When a 13,000-square-foot home is conceived, that’s a lot of home to fill. In the case of a Landenburg, Pennsylvania, house, located about 20 minutes from Wilmington, the husband-and-wife clients each envisioned something a little different.
“We started talking to them when they were purchasing the lot,” recalls Jessica Fogle, associate principal and marketing director of Malvern’s Period Architecture. “They loved the site, and it was the perfect location for them, but the husband wanted a traditional Pennsylvania farmhouse exterior aesthetic, whereas she was interested in more of a French country interior. So as a team, we started to talk about the ways to marry those two styles.”
In addition to Fogle, the team tasked with creating the Chester County house included John McMahon, COO of Dewson, based in Wilmington with a satellite oﬃce in Rehoboth, and Renée deVignier Biery, owner of the Montchanin-based deVignier Design, who executed the interiors. “The goal was to blend as much as possible and be sympathetic to both styles,” McMahon says, “and we were able to achieve that in all the spaces.”
The façade is stately and imposing yet homey. “The exterior stone was actually a blend of four different stones,” Fogle explains, “and we went through multiple stone matches and stone samples to come up with the mix.” The choice and variety achieves considerable texture and depth. Offsetting the stone is a Vermont slate roof, traditional dormer windows and some copper roofing accents. “Very Chester County farmhouse,” Fogle points out.
The dining room, bold and lush, makes a strong statement. “This was intended to be a jewel box,” deVignier Biery says. “They wanted to entertain regularly, and the larger the better, so the table can be extended even further, to be the hub for their extended family and friends.”
The nature-themed mural wallcovering, which appears green in some light and gray-green in others (with some blue undertones, deVignier Biery notes), drove the rest of the color palette, including the green leather dining chairs. The fanciful chandelier is brass and wood. The reclaimed oak flooring, laid out in a chevron pattern, ushers in the French country quality.
“The husband wanted a traditional Pennsylvania farmhouse exterior aesthetic, whereas she was interested in more of a French country interior. So, as a team we started to talk about the ways to marry those two styles.”
In such a vast home, it’s diﬃcult to choose a standout moment, but the dramatic, elliptical staircase between the first and second floor is surely one. The homeowners had specified how they wanted the home decorated for Christmas: The holiday decorations were to wrap around the curving, custom-made banister. (One unusual note: Three different Christmas trees were mapped out in the floor plan.) For the French country feel, the banister was finished with multiple coats of shellac and a final coat of beeswax.
Another singular feature is a curious, square first-floor space with doorways on each side, which serves as a transition between rooms: It took a while for the owners and the team to figure out what do with it, and in the end created a conversation piece by installing a gilded, oval ceiling—complete with the signs of the zodiac—meant to evoke the famous ceiling in Grand Central Terminal in New York.
Just for fun, that was one inspired departure from the country French and traditional farmhouse styles.