c. 1814 Schoolhouse Residence
Nestled within 1.9 private acres of wooded land in Malvern, the c. 1814 Schoolhouse Residence honors its early history as a place for learning while fulfilling its new role as a place for family.
Soon after the first Welsh and English settlers homesteaded in Great Valley, they established schools to educate their children. The Presbyterian Congregation of Tredyffrin, established in 1714 and still serving the local community today, began one of the first schools in the area operating out of one of the church buildings. In 1814, the congregation constructed this schoolhouse across the street. After the end of the Civil War, the population in the community increased as the Pennsylvania Railroad developed small towns along the main line. As a result, more schools were required to accommodate the increasing number of students in the area. Reflected on the datestone on the exterior façade, in 1886, the schoolhouse joined the Tredyffrin public school system and was known as “Tredyffrin Public School No. 3” or simply “The Presbyterian School,” although it only contained one classroom and employed one teacher at a time.
The primary school operated for the next 40 years until the fall of 1927 when two new schools opened in the area and the Presbyterian School, one of the last one-room schools in Tredyffrin, was closed and sold. In the years since its closure, the schoolhouse has been converted into a residence, with its current owners purchasing the home in the summer of 2015.
In 2020, the now 4,800-square-foot home received a renovation and addition designed by Period Architecture and constructed by E.C. Trethewey Builders. Prior to the addition, the footprint of the home existed within the confines of the original schoolhouse. To create a more functional family home with centralized, cozy gathering spaces, the floorplan was reorganized and expanded. Notably, the kitchen and family room were relocated to the two-and-a-half story addition. These new living spaces feature abundant sunshine and scenic views of the property previously obstructed by a dense stucco façade.
An example of historic adaptive reuse, the c. 1814 Schoolhouse Residence renovation incorporates traditional architectural details into the new design, always placing its history at the forefront. From the front, the Pennsylvania schoolhouse silhouette is highlighted while the addition sits discreetly behind. The original vertical board porch gable siding, exposed rafters and column details were incorporated throughout the addition’s exterior. Inspired by the style of its 1886 counterpart, a new datestone on the family room stone chimney marks the additions moment in time.
On the interior, two 19th century school desk chairs are proudly displayed in the foyer as an homage to the home’s past life as a schoolhouse. While the building itself has undergone many changes in form throughout the decades, it remains a nurturing space for learning and growth.