On the Market: Gilded French Manor in Villanova
The use of brick as the exterior material makes this Normandy-style house look almost Federal on the outside. It's anything but that on the inside.
This expansive manor house for sale in Villanova was built right at the peak of the Jazz Age. (Or was it? 1925 is a common placeholder year for houses listed in the Bright MLS database whose actual construction dates are unknown.)
Step through the front door, however, and you are instantly transported to the Gilded Age.
Usually, the interiors of houses designed in the French or Norman styles display a simple elegance. Not this one, though: whoever built it decided to go for Baroque with the open main space.
Dripping with gold leaf and graced with a marble floor, the main room is a huge open space that combines a parlor and a dining room, both of which are joined to the kitchen by a wide corridor that runs past the spiral main staircase.
If you’re the kind of grandee who loves to throw charity balls, this space should floor your guests.
But in case this isn’t enough, there’s the formal living room to the right of this space. It too is bedecked with gold-leaf trim, and there’s enough purple in the furniture to satisfy Louis XIV himself.
Over in the kitchen, the gold-leafed grandeur continues with its cabinetry and ceiling trim. In putting this room together, the designer also threw in everything and the kitchen sink. It has two built-in refrigerators, an eight-burner Wolf gas range, a center island bar that seats eight, and two sinks — a dual-basin stainless-steel farmhouse one in the main kitchen and a second in the butler’s pantry next to the Sub-Zero fridge. You’ll also find a Miele espresso maker and built-in microwave over on that side of the kitchen. You or your caterer should have no trouble preparing a feast for the multitudes in this kitchen.
These spaces aside, however, the rest of this house is more quietly and traditionally elegant. Like the breakfast nook off the kitchen, the study beyond the living room is restrained and filled with light from many large windows and French doors that open out onto the rear terrace.
The second-floor bedrooms are also more simply appointed, once you subtract the furniture. The huge second bedroom has recessed lighting, and both the third bedroom and the master have private balconies.
The master bedroom also has a fireplace and a marble-clad bathroom.
The third-floor rooms are downright plain-Jane, with bare fluorescent lighting in one of the bedrooms and naked incandescent bulbs in another. These, the listing agent advises us, can be used as bedrooms, au pair or in-law suites — they both have living rooms attached — or any of a number of other purposes.
The goodies don’t stop there, either. The basement contains a finished media room, a toilet that needs only a sink to become a half bath, a fitness room with sauna and a space that would make a great workshop.
There’s also a dignified sunroom and an expansive rear yard and terrace.
This partly-over-the-top, partly-quietly-elegant house sits on 2.3 nicely landscaped acres not far from where the Blue Route and Lancaster Avenue cross. It’s also a short drive from both Villanova University and Wayne. (A detached three-car garage lets you keep your vehicles warm and dry.)
THE FINE PRINT
SQUARE FEET: 7,995
SALE PRICE: $1,800,000
OTHER STUFF: This house’s sale price was reduced by $99,000 on Sept. 12th.
331 S. Radnor-Chester Rd., Villanova, Pa. 19085 [Debi Sugarman | BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors]