a river-to-buildingtop vision of the cityscape. With so much to see outside, the interior has been kept deliberately simple. That aesthetic is also for sale, in a sense: The Roche Bobois furnishings, Design Within Reach lighting and the Holly Hunt rug can also be part of the deal.
Casa Pacifica–a 12,000-square-foot wonder once featured on Homes of the Rich–is the melting pot of mansions. The exterior has Spanish tile “reminiscent of Mediterranean and Latin American architecture.” The bathroom and kitchen are Delfty. A shapely, ceiling-high fireplace says Santa Fe, while a wide hallway is paved with German limestone. The Rathskeller “identifies the European roots of the first owner.” Antique French terra cotta tile graces other floors. Most importantly, the extravagant indoor pool (is there any other kind?) was inspired by the Ritz in Paris.
Today it’s all about the fancy: the “oh!” in “ostentatious,” the photo-ops of opulence, the dance of abundance. It’s Property’s Luxe Life.
This estate is so well-equipped we can’t really think of anything it lacks except maybe a shark tank. Home theater? Check. Salt-water pool with a waterfall feature? Check. Elevator, wine cellar, tennis court, private pond stocked with fish? You betcha. The main house has a library so traditional-looking it even comes with a stern but loving grandfather. Not really. The kitchen has a country design aesthetic, all white wood cabinets and brassy hardware, which is sort of fun after looking at too many ultra-modern kitchens.
The real estate section of the Wall Street Journal placed on a non-millennial's desk.
Bucking the recent conventional wisdom that millennials are holding off on buying homes due to a fear of getting into further debt, the Wall Street Journal has an article today about the way the wealthy among the generation is jumping into the housing market feet first. One broker told the Journal:
“In the last two months, half the folks I sold homes to were young entrepreneurial types—and they were all buying homes for over a million dollars. A few years ago, that kind of buyer was invisible. We had young folks buying starter condos for a few hundred thousand dollars. But this new wave is skipping that step entirely and going right for the high-end home.”
This Rittenhouse-area penthouse condo at 1737 Chestnut has city zoning approval to build 20 feet in the air on top of the roof deck, which measures 21′ x 17′. The structure can be versatile, from outdoor entertaining area to summer sleep space. The important thing is: It’s already got the air rights, so there’ll be no intractable NIMBY debates or community meetings where hair is pulled and pulled out.
As for the space now, it has oak hardwood floors, a gas fireplace and arched windows that get a lot of light, according to the listing. The building, known as 1737, is prewar but was rehabbed about nine years ago. It’s pet-friendly, and obviously nicely located. There are 19 units.
This is New Hope’s most expensive property by more than $40 million, but the new owner is getting far more than land. The entire business of the farm–an established breeding and racing facility with 175 horses–is for sale, including three other horse farms along with this one: two in Buckingham Township and one in Upper Makefield. Add it all up, and it’s more than 450 acres of land.
Fashion Farm inspired the magazine Fashion & Farm Country Magazine, which has now been embodied in a film called “Country” that was filmed at the New Hope location. For prospective buyers, it’s a fine way to learn more about the property.