Just Listed: Modern House in Chestnut Hill

This striking, truly unique modern residence with views to die for isn’t even 10 years old, and it’s already been renovated.

house for sale chestnut hill modern exterior front

There are plenty of one-of-a-kind knockout houses in Chestnut Hill, but none as stunning as this warm, inviting modernist masterpiece at 640 Gate House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19118 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

You’re probably asking yourself as you look at the photo above, “This house is in Chestnut Hill?”

Yes, this house is in Chestnut Hill, and I guarantee you that there’s nothing like it anywhere else in this neighborhood of standout houses.

It may not be an influential work of postmodern architecture like the Vanna Venturi House a little further up the hill, but this Chestnut Hill modern house for sale definitely deserves accolades for the way it interacts with its wooded site next to the Cresheim Creek valley.

Local boutique architecture firm FURY Design took the modernist house designed by architect Louis Sauer in 1975 on this site to a place it hadn’t been before with its 2012 transformation into what you see here. FURY’s reimagining of the house enlarged it and created a collection of dramatic yet comfortable spaces for everyday living.

The house changed hands in a nominal transaction last December, and the new owners decided to spruce it up a bit. I for one would like to know what they thought needed improvement, for it’s hard to see how this truly original house could be improved upon.

house for sale chestnut hill modern exterior rear

Side and rear perspective elevation

This house sits on a steep wooded slope overlooking Cresheim Valley. It’s oriented to make the most of the view.

Inside, it’s very well laid out and organized, with recreational space below, living and entertaining space on the main floor, sleeping space on the second floor, and work (and workout) space in the glass pavilion that tops it.

house for sale chestnut hill modern foyer


You enter it through an intimately scaled foyer with a floating staircase on the left.

house for sale chestnut hill modern living and dining rooms

Living and dining rooms

The foyer leads to a set of steps leading down to the large open space that combines the living room, dining room and music room. The living room features a full-height stone fireplace flanked by doors that lead to the wraparound main-floor deck. Additional folding doors lead to the side of the deck, and a low wall of windows looks out from the music room towards the valley.

house for sale chestnut hill modern kitchen and breakfast room

Kitchen and breakfast room

A divider separates the dining room from the kitchen and breakfast room. Additional sliding doors lead from the breakfast room to the deck’s uphill side.



The kitchen is outfitted for you to prepare a large feast, with top-drawer restaurant-grade appliances that include a Wolf six-burner gas range with double oven and griddle, a Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezer-wine fridge combo, two Miele dishwashers, a Miele built-in espresso maker, plenty of Caesarstone-topped counter space, modern storage cabinets and pantry space.

view from deck

View from main-floor deck

The listing copy describes the view from the deck as “more reminiscent of Vermont or New Hampshire than Philadelphia,” and I’d say that statement is accurate — though you can also find similar views in the Poconos or Endless Mountains. Whatever the view reminds you of, it will be gorgeous over the next several weeks as the foliage puts on its annual fall show.

media room

Media room

Beyond the kitchen, a media room has sliding doors that open onto a terrace with a Japanese water feature.

The second floor contains four bedrooms, a spa-like hall bath and the laundry room.

primary bedroom

Primary bedroom

The extra-large primary bedroom suite comes fully loaded with its own private deck off the bedroom;

primary bathroom

Primary bathroom

a spacious bath overlooking the valley with floating dual vanities and an oversized shower;

primary bedroom closet

Primary bedroom closet

and a huge, well-organized closet and dressing room.

(Given the total bathroom count, one of the other bedrooms on this floor should have an en-suite bath as well.)

gym/home office

Gym/home office

The glass-enclosed gym and home office on the top floor has a commanding view of the Wissahickon valley that should provide welcome distraction from your work when you need it.

Its siting on its 1.34-acre lot assures privacy, which is one of the reasons the house itself can be so open. And since it sits next to the Cresheim Creek valley, the dividing line between Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy, you can be in the business districts of either in just a few minutes. That means you have a world of shopping, dining and cultural options very close at hand in both directions once you get to Germantown Avenue; there’s also the historic Mermaid Inn right at the avenue itself. You can also reach the Allens Lane Art Center via a short trek across the McCallum Street bridge over the valley.

Your friends will be impressed by your good taste if you make this Chestnut Hill modern house for sale your own. But more importantly, this showcase house will make you feel very comfortable living in it.



BATHS: 4 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $3,595,000

OTHER STUFF: All the rooms have either burnt pine or radiant-heated slate floors. Two sheds near the front entrance with green roofs provide storage space.

640 Gate House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19118 [Ellen Haas and Kim Whetzel | Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty]

Updated Oct. 11th, 7:47 p.m., to correct the construction date of the original house on this site; updated Oct. 14th, 10:18 a.m., to correct the spelling of Louis Sauer’s first name.