Property’s Best Houses of 2014
2014 was a solid year for amazing houses.
There was the beautifully designed and historic Arthaus B&B, priced at $489,000 (it sold three months after being listed), the jaw-dropping modern Delancey mansion owned by Tylenol heir Henry McNeil, (still priced at $5.9 million), and even that gorgeous rental above American Mortals in Graduate Hospital (taken in August for $4,250/month).
But you won’t see those on this list. Yes, they were great, but we whittled down our picks to the best of the best, which required us to think not only of the most appealing Philadelphia residences, but also–as you’ll notice the further you go down– the spectacular properties offered in Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties (one Jersey home also makes an appearance).
(Side note: For a more in-depth look at these homes, just click on the address and you’ll be linked to our original post.)
So without further ado (and in no particular order) we present to you Property’s Best Houses of 2014 …
Fairmount – 818 N 27th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19130
Why it made the cut: More like how could it not make the cut. Its owners collaborated with a team of experts to transform it into the city’s first LEED Platinum certified rehabbed home. The 2,000-square-foot sustainable beauty now uses solar panels, which powers half of its electricity, a grey water reclamation system, saving over 5,000 gallons of water each year, and a whole slew of other environmentally friendly amenities.
Current status: Still on the market for $1,295,000.
Rittenhouse – 2201 Saint James St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
Why it made the cut: Did Frank Furness really design this townhouse? All signs point to probably not, but the property does have a confirmed Furness work right across from it. Inside, the home gives a splendid surprise via its whimsically colorful rooms, which, trust us, are not what you expect to see when you enter the stately Center City home. It also contains a library, five fireplaces, a renovated kitchen, and oak and pine floors.
Current status: Alas, it is sold.
Callowhill – 1234 Hamilton, #304, Philadelphia, PA, 19123
Why it made the cut: Because every Batman fan (and who isn’t a fan of the Dark Knight?) will appreciate this. The spacious loft (formerly two separate homes) offers the coolest in home tech gadgets we don’t even know where to start: fingerprint locks, Lutron-controlled shades and lights, video surveillance, and a private freight elevator that holds up to 8,000 pounds (i.e. you could literally drive into your house on a motorcycle).
Current status: Pending sale since November (Somewhere, Lucius Fox is working on additional high-tech features.)
Rittenhouse – 406 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19146
Why it made the cut: If not the only, then it’s at least the prettiest carriage house near our famous square. Ivy, cherry blossom trees, and hydrangeas all gather in communion in the bricked garden of this stand-out home. Vaunting privacy like the hidden treasure that it is, the house is set back from its block at Pine and Lombard. Detail-wise, the property boasts a Juliet balcony, window seats, hardwood flooring, and a wrought-iron gate.
Current status: Aw, someone plucked it off the market.
Chestnut Hill – 615 W Mermaid Ln, Philadelphia, PA, 19118
Why it made the cut: We don’t know anyone who disagreed with us when it came to making this “House of the Week” a day before Mischief Night. The former Keewaydin ballroom is a fine home with distinctive characteristics: stone walls, gothic arches, double staircase leading to the master bedroom, and even an engraved Shakespeare quote that reads “Welcome Ever Smiles And Farewell Goes Out Sighing” above the dining hall entrance.
Current status: Lucky you, it’s still on the market for $835,900.
Bella Vista – 615 Fitzwater Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147
Why it made the cut: Exclusive Belgian black marble sculptures, tiger wood floors, a Schonbek chandelier, waterfalls, and a 350-bottle wine room–what, pray tell, do you think these have in common? Yep, they’re all included in this super luxe South Philly home with an Art Deco interior and a surplus of amenities that it’s almost too much. The Meditteranean villa also has various gardens and lighted fountains in its repertoire, which makes it a rare find in Bella Vista.
Current status: The sale price remains at $4.25 million.
Rittenhouse – 229 S Van Pelt Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
Why it made the cut: You wouldn’t think it was that special from just looking at it, but the interior knocks that thought out the window. Although slightly puzzling in winter months, spring and summer are sure to favor this home’s lovely central garden, which you can look out to from the dining room and kitchen. One of its most charming features are the little wood stove in the living room and unique-looking ladder in the upper floor office/den.
Current status: Sold, of course.
Society Hill – 612 Addison Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147
Why it made the cut: Referring to itself as “Society Hill’s very own Bauhaus,” the home was custom designed by Daroff Design. It’s one of the more light-generous properties on this list with sun rays coming in from a three-story glass wall and some skylights. Goodies include a media room with screen and project, as well as bathroom with dual vanity and transparent glass sinks.
Current status: Sold!
Moorestown – 628 Windsock Way, Moorestown, NJ, 08057
Why it made the cut: Remember this gem? Tabula Rasa was practically made for this list what with its palatial stature, well-appointed design notes and bonus funmenities (ha, get it??). In addition to having two kitchens and a two-story ballroom, this Jersey mansion was stocked with the most ridiculously enjoyable rooms our inner child would kill for: two-lane bowling alley, virtual golf driving range, indoor basketball court, playhouse, and much more.
Current status: For sale at $5.95 million.
Delaware County – 327 Grays Lane, Haverford, PA, 19041
Why it made the cut: Maxwellton, the fancy Main Line manse on Grays Lane had us all salivating when it came on the market with its delicious-sounding “chocolate room,” which the listing claims was designed specifically for the production of chocolate. Add to that a wine cellar constructed for the “tasting and study” of wine, room with a drop-down movie screen, and patios overlooking a swimming pool and we’re good to go for a holiday-long retreat.
Current status: Priced at $3,995,000
Montgomery County – 955 Stoke Rd, Villanova, PA, 19085
Why it made the cut: This one almost didn’t make the cut because, technically, it was sold before we even got around to taking a look. However, one glimpse at the gallery and you’ll know why there was no way we weren’t including it. Situated on up to three acres of land, this astounding Japanese-inspired four-bedroom is unlike anything we come by on a daily basis. Suffice it to say that rooms are separated by wood and rice paper dividers, while tiled floors reflect an attractive shade of jade.
Current status: Sold from the start.
Delaware County – 2 Old Mill Lane, Rose Valley, PA, 19063
Why it made the cut: Gather ‘round this imaginary fire, history buffs. We’re about to feature a rare property that can claim its roots of ownership back to William Penn–seriously. The Schoenhaus Estate hit the market in May for $2.9M featuring three stunning acres of land that includes a 70-foot pergola, water tower and new bank barn. Inside, eight bedrooms and five and a half baths are fine examples of the Arts and Crafts movement, just check the craftsmanship in the wood and tile works found throughout this impressive home.
Current status: Sold.
Montgomery County – 510 Rosie Lane, Hatfield, PA, 19440
Why it made the cut: Here’s something so different, so beautiful that it’s a no-brainer for this year’s list. Constructed from pine wood from Lodge Pole, Montana, this log <del>cabin</del> home is over 6,000 square-feet and is bursting with the spirit of the great outdoors. It was designed by Michael Ryan Architects in 1996 and boasts and “upside-down floorplan” meaning the kitchen, dining room, living room and master bedroom (with sauna) are all on the first floor. The home features dramatic vaulted ceilings and a grand, centrally located fireplace. There’s also large deck that overlooks a fully-stocked pond on the property.
Current status: Sold.
Bucks County – 1645 Aquetong Rd, New Hope, PA, 18938
Why it made the cut: When there’s a 200-year-old barn that’s been fully restored into a nearly 7,000 square-foot dream home, it simply has to make the list. Exposed wood and steel beams harken back to the workmanlike DNA of the home. The showstopper is the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace that can write literally be seen from every glorious room. An artist’s studio, media room with 10-foot screen, gourmet kitchen, horse barn and “sweeping views of Bowman’s Tower Preserve” are amenities too amazing not to mention.
Current status: The listing is still active for $2,950,000.
Chester County – 1248 Pawlings Rd, Phoenixville, PA, 19460
Why it made the cut: Welcome to the Fatland Estate, a grand Greek Revival-style home that’s undergone a renovation and. It’s a sprawling spread on Rawlings Road that boasts a tree-lined drive, courtyard with carved marble fountain, horse pastures, a tennis court and a pool guard by lion statues. Pass the stately columns and entire a mansion that is comprised of intricate wood carvings, lavish chandeliers and many, <em>many</em> beautiful rooms.
Current status: Still on the market for a cool $8,999,999.
Honorable Mention: This Bucks County Stunner
Why it made the cut: Renaissance man Danny Seo’s “Kahn-inspired jewel in the woods” of Bucks County just barely missed our Best Of list. This magnificent mid-century modern is probably best described by Seo himself, who called it a “Japanese temple meets Bucks County farmhouse.” Nestled into the woods, the home is a wonderful balance between the contrasting modern architecture and its natural environment. The 3-bed, 2.1-bath house features a gorgeous stone fireplace, modern kitchen and bath, windows galore and serene surroundings to make this a one-of-a-kind find in the ‘burbs.
Current status: Price reduced to $699,999.
Additional reporting and writing by James Jennings.