Just Listed: Norman-Inspired Villa in Villanova
Introducing another housing bargain for multi-millionaires: A truly original and versatile style mixtape of a mansion.
Inscribed in the stone at the base of the wall to the left of the front door of this one-of-a-kind Villanova estate house for sale, you will find this French phrase:
“LE FRUIT DE NOTRE TRAVAIL”
And indeed, this Fred Bissinger-designed, E.B. Mahoney-built custom mansion represents the fruits of the labors of the couple who built it.
Gene Aaron made a tidy sum in the paper trade. Then he and his wife Mindy poured another tidy sum into this estate, beginning with the purchase of two lots in 1999. After demolishing the two houses that sat on the lots they bought, they then began work on this house, which was completed four years later.
The house, says Mindy, was designed for entertaining, whether on a grand or an intimate scale: “It functions in a lot of different ways — big party, small party, all-day event, sports party. It’s very functional.” It even served as the site of one of their sons’ wedding.
Like many of the houses Bissinger designs, this one is something of a mixtape of traditional styles: you’ll find French, English, Colonial and even Spanish elements scattered about this house, depending on the room you’re in. (That too is largely Mindy’s doing: “I oversaw this project from start to finish,” she says, “and it evolved over time as rooms were redone. Our moods changed, our styles changed, but the basic style remains the same” — a cross-pollination of French Norman and English Tudor architecture.)
Upon entering, you are greeted by a Tara-class grand staircase in the foyer, which ties the house together more than it divides it.
To the right of the foyer you’ll find the living room, with its black-marble gas fireplace; a Tudoresque family room that looks out onto one of the landscaped gardens and terraces in the back, and a circular study from whose desk you can look all the way down the corridor that traverses the main floor.
To the left, you have a neoclassical dining room on one side of the corridor and a deluxe kitchen and sunny breakfast room on the other.
Above the living-room wing sits the master suite. You may note how the leaf-and-fleur-de-lis pattern in the bedroom ceiling complements the pattern on the carpet. You’ll find lots of little touches like that throughout the house. (By the way, the master suite also contains two large walk-in closets; hers has two floors.)
The entertaining and recreation spaces are scattered throughout the house. Along with the dining room, the most impressive one visually is the billiard room on the third floor of the dining-room wing. The Aarons have filled this house with furniture and accessories collected on trips all over the world, some of it antique. But the woodwork and light fixtures in this room only look antique. They were actually custom-built for this room, which also contains a widow’s-walk lookout. A gym, balcony and full bathroom are also attached to this room.
Down in the basement, you will find a casual home theater and a golf simulator that lets you play virtually on any course in the world.
In addition to three bedrooms for family and guests, one of which currently serves as a den, this house includes an au pair suite over part of the eight-car garage. Accessed from the second-floor bedroom corridor, it includes a kitchen, sitting room, laundry room and two bedrooms of its own.
Given how much went into making this residential statement, it might surprise you how little the owners are asking for this property. But now that their sons have departed after 17 years’ residence, they’re ready to move on in order to be closer to their children. So they’ve priced it to move as well.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 9 full, 3 half
SQUARE FEET: 10,000+
SALE PRICE: $9,998,888
OTHER STUFF: Included with the purchase of this house: A membership in Wheels Up, the charter-plane subscription club. Ask the listing agent for details.
733 N. Spring Mill Rd., Villanova, Pa. 19085 [Andrea Desy Edrei and John Bolaris | Keller Williams Black Label]