TREND images via Zillow.com
It’s amazing how many Philadelphia-area homes have been inspired by historic French estates. This one in Jenkintown, for instance, was fashioned after the seaside Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in the southeastern French village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. In a tie that’s closer to home, the property was designed by Philadelphia-based architect Wilson Eyre Jr., who is noted for having designed some of the area’s most striking buildings.
Settled on three acres comprised of formal gardens and mature trees (not to mention secret outdoor “rooms”), the brick-and-stucco home is set far off the road so that it actually sits hidden from view. Inside, period details like leaded glass windows, marble and stone fireplaces, and exposed ceiling beams abound. The kitchen is new, however, and claims a catering area and professional-grade appliances. Downstairs, a recently completed media room has access to the outdoor tennis court, which sits opposite the home’s Olympic-sized pool.
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We were surprised last summer when the Borie Estate made only its fourth appearance on the market in 200 years. We’re even more surprised that the sprawling estate didn’t sell and is back on the market again after a hiatus that began last January.
Perhaps it’s that the original owner — Charles Louis Borie, a chief architect for the Philadelphia Museum of Art — is back in the news (well, sort of). We can’t help but wonder how Borie would judge the latest plans for the museum. Our pat opinion on design issues tends to be if it’s good enough for Inga, it’s good enough for us. But then, it was Borie’s vision of an “acropolis-like” museum on a hill that gave us our current design, so we can’t be sure what he’d think of street-level entrances. Read more »
There is your standard, patterned wallpaper with errant stippling and flowers and then there is gold chinoiserie wallpaper that looks like it’s straight out of Auntie Mame. This enormous stone colonial in Rydal offers both. The entryway, the kitchen and at least one bathroom offer the standard fare in wallcoverings. The master bedroom features gold walls decorated with sprawling tree branches. The wallpaper is so intense it’s easy to miss the mystery door camouflaged cleverly into the wall.
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To say it’s rare to see the Borie Estate for sale is a tremendous understatement. This offering marks only the fourth time the manse has been listed in 200 years.
Originally home to Charles Louie Borie (a chief architect for the Philadelphia Museum of Art), the estate is fit for a regal art collection. The interior spaces of the property are sumptuous, featuring plenty of exposed beams, marble fireplaces and leaded glass windows. That’s in addition to the six bedrooms and five full plus three partial bathrooms in the nearly 7,000 square feet inside.
Outside, the greens on the three-acre estate are something out of The Secret Garden. There are paths and fountains and meticulously manicured hedgerows. The property includes a wall made from hedges and an arboretum’s worth of mature trees. Many ring the Olympic-sized pool and garden sculptures. And if the weather is too foul to enjoy the gardens and pool, there is an absolutely swoon-worthy jacuzzi situated under some very dramatic eaves overlooking the gardens.
All photos by Drew Callaghan Photography
THE FINE PRINT
Baths: 5 full, 3 partial
Square Feet: 6,660
Year Built: 1890
Listing: 1027 Washington Lane Jenkintown, PA 19046 [Kurfiss Sotheby’s]
It’s as if they’ve lived parallel lives, Robert Ridarelli and Bruce Toll. They both founded empires based on their names (Bobby Rydell; Toll Brothers) in the 1960s. Rydell was a teen idol with hits like “Volare” and “Wild One.” Toll Brothers was a real estate idol with hits like America’s Best Builder and National Builder of the Year. Bobby Rydell starred in a film. Toll Brothers starred in a film. They both called the Philadelphia area home. A lifetime of synergies.
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